Reply To: Trilobite Prep

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Patrick Hsieh

There are actually quite a few options in terms of air scribes and they vary in power (matrix removal rate). The Chicago Pneumatic (CP) 9361 is quite powerful and may be more than a typical home hobbyist might want. Below that in terms of power but with finer detail is the Aro air scribe. It is also available as a specially modified version for fossil prep work under the Paleo Aro label. Generally, most hobbyists will want to use a CP 9361 to remove excess matrix, then the Aro to do finer detail work. An air eraser using abrasives can then be used as a finishing step to reveal fine surface details. I get by with just a Paleo Aro and a dental sandblaster cabinet. The same manufacturer that makes the Paleo Aro makes even more powerful tools called the Mighty Jack and Super Jack. For finer detail than the Aro and for microscope work, they make the Micro Jack in 6 sizes, with 1 being the finest. Generally, these are reserved for professional labs due to the expense and specialized applications.

Before embarking on any physical prep work, I would highly recommend having a consolidant such as Acryloid/Paraloid B72 in a 5% solution handy to stabilize the fossil before and as you go. Otherwise, its likely you’ll start blowing away chunks of the fossil.