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Zozzy-zebra

I've just come back from a trip to Yorkshire where I managed to do a little fossil hunting and was lucky enough to find this ammonite. The problem is though is that generally the preservation in the area wasn't great and this one is clearly covered in a mudstone/ shale type of rock. However I think it might be worth trying to remove the surrounding rock because the small bit which I can see seems to have preserved fairly well. However I don't know the best way to remove it, see i'm not very comfortable with chiseling it away because I'm fairly new to this so would probably end up ruining it! I've been told that it may work if I was to put it into the oven to warm it up and then put it into cold water which could 'shock' the fossil to break along lines of weakness but I'm not sure if it would work or not.

I've tried to post a picture of the fossil here but I'm not sure if its worked so if not here's a link:

http://s1069.photobucket.com/user/zozzy-zebra/media/IMG_0003_zps69eb4cbf.jpg.html

Any suggestions of how I can remove my ammonite would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks ;)

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Fossildude19

Here is your picture... I've posted it for you.

post-2806-0-62107000-1394307557_thumb.jp

DO NOT put it in the oven and then cool it off - this is much more likely to explode the whole thing apart. Not good. The shock of hot to cold is too volatile.

The more gentle way is to freeze/thaw it. Put water in a small pan or container with the Fossil. Put it in the freezer and then let it freeze solid.Overnight should do it. Then let it thaw completely. Take the fossil out, and tap gently with a hammer - no reaction? Repeat as necessary.

This can take many many freeze/thaw cycles. Or it could take one. Depends on the rock.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

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Zozzy-zebra

Here is your picture... I've posted it for you.

attachicon.gifIMG_0003_zps69eb4cbf.jpg

DO NOT put it in the oven and then cool it off - this is much more likely to explode the whole thing apart. Not good. The shock of hot to cold is too volatile.

The more gentle way is to freeze/thaw it. Put water in a small pan or container with the Fossil. Put it in the freezer and then let it freeze solid.Overnight should do it. Then let it thaw completely. Take the fossil out, and tap gently with a hammer - no reaction? Repeat as necessary.

This can take many many freeze/thaw cycles. Or it could take one. Depends on the rock.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Ah yes I was slightly worried that it might be a bit too harsh actually. Thanks for the freeze thaw idea I'm giving that a go as we speak :). Thanks very much for your help.

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Wrangellian

Freeze-thaw: be sure to keep any pieces that may flake off, especially as the shell might come off with the rock you want to remove. What preppers generally do is reglue any pieces with shell back onto the ammo and then prep out the remaining bits of matrix with air tools - or they just start with that method to begin with (no freeze-thaw). I doubt you'll get a clean separation with freeze-thaw but you may as well try it if it's the only method available to you and you don't want to spend the money on the necessary tools or getting someone with the tools to do it for you.

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Learning to do it right will take time and patience. Rock that isn't too hard can be removed with a simple engraver if you don't have access to air tools but they are hard on your fingers if used for long periods of time. You should practice on something you don't mind leaving dings on until you get a feel for it before you work on that nice ammonite. Just be sure you point the tool away from the fossil if the follow-through has any chance of damaging it when the rock breaks away. As you work your way close to the fossil let the tool bounce off the matrix while holding it firmly away from touching the fossil. The same goes for working with small chisels and mallets or dental picks.

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Looks like the ME9100 would do the trick quite easily?

RB

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I would start with a chisel along the bedding plane in the center of the picture to remove a mass of matrix. I agree with Bob that a Dremel engraving tool ($20) will remove the softer matrix working from the fossil to the outside. I have exposed almost completely enclosed 8" diameter Cretaceous ammonites this way. I would wear gloves, as Bob says it's hard on the hands, :D

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Also remember to wear a dust mask and work in a well ventilated space if using any kind of drills or automatic tools on rock. The best method is to use an air pen, this is what all of the hardcore prepping experts would use - although it's not cheap!

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