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KCMOfossil

Keeping the wet look

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KCMOfossil

Sometimes a fossil shows more of its detail when wet than when dry. The photos below show what I mean. What is a good way to treat the fossil (I mean with oil etc.) so that it will keep the more attractive wet look?  The first photo is dry, the second is wet.  The pictures were taken with the same lighting and camera settings.

 

Russ

Dry.JPG

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KCMOfossil

Here is the photo with the fossil wet.Wet.JPG

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tmaier

You should post this thread in the "fossil prep" area of the forum. People there do this type of thing, and can also tell you horror stories about using the wrong materials.

If you post it here, you might get a few replies, but it would be just from stray preppers.

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JohnJ

Topic moved.  ;)

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caldigger

"Stray Prepper" I like that name. Conjurors up images of some poor lost fossilite out there dazed and confused ever searching for some material to get his dental tools into.

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jhw

I use a couple coats of Krylon crystal clear (acrylic coating) most of my fossils. It seals and protects, brings out the color and contrast, and adds a nice shine and feel. I'm sure others might disagree, but it works for me. With this sample you're showing, I think it would give you a very similar result.

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jpc

I am a purist... nothing is best.  Don't like the wet look.  But that is just me.

 

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KCMOfossil

Thanks JohnJ for moving my post to a better spot, and thanks to jhw and jpc for your comments. Normally, I do not put anything on my fossils (in fact, this would be the first time I have done so), but in this case what prompted my question is the fact that the sutures of the cephalopod in the photos are much less visible when the fossil is dry. My goal is to make visible the fossil features that are present. Nonetheless I want to avoid putting anything on the fossil what will not still look good 20 years from now. The acrylic coating sounds like a possibility.  What do the large museums do? 

 

Russ

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Coco

Hi,

 

Since I am interested in the current shells, a great unfortunately dead specialist (see my signature) recommended me to put some liquid paraffin above with a brush, to wait for a few days into which the oil penetrates into the shell and to wipe residues. It is important to use a mineral oil because it doesn't go rancid and it will "dry" more pleasantly than a vegetable oil.

 

I use sometimes this method on certain fossils because that returns the more obvious colors and the details, and it is reversible with some water, a little soap and a small brush.

 

Coco

 

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Troodon

I'm like jpc I do not want any ingredients on my fossils other than what is necessary to conserve them.  A wet look for me looks does not look natural and deters from the fossil, but that me.  Museums I believe just use stabilizers like Paleobond and PVA to provide a coating/penetrant on their fossils.  The amount of coating used can add a sheen to a fossil but it's far from a wet look.

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Ptychodus04

Don't ever put anything that comes from a hardware store on your fossils if you plan to pass them on to your kids/grand-kids. None of those products are meant to hold up over time as they are designed for furniture applications where finishes are meant to be reapplied. They will all discolor and do bad things in time. The only odd man out in this group is a mineral oil/wax as Coco suggested. It's not going to change as much over time and become as problematic as materials like acrylic, polyurethane, shellac, etc.

 

Museums use products like PVA, Butvar, and Paraloid for conservation. All are stable indefinitely. PVA and Butvar (I have little experience with Paraloid) both will impart a somewhat shiny appearance to the fossil when dissolved in acetone. The more you apply, the shinier it gets (to a point).

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jpc
4 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

Don't ever put anything that comes from a hardware store on your fossils if you plan to pass them on to your kids/grand-kids. None of those products are meant to hold up over time as they are designed for furniture applications where finishes are meant to be reapplied. They will all discolor and do bad things in time. The only odd man out in this group is a mineral oil/wax as Coco suggested. It's not going to change as much over time and become as problematic as materials like acrylic, polyurethane, shellac, etc.

 

Museums use products like PVA, Butvar, and Paraloid for conservation. All are stable indefinitely. PVA and Butvar (I have little experience with Paraloid) both will impart a somewhat shiny appearance to the fossil when dissolved in acetone. The more you apply, the shinier it gets (to a point).

yup.

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jhw

Like I said, some might disagree! Ha, ha. I'd suggest trying a few things on a few inconsequential pieces and see if you like it. I'm not a purist! I'll drill holes, carve, make jewelry, whatever with some of my stuff. Of course what we find here in So. Cal is usually clams, snails, shark teeth, etc. nothing of any real scientific value. 

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KCMOfossil

Thanks for the information. You have given me some things to think about and some products to try. I've realized now that the title of my original post was somewhat misleading. I am not interested in the fossil being shiny or having the wet look per se. My goal is to reveal the fossil’s details which happen to show up when it is wet. In fact, I dislike the idea making it shiny—I prefer it to look like the materials it is made of. I suppose what I want is to increase the contrast of colors. Regardless, your advice has been on target. As jhw suggested, I hope to try some of your suggestions on inconsequential fossils before I treat ones I’m really interested in. Thanks!

 

Russ

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Ptychodus04

My wife claims I'm very disagreeable! I have to disagree. :P

 

I regularly use PVA to highlight fossils in many ways. Sometimes it's an application that increases contrast in the bone, other times I use it to slightly darken a fossil or the matrix to increase contrast.

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LordTrilobite

I've heard of some people that use bees wax. but I have not tried this myself so I do not know what kind of results this gets. Though as far as I know it's also reversible.

 

I know that paraloid B-72 gives pretty good results. It does give a nice dark look that brings out certain details. But if the layer is too thick is might blur out the finer details on a fossil. On small scale I often just use cyanoacrylate. I mainly do this with very fragile items though.

 

I'm kinda neutral on whether with out without coating is better. Both have their drawbacks. There is merit in having the fossil look more natural. While the wet look can enhance details that wouldn't otherwise be visible and thus can give more information. Neither is inherently bad.

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KCMOfossil

My thanks to each one of you.  You've given me solid leads that I can follow up over time.  Perhaps I will post later with some of the results.

 

Thanks again,

Russ

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