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Simple Homemade Display Stands


Sagebrush Steve

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Sagebrush Steve

Thought I would share some simple, inexpensive display stands I made for some of my smaller fossils.  I don't suggest these are museum quality, but hopefully this will encourage others to experiment.  These fossils were in my display case but just lying on the floor of a shelf.  I didn't feel this was an optimum way to display them.  I wanted to get them up off the floor, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  So I decided to go with a simple wooden base together with some brass rod I bent to shape.  The wood came from a 1x3" piece of red oak, 2 feet long, that I got at the local Osh hardware store for $4.49.  I sawed some pieces off of it the correct length and have plenty left over for future use.  For the brass, I bought some 1/16" rod (4 pieces, 12" long each, for $2.99) and some 3/32 brass tubing (3 pieces, 12" long each for $3.49), also from Osh.  I figured out what lengths I needed and cut them with a jeweler's saw.  There is plenty left over for more stands.  The tubing serves as the straight vertical piece, and the rod (which fits neatly inside the tubing) is bent to shape to hold the fossil.  I don't try to get a tight fit around the fossil, I want to be able to easily remove the fossil whenever I want.  After I got everything the way I wanted it, I soldered the brass together using 95:5 tin-silver solder (it is fairly strong for a soft solder).  Unfortunately the color of the solder doesn't match the brass, but it's behind the fossil out of view so I wasn't too worried.

 

For the wood stand, I rounded the corners of the wood and sanded it smooth, then figured out where I wanted the vertical rods and drilled 3/32 diameter holes at those locations. I then stained the wood with some leftover stain from another project.  After it dried, I sprayed on two coats of clear gloss polyurethane.  After everything was dry, I inserted the rods into the holes and used some 5-minute epoxy on the underside to hold them in place (there is a shallow clearance hole drilled on the underside of the hole for the epoxy).  The labels are just something I put together from PowerPoint and printed on ordinary paper using a color laser printer.  I protected the front of the label with ordinary scotch tape and used spray adhesive on the back to apply it to the wood.

 

The one thing I'm not sure about is whether I should dip the ends of the brass rod where they touch the fossil in some liquid plastic something like black Plasti-Dip.  I'm worried the brass might scratch the fossil where it touches, but I'm not sure whether a plastic covering would be archival quality.  Any advice would be welcome.  Hope this inspires you to try your own designs.

 

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Instead of glue or plastic, see if you can find a small jar of museum wax.  But wait, that is pricey.  How about some of that sticky stuff that just mail companies use to " glue" things to the junk mail.  

 

Edit: i forgot to say that they look nice.  Good job.

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Beautiful.  Very nice job.

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Sagebrush Steve
8 hours ago, jpc said:

Instead of glue or plastic, see if you can find a small jar of museum wax.  But wait, that is pricey.  How about some of that sticky stuff that just mail companies use to " glue" things to the junk mail.  

 

Edit: i forgot to say that they look nice.  Good job.

 

Something like this? https://www.amazon.com/Quakehold-66111-2-Ounce-Museum-Wax/dp/B000FJU29U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493385876&sr=8-1&keywords=museum+wax 

 

Not too pricey and probably better than rubber cement.  Thanks for the recommendation!  I hadn't heard of that stuff before but can probably find plenty of uses for it.

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Great ideas.  An imaginative display adds another dimension to a specimen.

 

Re the wood.  Thrift stores are a great source for material.  The base of souvenirs, jewelly boxes, trophies, etc.  Sections can be reworked or a piece flipped over.

 

I've always liked hand written labels in fountain pen  ink to give a Victorian curio effect but my writing is terrible. Your coloured labels are a good alternative as it gives some added character.

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I would say that those are quite nice!

 

RB

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Fossildude19

Thanks for the tutorial, Steve!

Great Job! :wub: 

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Very nice job! They look great!

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Very nice.  I have done something similar and then silver plated them.  Just another thought.  Great work.

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Ptychodus04

Very nice stands. I wouldn't worry about the rod scratching the fossils unless you move them often. Just sitting on the metal won't hurt anything.

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