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  1. Shaun-DFW Fossils

    Lower eagle ford lobster prep

    Very brief update on my first lobster discovered in my best “Tarrant formation” lower eagle ford spot a few weeks ago. I very carefully knocked some matrix off using a jackhammer (dremel 290, loud and not easy to control) and my friend Mercer helped me with a brief aluminum oxide+quartz blast with the air abrasive while I watched. More is starting to be revealed. It might take me a long time because I’m also rotating through a bunch of big echinoids and ammonites I’m prepping as well, and I’m doing more and more of it on my own.
  2. Hi, from what I can glean from the topics it appears to get the best use from my Dremel 290 engraver I'd need to get the Zoic paleo bits. My wife purchased a package of bits Dremel bits for me and rather than use and ruin them for unintended purposes I'm waiting to see if anyone knows the following If one is in the USA, is ordering from Zoic the only way to get the 3 pack of paleo bits? Here's the multi-pack my wife purchased. None of these seem that much like the Zoic bits in appearance.
  3. I had a fairly good last two Saturdays finding larger (relatively for me) mortoniceras ammonites in a creek off of I-35W south of Denton, TX. Here are some unprepped stacked ones waiting in line at the beauty shop. I also found a 14-inch mortoniceras that appeared risky to remove at first glance so I left it in the surrounding matrix and removed the entire area. Very heavy quarter mile hike back to my car. But I’m stronger for it. lol! I also wanted to highlight a 13-inch ammonite I skeptically chiseled out of a huge rock in the summer of 2023 from the Benbrook area (east of the lake). The creek side exposure was so worn down, there’s almost nothing left. But the other side, once I got it out, showed a beautiful orange color. It was broken in two pieces and the end of the ammonite had some very dense rock around it. Instead of chopping it off and trying to make a smaller ammonite, we decided to carve the rock into its own base. Glue lines were prepped out and it made for a very nice one-sided display after the usual yet detailed air scribe and air abrasive work. Some people like perfection on both sides (I do too), but sometimes creative solutions exist to make the imperfect look great.
  4. Shaun-DFW Fossils

    Coalified wood prep (experimental)

