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CarlosSchwindt

Intro to prep

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CarlosSchwindt

What tools are needed for fossil prep? I recently bought a rough oreodont in Denver as well, and where can I find dental picks to help clean that out? What other tools are helpful thank you!

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Kane

Welcome to the forum. :) 

 

In terms of tools in general, this Fossil Preparation sub-forum is filled with a great deal of information that you can comb through.

 

In terms of dental picks, a quick search on Google reveals plentiful sources where you can purchase them online, or at various store locations.

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Fossildude19

Welcome to the Forum. :) 

 

You might peruse this excellent post. ;) 

 

Manual scribes,(pin vice with carbide needle) dental pics, air scribes, electric engravers are the most commonly used prep tools for Oreodonts, as far as I know.

Good luck. :) 

 

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snolly50

Thanks to Tim for unearthing and posting my old series above. I hope it will give you a sense of how fun such a project can be.

 

It is my experience that you can adequately prep an Oreodont with uncomplicated and relatively inexpensive tools. The matrix is very workable. An engraving tool will do a good job. I prefer the ElectroStylus because of its ergonomic shape. This tool is around $70, last I looked. I prefer carbide needles in a pin vice over dental picks. A pin vise is cheap, but the needles feel a little pricey for a thin piece of metal. However, they are worth the cost.

 

Safety: Educate yourself regarding potential harmful effects of using a vibrating tool. Simple eye and lung protection are a requirement.

 

Good luck, have fun.

 

 

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Fruitbat

I used electric engravers (I used to use Dreml or Craftsman because I didn't have easy access to an ElectroStylus) for almost all of my White River Badlands prep.  You'll be surprised at how close you can work to delicate parts like teeth if you're CAREFUL!  Use the higher settings if you're working on plain matrix surrounding the specimen but go the the lowest setting when you're working around delicate stuff.  Of course...a good selection of things like dental picks and brushes can come in really handy as does a good magnifier.

 

-Joe

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CarlosSchwindt

Update and clarification,

Thank you so much for all the help and advice it is amazing!

So for the foreseeable future I will only be cleaning the Oreodont by hand, it's ineffective but I want to use it as a true into the cleaning, seeing how the rock reacts and such. My question lies in the complete makeup of the machines used to clean the fossils. I've been reading different posts and have deduced an air compressor is involved, but the rest is Greek to me, if anyone could explain entirely the process that would be absolutely perfect! Thank you all so much

Update part 2.

My other main area of questions were regarding the gluing of fossils, what kind of glue do you use for certain types of fossils? A lot of these things I've tried to find it already on the forum, but I can't really comprehend it because its above my level, I've never done any prep work before.

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Fruitbat

An air compressor is only needed if you're using one of the air-powered tools like an air scribe.  Electric engravers are MUCH cheaper but much less precise.  They're the tools that are used by many people to engrave names, etc. on items (usually metal or glass) and use a high-speed vibrating tip (often, but not always, carbide).  They come in dozens of 'flavors' from expensive ($400+) to downright inexpensive ($20 or so).  They practically all have adjustable vibrating speeds and some have different tips for different jobs.

 

To use one, simply turn the unit on, adjust the vibrating speed and carefully press the tip against the matrix you're trying to remove.  Safety glasses and a dust mask can be a good idea, especially if you're generating a lot of dust.  Experimenting with settings and angles will eventually give you a pretty good feel for what you need to do to remove matrix without damaging the fossil.  You might want to consider starting off with one of your less 'valuable' specimens first...just in case.

 

The dental picks/needles/etc. are used when you don't want to risk using a vibrating tool around a particularly delicate or tiny part of a fossil (like between teeth or around tiny bones).  Brushes (I used 'soft' tooth brushes and paint brushes) are useful for removing residue and dust from crevices and to give the fossil a general cleaning while you work so you can see what you're doing.

 

-Joe

 

 

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snolly50

Here's a suggestion that may prove productive.  If your Oreodont piece has plenty of matrix present, pick a spot of matrix that you know will eventually be removed. Now take a small screwdriver or similar metal implement and scrape that area. Get an idea how the matrix behaves. Gouge it, scratch it, make it go away. Try different angles and force. What happens? I think if you spend a few minutes getting a feel for how workable the matrix is (even with a less than ideal implement) you will feel more confident regarding the task ahead.

 

I use superglue for reattachment of small bits that are not under stress. The Forum is full of opinions/tips regarding sticky stuff. 

 

Have fun.

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Kane
6 hours ago, snolly50 said:

Thanks to Tim for unearthing and posting my old series above. I hope it will give you a sense of how fun such a project can be.

