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Opabinia Blues

Hello,

 

I have a large canine tooth (~14 cm with the root, ~6.5 cm with just the tooth) from the White River Formation that I collected this summer on privately held land in northeastern Colorado, and though the fossil in its natural state is fantastic as-is I’m thinking about doing a little bit of restoration on the fossil and am looking for some insights. The tooth itself is from either an entelodont or the rhino Metamynodon, with the shape of the tooth and root strongly suggesting the latter to me (feel free to speak out if you have an opinion one way or the other, though I’m not specifically asking for an ID in this thread). 

 

I found the tooth in several pieces and glued everything that I could find back together. I have most of the tooth, but only a small piece of the tip remains. Also, I have not glued the tooth back to its root, and instead simply display them together as if they were connected. I am thinking about restoring the rest of the tip by sculpting it in using paleosculp from Paleobond, using what piece of the tip there is as a guide. I am looking for any information anyone can give me on paleosculp and the process of restoring a fossil using this material. Would this be the correct product for the job? Is there anything I should know when working with the material? Is restoring the tip of this tooth even a good idea at all, or in the name of science should I leave it as I found it? I intend to leave the paleosculp unpainted for the purposes of not risking damage to the fossil and also making it obvious which pieces of the fossil are original (most of it) and which pieces are restoration (just a little section of the tip). I understand that dinosaur teeth are frequently restored in this way, but I want to make sure that I’m not committing blasphemy by doing such a restoration.

 

Also, paleosculp is advertised as being sand-able and drill-able after it dries, and so I figure if the restoration ever needs to be removed for whatever reason it could be sanded away in a labor-intensive process, but do let me know if this is not the case. I also intend to clean the fossil up a bit more (ie get rid of some of the residual dirt still on it) and potentially glue the tooth onto the root.

 

Thank you for any insights and information you may have! Picture of the fossil and of the tooth tip provided for context.

 

96A22ACD-88EC-42BE-8D60-99FC27810C3A.thumb.jpeg.5302d06a7297a0aae91ebf649d8fbff8.jpeg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice tooth. I like Apoxie Sculpt personally. It is basically the same thing as Paleo Scuplt but a bit less expensive (IIRC). It is worked exactly like modeling clay before it sets. It can be tooled and even smoothed with water. Once set, it is very hard yet still drillable and sandable. Typically, one would try to mix different colors of epoxy clay to find a close approximation to the color of the specimen. You want to get it as close as possible while it is still workable. It's tedious to work it a lot after it has set.

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Ptych's advice is good.  I use Magic sculpt.  It is about the same.  I do not sand the stuff.  I do not like the idea of sanding at the joint of the fossil and the patch and scarring the actual fossil.  I do, however, air abrade extra putty off.  I am from the school that does not match the color; I like to make it obvious what is real and what is not.  I use popsicle sticks and various shapes  of dental picks to sculpt the wanted shape and texture.  If you wet the tool before putting in the putty, the putty won't stick tot he tool.    

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5 minutes ago, jpc said:

Ptych's advice is good.  I use Magic sculpt.  It is about the same.  I do not sand the stuff.  I do not like the idea of sanding at the joint of the fossil and the patch and scarring the actual fossil.  I do, however, air abrade extra putty off.  I am from the school that does not match the color; I like to make it obvious what is real and what is not.  I use popsicle sticks and various shapes  of dental picks to sculpt the wanted shape and texture.  If you wet the tool before putting in the putty, the putty won't stick tot he tool.    

I'm in the middle on the color matching topic. I like a close match but not an exact match. :D

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I prefer Apoxy for such things. As for color matching and weathering I have a few threads on here that illustrate dry brushing and washes.

 

A good resource for learning techniques are the numerous Warhammer and Warhammer 40k sites(miniatures painting) and model kit and model railroading sites.

 

If it is your first time, practice on real rocks and some of your chosen sculpting media!

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A lot of the tools I use are the same ones I use to prep fossils, though I use everything from scotchbrite pads to orange peels and actual bones to get various textures.

image.jpg
@BellamyBlake also does really excellent restos!

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On 11/21/2020 at 8:47 PM, Opabinia Blues said:

I have a large canine tooth (~14 cm with the root, ~6.5 cm with just the tooth) from the White River Formation that I collected this summer on privately held land in northeastern Colorado, and though the fossil in its natural state is fantastic as-is I’m thinking about doing a little bit of restoration on the fossil and am looking for some insights. The tooth itself is from either an entelodont or the rhino Metamynodon, with the shape of the tooth and root strongly suggesting the latter to me (feel free to speak out if you have an opinion one way or the other, though I’m not specifically asking for an ID in this thread). 

 

I zero skills in fossil repair. I am just good enough to glue two pieces together.  :headscratch:

However,  I did find someone who possessed such skills. The original of this tusk was missing the top third of the polished tip. Amazing !!!

I wish you similar good fortune in restoration of your  Metamynodon tooth

IMG_3564txt.jpg.6b330b44b7e72d38c723500cf423bb7c.jpg

 

image.png.bfa63697d30a367447d94e1efa6f85d0.png

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