    I found 2 nice pieces of coalified wood sticking out of a clay creek bank near the border of the woodbine and eagleford in southern Tarrant County TX a few weeks apart. The first one cracked into a million pieces after it dried out, though I was at least entertained when I placed it in water and it started popping like a bowl of Rice Krispies, or like the sound of a forest fire. So I sent my larger piece I acquired later to the woody beauty shop for a makeover, giving it a couple of coatings of a glossy polyurethane spray. It’s far from perfect, but at least it looks pretty close to how it looked when I found it and maybe it’ll stay together for a few years. Whatever the mud colored object is, it gradually worked its way out of an exposed cavity on one edge of the wood. Also note what I think are marks left by ship worms (?) on the outside. I find it all very interesting, maybe due to my imagination.
  5. Have any of you ever used a plate of oysters or turritella as the base for an ammonite you want to display? Or maybe an echinoid? I’ll attach an example. I’m just curious if it looks visually appealing and whether you use some sort of glue or drill into the fossil?
  6. A few months ago I decided I would make an air scribe setup I could put in my office. It took about a month of research and planning to settle on everything. It works great, is totally safe, and my wife hasn't gone mad yet! I thought this would be something the forum would enjoy seeing, as I couldn't find any good information on this topic to help me build mine at the time so I might as well share what I learned along the way! The basic considerations were as follows: Be safe Be professional Be quiet Be reasonably priced Let's break down the requirements and see how they influenced the project. Be Safe The number one concern was airborne dust particles, and their potential to cause major damage to my lungs, and also the lungs of my dogs and wife over time if it got circulated throughout the house through the AC. To combat this I needed to make a box that could contain the dust/rock chips and some form of dust extraction. Not only that, I also needed to ensure the dust extraction was rated for such abrasive dust, and that it would have a HEPA filter to catch the dust and not recirculate it out into the room. Let's start with dust extraction. I had suggestions to just use a shop-vac, however this is not a good idea. Firstly, it's not safe as the filter cannot catch the fine damage-causing silica dust but also it couldn't be run for hours in a row without burning up. I found through my research that this is not an easy product to source, especially not in the US. After a lot of time spent looking and some helpful advice I found Vaniman, and specifically the StoneVac II to be the right product for my needs. It has a bypass motor so the motor doesn't get damaged by the dust which gives it a much longer lifespan. I did not get the brushless version, one reason being this price, but it's also was just unnecessary. For a smaller prep box the Abrasive Vac would work just as well, jsut make sure you request the HEPA filter. Speaking of the box! For the box I designed it based on The Wobbly Fossiler's design. It was made out of one sheet of 1/4" plywood and 1x1's as stringers. The base is 2'x3' as I wanted plenty of room to work on larger pieces. I screwed the wood together and caulked all the joints, then painted over that. The entrance for the hands is garage door brush seal on the top and bottom. This allows ease of access for the hands, mobility/flexibility, keeps chunks from flying back out and, very importantly, is not airtight. One thing I didn't consider initially is that the box cannot be totally airtight or the vacuum won't be able to pull the dust out due to no airflow. I attempted to make everything airtight except this entrance so that the air is predictably entering the box from the front and being drawn straight out the back. For the window I cut a piece of plexiglass and put clear silicone inbetween it and the lid, then bolted it together. This makes it an airtight seal, yet makes it easy to replace in the case of damage to the plexiglass. I ran weather strip seal around the edges of the lid, used latches to secure the lid shut, ran strip LEDs around the inside and cut a hole in the back for the vacuum hose to enter. I used a gromet to ensure an airtight seal around the vacuum hose, which surprisingly was the hardest part of the whole build to source. I could certainly make a better box if I did it again, but I am very satisfied with the result. Professional Capabilities This consideration steered the vision of the project and its scope. I purchased 2 PaleoZOIC scribes (the Velociraptor II and the Balaur) as my scribes to use in this box. There would be no reason to invest in such nice prep tools if the environment they were being used in was poorly constructed, cheap and unable to get the most out of this investment. I also wanted to make sure I had plenty of room to work on some large chunks of Limestone I had collected in the past, and to do that I needed a much larger and more versatile box than any prebuilt ones I came across. I also like the ability to move my arms in and out and side to side to get to whatever position is comfortable as I have some sensitive wrists. Prebuilt boxes and they were either absurdly expensive, or unreliable. Don't Drive my Wife Insane (Be Quiet) As mentioned, this setup was going to go into my inside office. For this consideration, that meant I had to be considerate of others who the noise might impact, namely my wife. Another great advantage of the StoneVac II that I didn't previously mention is how quiet it is. It is quiet enough to have a, maybe slightly elevated, conversation over. However, it is leagues quieter than a ShopVac. This means with the door shut to my office it is not an issue for others in the house. The same can be said for the air compressor. I got an 8 Gallon air compressor from California Air Tools and am very pleased with both its quiet noise level and ability to easily keep up with my tools. It is also oil free and brushless, allowing for virtually no maintenance and a longer life span. I am very satisfied with these two pieces of equipment. Price For this final category, I had to make sure to balance budget, efficiency and safety. Because I saved money on the box I was able to get two very nice air scribes. The air compressor was also quiet inexpensive all things considered. The biggest single expense was undoubtedly the dust extractor, however that is also the piece you cannot skimp out on since it is the most important piece to the puzzle of safety and health. I debated whether it was worth spending so much for this, but in the end I knew my health was more important. The biggest place you could save money over my setup is undoubtedly in the scribes. I needed some high quality scribes for some very delicate prep work I needed to do, so depending on what you're doing you could certainly save a lot there. Conclusions I am very satisfied with my setup as it strikes a great harmony between functionality and price. I would recommend a similar setup to anyone who like myself wants to prep inside for whatever reasons, needs a setup that isn't too expensive, and wants the ability to do professional-grade prep. I am happy to answer any questions! I hope this wasn't too long-winded, I wanted to ensure everything was covered to hopefully inspire/inform others who might have similar limitations and restrictions. Happy prepping!
  7. Shaun-DFW Fossils

