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To split, or not to split (and how to split!)


holdinghistory

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holdinghistory

I don't have much experience with splitting rocks (just about zero), but I got this nice trilobite in the mail recently. Looking at it, there are some negatives in other layers, so I am wondering what my odds of finding more inside the rock would be. It is fairly thick, but I don't want to damage the big one. Do you think it is a good idea to split it more, or should it be left alone? Is I were to split it, what is the safest way to go about it?

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If it were me, I probably wouldn't risk it. Although there appears to be some sufficient thickness whereby using a very careful approach with a thin chisel and light hammer taps might not result in catastrophe, I know I'd probably leave well enough alone as it looks too risky.

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FossilDudeCO

this stuff can fracture very weirdly.

I would leave it be.

The big trilo on top is very nice!

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Spliting rock is always a gamble. Even for those with experience, and even with those with knowledge of specific material. Having neither would be one big giant risk. Leave it be.

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You should leave it be, I however, being as reckless as I am, would probably try my luck at splitting it along a well defined plane if it exists. This mantra has gotten me into trouble a few times, and I have learned why, generally, most successful people on the forum don't have "I gently removed the matrix with a large hammer"  in their posts. 

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minnbuckeye

I would leave it alone being such a nice trilobite. With that said, in an exchange once, I received a partial trilo. Like yours, I saw evidence that something may be hidden in the matrix. Splitting it provided me with an intact partial and a whole trilobite from the section I slit off. had this been a complete trilo to begin with, my chisel would not have touched the rock. 

 

Mike

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I would like to add that this would be different if let's say you were out fossil hunting and you had collected a bunch of similar specimens and you could always go back and collect more. Then I would say sure give it a try.  Because at some point, "doing" is the only way to learn. And sometimes it does pay off. But not worth it, jeopardizing a perferctly good fossil that you only have one of, and that I assume you bought.

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holdinghistory

Thanks for all the advice! Sounds like a consensus to me. Yes, bought not found.

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If you really want to try your hand at splitting shale, you can order a box of shale from the You-Dig quarry, which is where your specimen likely came from.

 

Don

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Fossil-Hound

@holdinghistory if you look at the shale on the side and notice white wavy lines this is a key indicator of a fracture that may be the result of a fossil but if what you have is from u-dig then the Elrathia you have is relatively common however the chances of recovering another fine specimen near that size on the same shale is rare. 

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Ptychodus04

I'm with all the rest. Don't split it. It's a great specimen and is likely to be ruined in the process. 

 

There's always the temptation to see what's there. In this case, ignore it for the future happiness of the trilobite you see. :D

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holdinghistory

Thank you all, I will leave it as is, and maybe get a box of shale from U-Dig. Anyone have experience with them?

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Fossildude19
40 minutes ago, holdinghistory said:

Thank you all, I will leave it as is, and maybe get a box of shale from U-Dig. Anyone have experience with them?

 

See my post in this thread.   ;) 

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   COMMON!   BE BRAVE!!!   Big hammer and big chisle and a big whack with all the mussle you can muster!  That will get that sucker in two pieces!!!  Yeah, thats the ticket!    Ok, just kidding.  Im really with the rest of them.  I would leave it alone.

 

RB

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Ptychodus04
3 hours ago, RJB said:

   COMMON!   BE BRAVE!!!   Big hammer and big chisle and a big whack with all the mussle you can muster!  That will get that sucker in two pieces!!!  Yeah, thats the ticket!    Ok, just kidding.  Im really with the rest of them.  I would leave it alone.

 

RB

 

Well, that will get it into at least two pieces!:P

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6 hours ago, RJB said:

   COMMON!   BE BRAVE!!!   Big hammer and big chisle and a big whack with all the mussle you can muster!  That will get that sucker in two pieces!!!  Yeah, thats the ticket!    Ok, just kidding.  Im really with the rest of them.  I would leave it alone.

 

RB

If you do decide to split it @RJB can show you how to stick it together with a gallon of glue and 15 clamps as he does this with his crab nodules. ;)

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