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First time fossil prep - open to feedback!


shrimp

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I was tempted recently to pick up a DIY fossil prep kit from an online retailer, have always been curious and wanted to give it a shot. You guys make it seem so easy! I only have manual tools (kit included a metal pick and I've started using a hobby knife to remove some of the upper layers a little faster). The whole slab is approx 17cm and the fish itself is maybe around 11cm. I started this thread to share my progress and get a little feedback. Any tips? Anything I absolutely shouldn't do, or do more of? There is also a big lump visible above the fish, wondering if that is worth digging into or if its more likely to be nothing of interest. Having fun so far!! :dinothumb:

 

Thanks for any feedback :)

 

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You’re starting off well. Go slow and use magnification are the best tips to start out. The cheapest magnification that is good for fossil prep is a magnification visor. It will make a huge difference in your final results. The lump above the fish is probably a coprolite. I wouldn’t bother with it.

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Free coprolite?? My lucky day! :BigSmile:

 

So far it has only been extremely slow. I do have a little desk mounted magnifier but I might look into a visor.

 

Here is about another 90 minutes worth of work

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fossilhunter21

Looking pretty good! The first fossils I ever prepped were also fish. They seem to be good good starting fossils. 

 

Also take plenty of breaks, prepping for long periods can make your wrist hurt pretty bad. Also if you notice you are getting frustrated, then STOP right away. Prepping while frustrated at the fossil (or anything) can cause damage to the fossil, trust me, I learned the hard way. 

 

Looking forward the next update!

 

-Micah

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Be patient! Especially using manual tools on these fish, trying to poke/chip too much of the matrix at one time can push the needle too deep and you'll end up with tiny little holes in the fish. It only took me 800 holes in fish to figure that out! Magnification and a good light source are also key. On the thin and fragile fin rays, lightly scrape away the matrix with the needle tip along the bone instead of trying to chip away matrix in larger chunks. Enter zen and zone out- post photos of your progress!

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11 hours ago, shrimp said:

I do have a little desk mounted magnifier but I might look into a visor.


Any magnification is better than none. Most desk mounted magnifiers at 3x or 5x. This is good for a start. If you find that you like prepping, you’ll likely step up to a stereo microscope pretty quickly.

 

Beware, fossil prepping is addictive and has a serious detrimental effect on your bank account. It’s nothing to spend $10k on a middle of the road setup.

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Thanks for the encouragement! I'm definitely having fun so far. The wrist pain is real though!!

 

Here's the update for this morning. Might still be too early to tell what kind of fish I've got but I am still learning to ID.

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Your fish, (most likely Knightia) is in some nice lookin rock and and looks to be preserved nicely too.  From reading this thread your definitely having fun and the more you do that wrist pain should go away.  Good luck

 

RB

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Fun is being had! I know nicer tools could get it done quicker but its a great opportunity to catch up on some podcasts. I'm very glad it seems well preserved and intact so far, I guess we will see how the head and fins fare

 

Here's how its going so far.

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