    First “prepped” echinoids

    I am new (12-14 months) to hunting for fossils and even newer to trying my hand at prep work. I have zero tools and I’ve mostly dabbled with a few air scribes doing volunteer work cleaning dino bones at southwestern Adventist university, who has a massive collection. But my friend let me practice with his air abrasive tool, which I had not used before. I was pretty happy to get these three hemiaster whitei echinoids prepped after finding them in Fort Worth. He advised me to hold the tool at least an inch away and do slow horizontal back and forth motions to blast away the tiny particles of matrix (and a few larger chunks) I had to free up. I managed to not chip any of them, thankfully! I will be trying my hand at some larger macrasters next. One of them still needs just a little work near the bottom.
  8. Finished my first crab prep last week! To any other crab preparators, I was wondering what you use to cover up dings in the carapace? Is there some sort of paint or putty I could use?
  9. I_gotta_rock

    Dumb question of the day

    I've been prepping my fossils manually for years. Glue is my friend and my worst enemy. For some of my delicate micros, one drop is more than enough to encase the tiny object AND glue it to whatever surface on which it rests. I've succeeded in gluing my fossils to silicone mats, pin points, and my fingers through plastic gloves after the glue ate through the gloves. Lately I've settled on wax paper and lots of rolling the piece around to keep it from pooling when the glue invariably rolls off the surface of less porous shells. It still sticks to the wax , but at least the wax peels off the paper and comes off with a bit of acetone and a delicate touch. There has to be a better way to do this with less permeable surfaces. What do you do to keep from gluing your pieces to the table?
  10. As the title says show your hand prepped fossils.
  11. Newbie_1971

