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austinswamp

Mammoth tusk

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austinswamp

Greetings I found this mammoth tusk but the tip broke and was wondering if there was a good bonding agent I could buy from the store? Any advice towards a preservative would be appreciated as well. Thanks

IMG_20170318_193657.jpg

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JohnJ

Awesome find!  I would wrap it in a two part (lengthwise) plaster cast.  Use damp paper towels or tissue as the underlayer touching the tusk.  Lay plaster soaked strips of cloth halfway around the circumference down the length of it.  Once that sets, flip it over, clean up the edges of the plaster and use a narrow strip of plastic (along the edge of the initial plaster coat) to create a 'separator' between the edges of the half plaster jackets.  Plaster the second side, and put it somewhere warm and dry, like your garage, to let it slowly dry out for the next couple months.  The moisture will evaporate slowly through the plaster.  The plaster jackets will keep the tusk from falling apart (very common occurrence for Texas tusks) while it dries.

 

Others will offer some good advice on what consolidants to use when you remove half the jacket.  @Ptychodus04 @Harry Pristis @jpc

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austinswamp

Thanks! I'm fairly intimidated because of how heavy it is I would look for a YouTube video but it probably doesn't exist. I'm not all that clear on the plastic part of the process

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Uncle Siphuncle

Killer find.  Looks high grade.  How big is it overall?

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austinswamp

About four foot, super heavy...Can't believe it             .    

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JohnJ

You just want a strip of something non-absorbent to keep the wet plaster from bonding to the dry plaster on the other side.  Aluminum foil would do.  This 'separator' will allow you to remove half the jacket a little easier when the tusk is dry and you're ready to consolidate.

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austinswamp
8 minutes ago, Uncle Siphuncle said:

Killer find.  Looks high grade.  How big is it overall?

Haven't done proper measurement

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GeschWhat

Wow! I would love to see photos once you get it out and cleaned up!

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austinswamp

IMG_20170318_224349_080.jpg

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jpc

Not to discourage you, but Mammoth tusks are roughly the worse fossils in the world to work on.  They literally want to fall apart.  The one i was involved with was a dry tusk.  We loaded it with vinac and cyanoacrylate, but you can't use these things on wet fossils. Yours looks wet based on the puddle visible in the first photo.  I really don't know how to deal with wet tusks.  One thing you may want to do is wrap it in a plastic garbage bag and only open it up a little bit so that it dries very slowly.  Fast drying will ruin it.  You may want to contact ian .... Dang, forgot his last name, at the Denver Museum of nature and science.  They dug up a ton of pleistocene goodies, incuding mammoths and mastodons a few years ago from a very wet site near Aspen.  

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austinswamp

Thanks a lot

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austinswamp
1 hour ago, Uncle Siphuncle said:

Killer find.  Looks high grade.  How big is it overall?

45 lbs 

 

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Uncle Siphuncle

I look forward to seeing it cleaned up.

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steelhead9

I would RUN back to the site and look for the rest of the tusk as it appears you have about half of it. With that level of preservation, it's bound to be there somewhere. Good luck with the tusk, it's a beauty!

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Ptychodus04

Awesome find. Mammoth's are a curse, but a beautiful one!!

 

If it's still wet, wrap it up immediately in a bunch of beach towels or newspaper and get them wet (damp, not dripping) Then wrap this in a few dry towels or dry newspaper. If it fits in a box, put it in and close the lid for at least a month to severely slow the drying process.

 

If you don't, it will probably start falling apart very soon. If it's already dry, time to get to work on it.

 

It looks like overall, there's little matrix on it so the clean up should be pretty straightforward. If the sediment is fairly soft, you can use a toothbrush dipped in acetone to soften it and scrape away. Don't use water as it will restart the drying/falling apart process if you use too much.

 

Once you get it clean, I would use PVA (B-15) or Butvar as a consolidant. Use a brush on method and apply several coats. Then use cyanoacrylate to affix the broken end.

 

Or... Save yourself all the trouble and run it up to Dallas and I'll be happy to prep it for you!

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Max-fossils

That's an Amazon find, congrats! I've never found something that big, so I can't really help with anything... I just wanted to say I am impressed with that find.

 

Regards,

 

Max

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CBOB

High Five!!!!!  That's a sweet find!!!  What a great specimen.  Congrats!

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RJB

So much really good quality help here on this forum!  But what a really cool find!  Just wish it was sittin on my prep bench.   :)

 

RB

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lcordova

Congrats on that awesome find!

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garyc

If you need any help looking for the rest I'd be glad to make the 2 hour drive!

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Shellseeker
On 3/19/2017 at 0:10 AM, jpc said:

Not to discourage you, but Mammoth tusks are roughly the worse fossils in the world to work on.  They literally want to fall apart.  The one i was involved with was a dry tusk.  We loaded it with vinac and cyanoacrylate, but you can't use these things on wet fossils. Yours looks wet based on the puddle visible in the first photo.  I really don't know how to deal with wet tusks.  One thing you may want to do is wrap it in a plastic garbage bag and only open it up a little bit so that it dries very slowly.  Fast drying will ruin it.  You may want to contact ian .... Dang, forgot his last name, at the Denver Museum of nature and science.  They dug up a ton of pleistocene goodies, incuding mammoths and mastodons a few years ago from a very wet site near Aspen.  

JPC,

Usually it is unpredictable,  and sometimes newbee foolishness is not punished. I found this chunk in March 2013, did nothing to it, and checked it 15 minutes ago.. It still is as stable as it was years ago.  Know what I know now, and with some bad experiences, I likely should have stabilized it back then. 

I am wondering if I should take precautions now.

Tusk.thumb.jpg.f138a4945497b5dd9a1c99cec22abb1d.jpg

 

 

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jcbshark

Awesome find! :fistbump:

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FossilDudeCO

GREAT find!

The name @jpc was thinking of at the Denver Museum is Ian Miller.

He is a paleobotanist but worked on the "Snowmastodon" (Snowmass) site here in Colorado.

 

He would surely be able to provide some tips if you can reach him!

 

Can't wait to see this sucker prepped out and displayed!

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paulgdls

Hi

 

DILUTE PVA wood glue (10:1 by volume, diluted using water) brushed on repeatedly as it SLOWLY dries out. I've conserved many tusk sections using this method and IT WORKS.

 

Once the specimen has completely dried out paraloid or similar can be used to further stabilize and conserve it. 

 

Paul

 

 

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Ptychodus04
1 hour ago, paulgdls said:

Hi

 

DILUTE PVA wood glue (10:1 by volume, diluted using water) brushed on repeatedly as it SLOWLY dries out. I've conserved many tusk sections using this method and IT WORKS.

 

Once the specimen has completely dried out paraloid or similar can be used to further stabilize and conserve it. 

 

Paul

 

 

 

It is not generally recommended to use PVA based commercial glues as a consolidant due to the additives that they contain. Over time, they become VERY problematic. If you can't control the drying process and are forced to consolidate a wet specimen, you should make your own PVA emulsion. This is very easy.

 

First, I have to say, consolidating a dry specimen with a PVA solution using the controlled drying method is much preferred over emulsion due to the fact that emulsions are hard to reverse.

 

To make a PVA emulsion:

 

  1. Fill a glass container with cool water.
  2. Slowly add PVA beads to the water while stirring to wet all the PVA (be sure to break up clumps before they go into the water and try to keep clumps from forming while adding the PVA
  3. Put the glass container on your kitchen range and begin heating until the water almost boils (190-210F) while continually stirring.
  4. Once the emulsion is the consistency you desire, allow to cool.
  5. You can add cool water to cool emulsion to thin it if needed.

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