Before and after


Jun 25, 2004
Hello guys

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (well, January at Hawsker Bottoms actually), I was wandering the beach when I spotted a Grey Shale nodule lying amongst the shingle. A likely looking nodule I thought and sure enough upon close inspection the edge of the outer whorl of an ammonite could be seen peeping out from within. However, it did not wish to escape its nodular tomb without a struggle and despite a number of taps from the old Estwing it refused to split. A few soakings in a pan of warm water alternately followed by a night in the freezer compartment presuaded most of the nodule to come away but one section stubbornly refused to budge. A slightly more vigorous tap from the hammer resulted in disaster - an ammonite sorely in need of repair!. Attempts to glue it only resulted in the two parts vibrating apart again as soon as I tried to use the airpen on them but it was too good a Dac to discard so I had to splash the cash and have it done professionally. Came out quite nicely I think!



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Perfect, one can't see any cracks or joins at all. That really is a marvellous specimen and has been brilliantly restored.

Thanks for showing us.
Great prep job on that one. Reminds me of some of the trilobites found around here, they usually split on the ventral surface so you have to be sure and keep the mold, then glue the two halves together and prep down to the dorsal side to reveal the bug.
You're getting a great collection Andy, thanks for sharing. :cool2:
Andy, nice specimen but did you mark yours before you shipped it off for prepping ? :wink2:
I prefer to source my stuff from a nice Chinese chap on Ebay "Honest Wong Wun", that way I know what I'm getting !
The Morrocan spiny trilobites :trilobit: are also good value & if you're lucky you can get ones that smell (& taste) like "Blackjacks" :razz:

I can assure you Keef its the same one!

The collection is coming along very nicely. 28 species in the bag and only another 100 or so to go and I'll have the full set - though I will need some more shelves if I hope to get anywhere near that target. I've had some experience of glueing crab nodules back together and digging down through the nod when they've split badly. The trick is to remember which half of the nodule is the top or it can all go horribly wrong!

I know I'm probably going to regret asking this but what is a blackjack and why does it taste of trilobite?


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neuropteris said:
I know I'm probably going to regret asking this but what is a blackjack and why does it taste of trilobite?

Andy, that shelf is looking goooooooood (obviously with reference [great word to type that] to what's on it). Best of luck with completing the collection which will be matched only by your haul of Rawl plugs & masonry bits !

Blackjack - liquorice chew, 4 for a penny when I was at school ! Came with Fruit Salad, same bargain price, remember ? I've got some in the fridge right now, from an online sweety site as you can't get 'em here !

Apparently, some spiny trilobites are not as they seem & one of the materials sometimes used to embellish plain or damaged specimens is liquorice. You can test them with a lighter (real ones don't melt) or lick 'em ! :razz: Though I wouldn't recommend licking anything from Morocco that hasn't been boiled !

Keef all becomes clear. For some reason I was thinking they were drugs related:rainbow:

I've been collecting seriously (as opposed to pottering along the beaches on family holidays) for about 10 years now - what you see there is about 70% self collected and the rest purchases. If you're knowledgable about the Lias and sharp eyed you'll see I released my inner nerd and arranged them in chronological order aswell! Still looking for that 6 inch Lytoceras though.
Only thing I ever got off a Blackjack was a black tongue !

you've got about 7 years on me then, I started this obsession after a long weekend to Charmouth, not having a clue where it was :roll: until I had to do my part of the deal & drive there !
Now I'm actually living on top of a Toarcian cephalopod fountain (got a pocket full of belemnites as I type) in the Vendée department of western France. The quality isn't Yorkshire or Dorsetaise but a short trip to Airvault gets you to where the shiny stuff is to be found but not made it there yet other than buy umpteen bags of finest Airvault cement.

Just back from Stockport Beer Festival (I'm sure you'd have liked it Phil :beer: )

I've seen some lovely stuff from France Keef but don't know much about the specifics of localities. Germany seems well endowed with Ceph producing sites aswell - have a look at the Steinkern German collectors website (Google Steinkern and I think its the first thing that comes up) - there's some fantastic stuff on there.

Its all Carboniferous coal measures and Namurian gritstone round my way and local fossil producing sites are few and far between - some non marine bivalve localities and the odd marine band with flattened goniatites :goniatite . Its a good 30 mile drive to the nearest fossil fountain and 120 miles to the coast.:sad: Haven't been down to Lyme Bay much - just a couple of trips and didn't find much. Burton Bradstock always seemed to have a lot of potential though. My next trip is Saturday to see the famous Faringdon Sponge Gravels but not expecting to find much ceph related stuff.

Andy, it appears that most of France floats on a bed of fossils, pick a point on the compass & you'll do right. My nearest coastal exposure is 40 miles due west from me (that's where my last posting came from). The French like to stroll about showing no interest whatsoever in fossils, familiarity breeds contempt I guess, though they have plenty of fossil/mineral shows for the keen though they've been hijacked by all the usual Moroccan & Madagascan stuff. Went to one in Thouars recently & there were only about a dozen Toarcian specimens on show, kinda defeating the object of going :sad:
Normandy is good & the "Falaises des Vaches Noires" at Auberville are really good, lots of sticky blue clay. My garden isn't bad either, couple of 10" Harpoceras amongst others, belemnites everywhere, couple of decent Nautili so far too.

When doing Lyme Regis I always did Monmouth Beach, it's hard work in flip flops carrying an icecream so is quieter (or was). Wait for tide to turn & leg it round the point & you'll be all alone.


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