    air abrasion cabinets/set ups

    Can anyone share their air abrasion set ups and give pros and cons? Are homemade cabinets worth the money saved? I saw a reasonably priced unit that Zoic makes, and plans for an exhaust rig posted by a member. Seriously thinking about getting a unit, but trying to figure up an estimated cost. Any help would be much appreciated!
  12. The concretions I've collected recently are like a jigsaw puzzle. When struck many pieces come apart, mostly along the lines of the fossils. So would it be better to try the freeze thaw method for safer opening of the concretions? The one in particular has a possible large Ammonite in it but is trapped by matrix and shells. Hitting it is out of the question and only a stronger air scribe would be considered, which I don't possess, ATM. Ideas are welcome. Steve
  13. Recently, a box of rocks arrived in the mail from Hull, England. The rocks are specifically Ammonites in matrix. The species all seem to be Dactylioceras based on what is exposed but that ID could also change once they are prepped. I’ve just barely started fossil prepping with an electric engraver and in previous years of casual collecting the rock hammer was the only tool used. CRACK! Oh, look at that! A fossil trilobite! Prepping done. Yeah, that was it. The Dremel 290 engraver is a “gateway” tool and only with proper tungsten carbide tips replacing the original stylus does the engraver become a lot more capable at removing matrix. Off to a good start, IMO, on the first Ammonite and I’ve already discovered some of what I’ve seen in videos ...i.e. - sticky matrix, pyritic matrix, hard veins of calcite and other fun stuff. The Dremel has its place but I can see the need for an air pen/scribe already. Like I said, it’s a “gateway” tool. Surprisingly, a number of Brits in the preparation discipline/hobby have also tried out the engravers and most say it works, just slower than air tools. So when the Zoic crew get back from their vacay I’ll be placing an order with them. I did buy the 3 pack styli kit from them and like what they offer. There’s an air compressor in the garage ready and waiting. Here’s the contents of my ‘box of rocks’ and a second is en route from across the pond already. This one looked like the low hanging fruit so I’m starting with it. The Dremel with the Zoic stylus chewed right into it with chips flying. The dome reduced nicely until about halfway and I’ve run into pyritic hard stuff. Slow going. So I grabbed another tool and cut some shallow grooves to allow the stylus some chipping purchase. It really helped. Once again the chips are flying and the ribbed whorls are appearing. I’m keeping the sessions under an hour each to avoid overheating the engraver. Thus far it’s not even getting very warm. Fossil prepping technique is new to me and plowing through harder shale is not a bull in a china shop job. More like finesse work. Find the right angle, the right contact point and touch the matrix. At times it seems that the only pressure of the tool is next to nothing. Make contact, pull back to the lightest touch and Pop! Off goes the chip. Fingers crossed! So far I've only done some rough matrix removal. The higher magnification, dental tools and needle work plus air abrasion is to come. Any tips, critique, advice, comments, whatever are welcome. Steve
  14. Hello, I am looking to talk to Ben Cooper to ask some fossil prep-related questions. Can anyone give me his contact info? Thanks.
  15. Prepping a fossil in the GRF layered matrix is one thing. Carefully and slowly. Prepping a limestone embedded fossil...jack hammer...okay mini jack hammer = air scribe or engraver. Prepping a concretion...depends on the matrix and condition I guess. So I'm now facing a different approach to a concretion which could best be described using Mars Candy, Hershey's Chocolate or Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs wording. Hard on the outside coating with a munchy, crumbly inside, filled with surprises. What I did on site while collecting was to first discern what concretions were the "right " ones. Looking back, they ALL were. I just happened to have picked the type that falls into a thousand piece puzzle when you crack it open. Whereas later in the excursion I began to notice that the harder solid concretions also had fossils inside them, perhaps only a few of a single larger specimen like the English Coast nodules. " Whack, Crack...instantly prepped Ammonite!" The info I researched suggested to look for the rusty brown concretions. Kind of suggestive, IMO. One person's rusty brown isn't the same to another. So finding a chocolate brown concretion first and having every species of mollusk pour out of it suggested to me to find more chocolate. So the question: How do I prep these correctly? Several options obviously - Whack it. Gently tap it. Manually pry it apart. Air scribe usage. Or the freeze thaw method. The last one, F&T, seems like a quick way to completely disassemble the entire puzzle in one thaw cycle. None seem to be the best method in my opinion as each concretion is a bit different. However most have similar traits. Hard rind on the outside up to an inch in thickness. Or a slightly less hard rind with more obvious cracks. Did I mention cracks? More cracks than the San Andreas fault line. I'll be buying bulk cyanoacrylate before the weeks out. My first prep attempt last night did get CA'd wherever I found a crack. Parts on the backside would wiggle loose while scraping, picking, etc. on the front side. Anyone with experience prepping crumbly concretions, please advise. I'm going the cautious route but still think some nice ammonites will crumble. Some seem hardened with mineralization and others look like dark brown sugar crystals pressed into an ammonite mold. Crumbles like that, too. Are they then Steinkerns? This one from last night's prep work. And a new home on a book case shelf.
  16. I soaked this Otodus in hydrogen peroxide (3%) now when it dries a white color over takes the natural color. I’ve tried rinsing and soaking it in fresh water but no help. Did I permanently mess up this tooth? Is there anything I can do? Before and after photo
  17. alex.fossils

    Air Abrasive powder

    Just Curious what powder everyone uses for air abrasive work on fossil ammonites, I heard aluminium oxide is pretty bad for your health and is highly flammable and can explode or some thing, just curious if there's a safer powder to use than that.
  18. RJB

