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Aurelius

Big British ammonites - tips please

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Aurelius

I've recently found some medium to large ammonites, mostly apparently coroniceras. They aren't perfectly preserved, but I would really like to do them justice and put the work in to prep them.


However.

 

One thing I'm finding insufferably tedious is removing all of the excess matrix before you even get near the ammonite. I have a scribe/pen (a Ken Mannion TT), but that doesn't really seem up to the task of removing large amounts of matrix. Does anyone have any tips?


Also, when it comes to the prep - at least of the lias ones - I'm finding that there is basically no separation between the ammonite and the surrounding rock, so all I can do is slowly work away the rock surrounding the ammonite, leaving it rather rough looking (and invariably slightly dinged). This also, of course, seems to take forever. Is that just the way it is? I have heard you then need to sand them down? Surely there must be some kind of trick, or incantation which would help me? How do you avoid ruining the centre, if the outer whorl is this hard? It boggles the mind!

 

I understand that this is a dark art, practiced by highly skilled experts in enormous secrecy from their hidden ammonite bunkers, but any tips would be very much appreciated at this stage!

 

I'm going to tag @Terry Dactyll, because if anybody knows, it's that guy!

 

Just for visual interest, here are a few photos of some of the ammonites in question:

 

Ammonite from unknown original location but found in Somerset. I'll prep this from the back, assuming the back is intact beneath all the rock.

P_PC3368.jpg.d60ab61d61631fd24c42a954901f6e18.thumb.jpg.6a489af18fbca3b59a357e35740004cc.jpg

 

Somerset partial. Looks crushed in the centre, but I don't mind that for practice. Did a bit of work on this tonight, and spent about 45 minutes cleaning a single rib on the outer whorl.

 

5a827c0d3d126_20180205_172427(1).thumb.jpg.0995f142ea800bbff64f13f329ac40b0.jpg

 

Somerset ammonite partial. I'm not actually going to do anything to this, because I absolutely love it as it is. The incredible size (I calculated it'd be the best part of a metre/3 feet wide when whole), rustic preservation and encrusted oysters make this one of my favourite recent finds. It may not be complete, but it has character.

 

20180213_054222.thumb.jpg.84241502e27e87112a7d9abb736068f4.jpg

 

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Ludwigia

You're right. And you've tagged the right person, so I suppose you've already studied his threads in the Preparation corner. I'm afraid that in the end it just comes down to having the right equipment and knowledge of how to use it, experience as to which finds are really worth working on in the first place....and patience. Don't forget that it sometimes takes a team of professional preparators several years to free a dinosaur from its surrounding matrix. Just ask @jpc

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TqB

As Roger said, you've asked the right guy. I believe some people find the chisel end in a TT useful for fast removal.

I've never prepped one of those but gather that the technique is to keep skimming until there's a colour change, sanding the final thing as you say. Very time consuming but worth it.

 

Some of these have the annoying habit of just being preserved as planed off half shells so it's possible there's nothing on the other side...

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jpc

since my  name was mentioned, I think you are doing the right thing.  I am not familiar with these big ammonites nor terry manning's TT, but ... Patience is the other tool you will need.  Patience, and more patience.  Fossils in concretions take a long time.  Did I mention patience?  

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Aurelius

Yes, I thought as much. I've previous prepped things from smaller concretions, and although it has been a slow process, this seems to be on a whole different scale of difficulty. But I'll go for it anyway - first on the partial as a practice, and then on some of my smaller complete specimens. I don't have total faith in my ability to do a great job on what is essentially 'carving by numbers', though!

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Ptychodus04

There's an incantation that I regularly use when prepping fossils in concretions but it's not appropriate for a family friendly forum. :P

 

As @jpc and Mr. Miyagi so sagely stated, "Patience Daniel-san." It takes years of hard labor to gain the somewhat intuitive knowledge it takes to prep some of these fossils.

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jpc

Patience and something good to listen to.  

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Terry Dactyll

post-1630-0-91729200-1346399900_thumb.jpg.147aadea779ab4a1a656c461257eb2c7.jpg

 

Hi.... I'm afraid theres no easy quick fix to get results in prepping but your on the right track by finding some practice pieces to work on.... The guys are right you need to practice skimming the rock off as described in detail in my fossil prep thread.... Your looking for a colour change from light grey matrix to a lighter calcite colour.... You can see this colour change below on the shell I'm currently working on and roughing out pictured below ....At this stage you could if you had one air abraid the remaining matrix off or like myself use various grades of wet n dry sand paper to clean off the remaining rock layer.... Getting closer to the fossil try cubing with a grinder and diamond cutting disc or get the Ken Mannion SQ as pictured above... brilliant tool' or a cheaper alternative you can find on ebay that would do a similar job which I used for ages before I got this... again pictured in the fossil prep thread....

Good luck.... I dont get notifications via email, anymore for some reason your lucky I just happened to of signed in....

Steve....

 

5a887440e55a0_WP_20180215_21_14_38_Pro(1024x577).jpg.355aee4c1e09042a18109ebafe25900c.jpg

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Aurelius
36 minutes ago, Terry Dactyll said:

 

Hi.... I'm afraid theres no easy quick fix to get results in prepping but your on the right track by finding some practice pieces to work on.... The guys are right you need to practice skimming the rock off as described in detail in my fossil prep thread.... Your looking for a colour change from light grey matrix to a lighter calcite colour.... You can see this colour change below on the shell I'm currently working on and roughing out pictured below ....At this stage you could if you had one air abraid the remaining matrix off or like myself use various grades of wet n dry sand paper to clean off the remaining rock layer.... Getting closer to the fossil try cubing with a grinder and diamond cutting disc or get the Ken Mannion SQ as pictured above... brilliant tool' or a cheaper alternative you can find on ebay that would do a similar job which I used for ages before I got this... again pictured in the fossil prep thread....

Good luck.... I dont get notifications via email, anymore for some reason your lucky I just happened to of signed in....

Steve....

 

Thanks Steve! I suppose I was just slightly taken aback by just how little separation between the rock and the matrix there was! I've already dinged the matrix a few times, but I'm hoping that can be resolved with some sanding. I do have an abrader too, so I can try that on the smaller ones. 

 

Thanks again.

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