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Tunis

Planning my 1st trip to Whiskey Bridge

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Tunis

I have read all of the threads online and on our forum, and I am excited for my first trip to the Whiskey Bridge. It will probably be around the first of the year. Any personal tips would be appreciated. Should I take a sifting screen, and if so, how wide should the “holes” be? I am going to try and build my own(that is a whole another issue). Thanks for any help, in advance.

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Thomas.Dodson

I've only been there once but the nice thing about Whiskey Bridge is how free weathered and noticeable the fossils are; very little to no work required. From what I remember it isn't well suited to screening on site but I was there after a rain. Maybe if you screened the lowest exposure in the actual river.

 

That said, screens are always handy to have around for other sites. Like you want to try I make my own and generally use 1 inch mesh, 1/2 inch mesh, 1/7 inch mesh, and for tiny fossils I use a fine window screen. 1/7 inch works best as the smallest in many places but there are some fossils from Whiskey Bridge that will even go through that. That said, I didn't have any trouble finding these small fossils without a screen there. They really stick out.

 

I'd recommend multiple ziploc bags or tackle boxes to sort fossils by size to prevent losing/crushing of specimens. If you want to try your hand at prepping some actual matrix from the site there are free chunks. I've had some success finding different specimens by preparing these.

 

Cleaning the fossils is easily done with warm water and a toothbrush in most cases. If you have an air abrader they make super quick cleaning of Whiskey Bridge fossils, even at low pressures and with cheap paasche models.

 

Lastly, Middle Eocene Clairborne Group Invertebrate Fossils from Stone City Bluff, Burleson County, Texas by John and Barbara Emerson is a very comprehensive and informative book on the site and will make an easy identification of most specimens you find.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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Tunis

I really appreciate the information!! Never thought about a tackle box to sort/hold the finds. Have used zip lock bags for finds before but they tend to not work well for fragile specimens. Will be stopping at the local sports store to see what I can find. I will order the book to help identify what I find.

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erose

You don’t need a full tackle box. I think folks just meant your basic divided plastic box. Try Michaels art supply. Bring tissue to pad out for the more delicate pieces. Otherwise  all you need is something to pick at the matrix. Can be a simple as a butter knife, a screwdriver, or ice pick. I have a tiny pointed trowel.

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Tunis

That sounds like a good plan. I having been reading up on preserving the shells/fossils but I am really confused. It appears I must dip them in a solution in order to make them “harder” or they will eventually dry out and crumble? Any tips on how to approach that?

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Thomas.Dodson

The solution most people use is paraloid B-72. It is dissolved in acetone and used as a consolidant. Basically, it penetrates the fossil and the acetone then evaporates leaving paraloid behind and solidifying the fossil.  It shouldn't be necessary for Whiskey Bridge fossils. The preservation on these is very good.

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Tunis

Whew!!! That takes a load off of my mind. Thanks to all that have pitched in with advice. I will make sure I post my finds, although they might be redundant to what others have already posted.

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erose
9 hours ago, Tunis said:

Whew!!! That takes a load off of my mind. Thanks to all that have pitched in with advice. I will make sure I post my finds, although they might be redundant to what others have already posted.

No, please post what you find. We love to see what folks find, especially on their first visit. 
 

Just to follow up on using something to strengthen the fossils....  many will be fairly solid, some will need a bit of repair, and for some you may want to consolidate the matrix that is either inside the shell or around it. On my Whiskey Bridge fossils I have used both diluted white glue and more recently super glues. Paraloids would be the best but the superglues are the next best thing. I have thin, regular and gel versions. The diluted white glue has been fine to date but may not age well over time. 

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