    Fossil prep video

    I've make quit a few video's in the last year or so. This one is about all the tools and things I use to prep fossils along with examples and lots of info. Its a bit long at 44 minutes but even that was not near enough time to get every thing in. It was also one of my most fun video's to make. I was either sitting at my prep bench taking video clips or sittin at my computer editng for 2 days! That was the longest amount of time I've spent on making a video but probably the most fun I've had doing it. If you enjoy this half as much as I did making it, then my job is done here. Enjoy https://youtu.be/GUESK2qOjqE
  19. Desrosiers1718

    Tips for dremel engravers

    I have a dremel engraver similar to the dremel 290 , I was wondering were can I purchase some fossil prep tips chisel , nibs here in the US. I’ve heard of Zioc Paleo but they are in the UK. Thanks
  20. I started picking away stone to reveal this fish from Green River split fish plate, turned out alright
  21. KompsFossilsNMinerals

    Komp’s Fossil Preps

    Hi all, my good friend @Nautiloidand I have been doing some collecting at a site in the Trenton Group recently and we have been finding what we believe to be Gravicalymene magnotuberculata. The matrix is soft and quite easy to prep, which was a nice surprise. This one was found by my father @Penguin Fiasco Here it was before preparation Bonus headless Triarthrus Beckie appears! All done, now time to clean off the abrasive powder! Here it is after preparation, I am pretty happy with the result. Please excuse the Dolomite on my fingers, I took the plate outside to photograph as soon as I finished prep. Closeup of the Triarthrus beckii body For my first time prepping this material I don’t think I did too bad! There are of course some spots that could use more preps but I really worry about going too far and accidentally burning the shell, so I figure I’ll quit while I’m ahead on this piece.
  22. Mostly sandstone from clallam formation WA. The fossils are flaky and the sand stone has many cracks threatening to break into pieces. I know it’s not the prettiest, but I was hoping to stabilize the matrix a bit as well as some of the more preserved shells to expose and highlight them a bit
  23. I recently completed my first fossil prep. Woohoo! As a novice, I did a lot of reading and research; trying to piece together exactly what I was supposed to do. How exactly I was supposed to "prep" the fossil and what that process entailed. While I found a wealth of information here on TFF, and other avenues, that information took a while for me to uncover and assemble into something useful. Not that the information itself wasn't useful, but uncovering a bit of info would often cause even more questions to arise. Consequently, it sometimes felt like taking 1 step forward but 3 steps back at the same time. So here is a novice guide, written by a novice, for other novices. It is intended for someone trying to figure out how to get started in Manual Fossil Preparation. The following information is what I feel is the basics of getting started in prep work based on my observations, research, and very limited experience. A quick guide to help get someone started who has been wondering what to do, but hasn't quite figured out where to start yet. Hopefully this will open up the wonderful world of fossil preparation for a few more people. What is Fossil Preparation? Fossil Preparation is the name given to the process of cleaning and repairing fossils. Making them more presentable for display, and revealing more diagnostic detail for study and research. Preparation at it's most basic form, is cleaning. Simply using a brush with water could be considered preparation. However, when most of us discuss fossil prep, it typically involves removing matrix. There are basically 3 ways to remove matrix from fossils. Using hand tools is generally referred to as manual preparation. Using power tools that require an air compressor, or electricity, is referred to as mechanical preparation. The third option is chemical preparation. Which, as the name implies, is using chemicals to prepare a fossil. Typically by dissolving matrix. Most people use one, two, or a combination of all three methods. I chose to focus on Manual Preparation. In my opinion, it is the cheapest, easiest, and the most forgiving form to start with. This is where most people tend to begin their prep journey. The process is pretty much the same with mechanical means. The more aggressive tools just make it go much faster. Which can lead to quicker results, but also quicker damage if done improperly. I figured it was better to cut my teeth on the cheaper, slower option, then upgrade tools if I liked it. I typically see “starter kit” recommendations for mechanical prep in the $800-$1000 USD range. You may get by with spending a little less, but it will still cost hundreds of dollars to get going. I spent less than $50 USD on my manual prep “starter kit” and you can get by with spending