I primarily photograph small fossils (Ordovician invertebrates around here), so I use a copy stand. It’s not an expensive one but it works ok. I have used a Bogen Tripod in the past – mine has an outrigger attachment that allows the camera to be positioned about 2 + 1/2 feet off center from the column. I have used multiple flashes and single flash with a reflector. I don’t do available light unless I’m in the field. My preference is having the fossils against a black background (see my fossil image posted on this site, or the crinoid section of the Dry Dredgers website at http://www.drydredgers.org); a black background makes the images really pop. The black background also eliminates distracting shadows alongside a specimen. I used to photograph a scale in the picture, but have recently changed to putting a scale bar in using Photoshop Elements.
I am interested to see your tutorial take off.