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Terra virtui

Preserving Fossils

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Terra virtui

Hey all! I am a new fossil collector and I started out by going to the Suedberg site in Swatara Gap, PA, which is part of the Mahantango Formation. I brought some fossils home with me and have heard you can use a 50/50 mix of white elmer's glue and water to preserve the fossils. Obviously this isn't a professional job, but it is cheap and gets the job done. Can I use this mixture for fossils found in shale? I fear that over time they will disintegrate and if I drop them, bye, bye, fossils, which is why I'm considering using the mixture. I am also open to cheap alternatives, although the key word there is cheap (I am a college student).

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ZiggieCie

Here is a link to a supply co that sells Paraloid B-72, in 8oz bag for $8 that you can dissolve in acetone which gives a shiney coat or alcohol for a matt finish. it goes a long way and the professional way to go.

http://www.conservationsupportsystems.com/product/show/acryloid-paraloid-b-72/acryloid

Some info on using it.

http://www.connectingtocollections.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Davidson_and_Brown_2012_Paraloid_B-72-_Practical_tips_for_the_vertebrate_fossil_preparator.pdf

Better than using glue.

OH YA, Welcome to the forum. :yay-smiley-1:

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Wrangellian

I only use diluted white glue for gluing individual pieces together, I would never coat/soak a fossil with this stuff.

But I would go with what Ziggie said in any case, unless you can tell us more about the fossils.matrix (maybe other members are more familiar with the site/material), maybe it is not so prone to disintegration - at least if you don't drop them!

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Terra virtui

I read the article you attached in your post Ziggie, but the fossils I have are invertebrate, like brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoid stems, and pelecypods (from the Middle Denovian). Will soaking them in Paraloid B-72 still work? The article primarily discussed vertebrates, which is why I am asking. And Wrangellian, if I could tell you more about the fossil matrix I would, but I don't really know what I'm looking at. Hopefully I will soon. I also want to thank both of you!

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ZiggieCie

Fossiling is a continual learning endeavor. What to use on an individual fossil will depend on each fossil and the results you want. I once found a perfect fully exposed Phacops trilobite that crumbled away on the ride home. If I had B-72 then I would of coated it with it, it would of soaked around all of the pieces and held it together. I would use it on brachiopods that because of the type of preservation they look like they will break apart or are shedding pieces, but not on solid Brachiopods. I use super glue to glue fossils back together, ( my fossils are all early marine inverts.) I will use B-72 on some of my delicate Sponges to help solidify them.

Everyone else will have their favorite materials that they use as needed. It is a fun learning experience. B)

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Auspex

Unless the fossils in question are unstable or otherwise vulnerable to damage or degradation, I suggest you save up and do it right.

If the goal is to preserve them, then it is counter intuitive to do so with something that will only damage them in the long run, no?

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FossilDAWG

Although the white glue approach is commonly used (I have done it myself in the past), one disadvantage is that the glue tends to discolor and turn yellow with age. Paraloid does not have this problem. Also the glue is more viscous, even in a 50:50 dilution, so it does not really penetrate and solidify the specimen as well as Paraloid/acetone does. On the other hand, you need to have a well ventilated (and flame-free) area to work with acetone.

Don

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Harry Pristis

I recommend against white glue (polyvinyl acetate) as a consolidant because there are better materials available.* (Normal prep lab dilution of white glue is one part water to two parts glue.) Rarely, a specimen cannot be dried without it crumbling, and white glue is the only reasonable answer. In my experience, white glue is messy and never looks good when the specimen is fully-prepared.

A much better material for bone is a polyvinyl butyral plastic such as Butvar B-76, but that material may be hard to find in small quantities. I have used this plastic, dissolved in acetone, for many types of fossils. (I have used it successfully on Silurian-age shales with brachiopods, for example.) It penetrates well, and in the proper dilution it produces a "damp-looking" finish with no gloss.

* * *

This is from an account in my TFF Profile. Much more info is available there on plastic consolidants and white glue.

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Cris

Preserving Fossils

That's a good thread on the topic.

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ZiggieCie

THX Chris, that is a great link, saved it to my favorites for reference.

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