much less. Chemical prep can work well, and can be fairly cheap. A gallon of vinegar doesn't cost much... but it can VERY easily damage the fossil if you are not careful and don't know what you are doing. Proper precautions will need to be taken as well. Most chemicals used in fossil prep pose some sort of health hazard. Also, not all chemicals will work in all situations. What tools do you need to get started in Manual Prep? Anything that is sharp and can dig into the matrix that you want to remove. Seriously... Anything! There are people on TFF who started prepping with a wood nail, drywall screw, a push pin, and even a steak knife! That being said, there are definitely tools that will make life easier. Listed below are ones that I found the most helpful and personally used. Pin Vise* Magnification Lamp Dental picks Razor Knife** Brushs Sewing Needles Scribes (Sometimes referred to as Scribers) Scratch Awls Water *A word on Pin Vises... These are handy little gadgets, who's name is somewhat of a misnomer. While they are very useful for holding pins/needles and the like, they are typically sold as small hand drills, and can come with an assortment of micro drill bits. You will not need these drill bits for fossil prep, and if you can find a pin vise without the bits, it will usually cost less. They are sold by many hobby stores, or can be found online very easily. Simply put, they are handles with collets or chucks, used to hold very small things.You don't need a pin vise, but if you do purchase one, I would suggest a range of 0-.125 (1/8) inches or 0mm-3mm. This way you can hold the smallest of needles, and things up to the size of a standard rotary tool bit. Which is 1/8 inch or roughly 3mm. What you put in your pin vise will vary depending on what you are prepping, but I found that a scrib(er) or engraving tip for removing bulkier matrix, and a larger sewing needle worked rather well. They come in double ended forms, or you can usually find them cheap enough to buy more than one for quick switching between tips if you desire. **A word on Razor Knives... These are also known as hobby knives and are commonly referred to by a brand name that is rather “exact”. I had read people recommending to use these and how great they were to have around. I thought “Why use a razor blade on rock?” I didn't fully realize their use in fossil prep until I actually broke down and tried it. The tip of the knife can be used similar to a dental pick or needle and can slide between the layers of rock to pick it away or split it. I found that it could also be used to sculpt the matrix around the fossil. Sure it will dull quickly, but replacement blades are cheap, and it actually cut and planed the soft shale I was working with pretty well. I am sure there are more uses that I need to discover. Very handy and cheaply purchased. So... How do you actually prep? Well... You remove matrix without damaging the fossil. Things can happen, but this is the ultimate goal. First you use a larger tool to remove the bulk of the matrix. Depending on the size of excess matrix, you may be using a hammer and chisel for this, or you may use something like a scratch awl. My first prep was on a brachiopod valve so the scratch awl method worked well for me. I used the awl to pick and scratch at the matrix. Removing as much as I could, as quickly as I dared. Use a brush to get dust and debris out of your way. I used a small paint brush. Something that puffs air or even a little water can also work. Once you start to get closer to the fossil you will want to use something finer. When I got down fairly close, I switched over to a smaller scribe tip. When I was right next to the fossil I started using the sewing needle and dental picks. When you are right up against the fossil you will want to be very, very careful. Hopefully their will be a small gap between the matrix and the fossil. You can slide a dental pick, sewing needle, or tip of a razor blade in this gap and pick away the piece. Lifting it away from the fossil will hopefully cause it to flake off. If the matrix is more “sticky” you may need to painstakingly pick it off grain by grain. OK. Now you know how to prep, but what do you actually prep first? My advice is...Don't start with a nice, expensive, rare, or scientifically important specimen. Don't grab the one that you have just been dying to see revealed and start poking at it. There is a learning curve to prepping. The concept is simple, but in practice it is difficult. You WILL mess up. Especially on your first try. It happens. The needle slips and scratches. That piece of matrix that looked like it was going to break away cleanly took a piece of valve with it. Practice. Build up your skills and technique, then tackle that nice fossil. Your results will be much better and you will be happier with the outcome. Also, don't grab that big hash plate. Get something small that will give you a sense of completion in a few hours. A hash plate may take 10s or 100s of hours to complete. Starting with