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Need advice on fossil prep


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I am hoping to get some advice on how to handle preservation prep on a recently found section of mammoth tooth.  I have soaked the tooth, removed debris/algae with vinegar, rinsed thoroughly and have the tooth soaking in the toilet tank.  I plan on following Harry Pristis' advise on consolidation found in previous posts. I am leaving on a 2 week trip and will not have time to dry the specimen and complete the consolidation before the trip.  So the question is, should I leave the tooth soaking until I return or remove the tooth from the water and allow it to dry for the 2 weeks in a controlled manner (In a ventilated aquarium resting on sand)?

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Harry Pristis

Hmmm.  If it were mine, I think I'd let it air dry somewhere there is good air circulation.  Two weeks may be enough, but, before consolidating, I'd heat the tooth fragment under my trusty infra-red lamp to drive off any lingering moisture. 

 

I've never had to use "controlled drying" for the many, many vertebrate fossils I've handled.  I could see possible value to that approach with fossils that easily delaminate such as ivory, but I've not had to use it.

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Thank you Harry Pristis. This will be my first attempt at consolidation of a specimen and I will proceed as you suggest.

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Does it need consolidation?  Is it flaking or crumbling?

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No crumbling.  I used a soft tooth brush with vinegar and water to remove algae and dirt.  It was rinsed and soaked for the last three days in the toilet tank.  On inspection today there were some small traces of algae left and some minor flaking occurred as I brushed that off.  Otherwise it appears stable.

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Harry Pristis
4 hours ago, caldigger said:

Does it need consolidation?  Is it flaking or crumbling?

 

Because it is impossible to assess the stresses of long-term drying, almost all vertebrate fossils should be consolidated (but only if you want confidence that the fossil will survive long-term, of course).  The biggest exception to this guidance is shark teeth.  My own experience is that mammoth teeth are second only to horse teeth in vulnerability to these drying stresses.

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Just asking because the Mammoth tooth I recieved from the Peace River is very solid like a rock, no chance of coming disassembled unless dropped or smashed with something. 

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Thank you both for your input.  I am so happy to have found this tooth I don't want to risk having it suffer damage from any unexpected stress factors.  I plan to allow it to dry while I am out of state for the next two weeks and then begin the consolidation process.  Thanks again for your help!

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Harry Prisitis - thank you for also mentioning the horse teeth.  I have at least three very nice specimens that I will also put through the consolidation process based on your reference to them being a concern over the long term.

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