 

It is my experience that you can adequately prep an Oreodont with uncomplicated and relatively inexpensive tools. The matrix is very workable. An engraving tool will do a good job. I prefer the ElectroStylus because of its ergonomic shape. This tool is around $70, last I looked. I prefer carbide needles in a pin vice over dental picks. A pin vise is cheap, but the needles feel a little pricey for a thin piece of metal. However, they are worth the cost.

 

Safety: Educate yourself regarding potential harmful effects of using a vibrating tool. Simple eye and lung protection are a requirement.

 

Good luck, have fun.

 

 

I want to double down on Snolly50's warning about electric engravers. "White finger" is a very serious issue that can cause permanent neurological damage. When I've used an engraver for too long, I get woken up with painful numbness and tingles in the index and middle fingers. If you opt for any vibrating tool, do observe a few precautions: 

 

1. Take very frequent breaks (every 10 minutes, for example).

2. Do not "choke" the tool as the vibration will transfer to your hand and cause damage. If you can use a lighter grip, this mitigates some of the vibratory harm.

3. Do not operate the tool in cooler temperatures. Keep warm for better circulation.

4. If possible, invest in shock-absorbing gloves, but this may mask damage so observe rule #1 above!

 

The numbness in the hand may not manifest until much later (such as when you are sleeping). If this happens, limit your use or discontinue it entirely! :) 

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snolly50

I'm really glad Kane hit this with the emphasis it deserves. It is so easy to get engrossed and let time pass. This is especially a hazard with a vibrating tool; but also be mindful of repetitive movement strain from non-power tools as well. Hey, it's fun; but take a break! Your hands/fingers will thank you.

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CarlosSchwindt

Thank you all for that great advice, I think this has been a great rundown of the prep work that goes into cleaning fossils.

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jpc

I use primarily air tools to do this sort of work, but snolly's post about his oreodont project is really good.  Dental tools are good and you can beg for them from any local dentist.  Or all the local dentists.  If you have a Dremel, you can use that to sharpen dental tools to points and chisel tips, but get a small Dremel diamond wheel for that.  

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kurdelmb

I've found that starting out using manual tools (pin vice, dental tools, etc) helps you to develop a "feel" for the material you are prepping that you just can't get if you go straight to air or other power tools. It's a fundamental skill that you will always be thankful you have!  As jpc said, you can ask your dentist. That's what I did. They gave me 4 or 5  different scalers, picks for free. As soon as as told them what I was actually wanting them for they were very interested and wanted to know more. Needless to say, it was quite a long dental appointment. :-) Good luck!

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Sagebrush Steve
On 9/21/2017 at 10:10 AM, snolly50 said:

Thanks to Tim for unearthing and posting my old series above. I hope it will give you a sense of how fun such a project can be.

 

It is my experience that you can adequately prep an Oreodont with uncomplicated and relatively inexpensive tools. The matrix is very workable. An engraving tool will do a good job. I prefer the ElectroStylus because of its ergonomic shape. This tool is around $70, last I looked. I prefer carbide needles in a pin vice over dental picks. A pin vise is cheap, but the needles feel a little pricey for a thin piece of metal. However, they are worth the cost.

 

Safety: Educate yourself regarding potential harmful effects of using a vibrating tool. Simple eye and lung protection are a requirement.

 

Good luck, have fun.

 

 

From what I have been able to tell, the ElectroStylus seems to be out of production.  I've looked in the past and again today and all the listings show as out of stock.  Is there still a source, or if not, a recommendation for something similar?

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Ptychodus04
8 hours ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

From what I have been able to tell, the ElectroStylus seems to be out of production.  I've looked in the past and again today and all the listings show as out of stock.  Is there still a source, or if not, a recommendation for something similar?

 

Dremel still makes an electric engraver. I did a quick search on Google and it showed up on the big box hardware sites.

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snolly50
10 hours ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

From what I have been able to tell, the ElectroStylus seems to be out of production.

The ElectroStylus is superior to other engravers due to its more ergonomic shape. It would be unfortunate if it is no longer available. It is elusive, as I discovered in a cursory search. Here is one source, don't know if it's "old" or even legit, but it does give contact info so it would be easy to explore. Please post if you are successful in your search.

 

 http://www.wenzco.com/cat/blsu/blsup.html

 

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holdinghistory

If you are looking for cheap hand tools, I picked up a scribing pen from menards that has a carbide tip to it. I have tried it out a bit and it works quite well. Cost a few bucks (I think $5-6).

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CarlosSchwindt

Update- I bought some dental picks and am working on a very fractured oreodont skull, what type of glue do you guys use and after I have finished picking it out is there anything else that I must do?

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RJB

Hey @CarlosSchwindt, what we all need is a genie that can just blink her eyes and Waaalaaa,,, all done.  All these guys above have givin some real good advise.  for glue i would use Cianoacrylate, super glue.  comes off fairly easy on that kind of bone too.  Would love to see this once its done.  Good luck.

 

RB

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