a small piece will give you a sense of completion and a much needed reward for your hard work and first try. If you collect fossils, I suggest getting something that is common to the area. Something that you might even currently pass over because they are everywhere. If you purchase your fossils, look for the same type of thing. Something that is common and not too expensive. Something that is a dime a dozen. Maybe even a fragment of a larger specimen that isn't worth much monetarily because it is broken. I would also suggest something that is relatively simple. Something with a lot of bones and pieces might throw you for a loop. Here are some Tips and Tricks that I learned just in my first few hours of prep work. Take your time! This is probably the most important tip I can give. Don't rush it. This process will take hours, not minutes. Even on something small like a brachiopod valve. I didn't time my first prep, but it took at least 4 hours. If you are tired, stop and give yourself a break. If you are frustrated with a piece that just doesn't seem to want to come off, move to another section to work on, and come back to it later. Rushing and frustrations cause mistakes. Magnification is very helpful. I would even say necessary. I used a magnification lamp. The magnification and light combo worked great for letting me see what I was doing. Especially when working close to the fossil. I have seen others who use those magnifying visors, or even a microscope. Keep your tools sharp. It sounds crazy I know. You are pushing these things into rock, and they will dull quickly, but they do work better when sharp. There is a noticeable use of less force when using a sharp tool. To borrow a philosophy from knife use... A sharp tool is a safe tool. Good lighting is a must. This goes hand in hand with magnification. If you can't see what you are doing, you can't prep. Wear proper safety equipment. Dust and flying debris is a real hazard. Even when using a tiny sewing needle. I would wear a dust mask and eye protection at the least. Gloves for protecting the hands from the errant dental pick/needle tip may come in handy as well. Know the morphology and/or anatomy of what you are trying to prep. You need to know what you are trying to dig out of the rock and what it looks like to avoid damaging the fossil or digging into the wrong place. The pieces and parts may not be where they are supposed to be, because of the nature of the fossilization process, but you need to have a good idea of what you are looking for. I wet the fossil from time to time. This isn't always an option depending on the fossil and matrix, but in my situation it helped wash away dust, bring out detail so I could better see what I was doing, and softened the matrix slightly, making it easier to prep. Stone is like wood, it has grain. Look for it and use it to your advantage. Picking and poking with the grain will typically yield better results that digging across or against it. Some things are not worth prepping. There I said it. Sometimes things will take way to long to prep, or are too delicate. You need to realize, and be ok with the fact, that some fossils, or part of a fossil, is better left alone. I'm sure I'll think of something else after posting... I hope this quick little guide will encourage other novices to try fossil prep. It is an enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the fossil obsession. Seeing something revealed for the first time in millions (sometimes hundreds of millions) of years has a distinctly wonderful feeling. Thanks to all those who helped get me going with their comments and suggestions in various threads. A special thanks to those that I PM'ed and asked questions of. You know who you are. Your knowledge and expertise were invaluable and greatly appreciated! Comments, corrections, and constructive criticisms are always welcome! Best of luck! Here is a link to my first prep that I referenced...
  24. So last year I got around to consolidating the fossils in my collection with paraloid B-72. I used a 4% concentration by volume. Unfortunately when doing this, I missed what I've since seen some call a crucial step, and that is to ensure that each fossil is sufficiently dry before consolidating. My question is, how massive of a mistake is this, and how one would go about correcting this. From my understanding, the theory is that the plastic traps the water inside the fossil which causes it to rot from the inside out. How long does this process take to occur? I havent had any fossils breaking apart in the meantime. I would think that since acetone is miscible in water, any water that is inside the fossil would have mixed with the acetone during the dipping process.
  25. My great friend Harry Duran just produced his first YouTube video, prepping a Hoplophoneus skull found in the white river formation. One of the most spectacular prep vids I've ever seen. Figured you guys might find it as invigorating as I did
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