Since my last post I have spent a lot of time away from my workshop to fossil hunt and was also on the BBC4 tv program Beach Live for a short segment! I am continuing to have issues with my abrasive blaster so work has been slow but I thought it worth while to post my progress. I am also setting up for my first fossil show at Kidlington near Oxford on the 29th of July. It's been a bit of a rush as I was offered a table a week before the show date - so a lot of my time has been spent organising lots of non fossil related things like banners and business cards etc which is not as interesting as fossils!
So here is what I am currently working on - mostly collected on my recent fossil hunting trip.
1. Androgynoceras sp. Charmouth
This was a slightly tricky prep, when I found the fossil it was incredibly worn on one side, I made the choice to entirely remove the ammonite from it's matrix - filling the reverse to strengthen the crushed part.
The ammonite it's self does not have great preservation but it is quite special to see a green ammonite without it's matrix. I have collected a few nodules like this so look forward to preparing them in a similar way.
2. Liparoceras sp. Charmouth
This was a nice surprise from my recent trip, usually these nodule free ammonites are crushed and often only the body chambers are preserved. When I saw it sticking out of the landslide I thought it would be the same with it - always worth taking a chance on these fossils. I was amazed when it came out and was there entirely. I thought it would be very quick to prep as many of the other matrix free ones I have worked on - this one is not. The centre is some of the hardest rock I have encountered from this location! I have put it to the side for now but will get it done soon. The ammonite has some unfortunate crushing but it has got some pretty incredible sutures. This ammonite was also broadcast on BBC4 , held by the presenter while she and Steve Etches were talking about dimorphism in ammonites (so it's a little famous!)
3. Oistoceras Sp. Golden Cap.
Another surprise from my recent trip was this little Oistoceras ammonite with small incomplete Trago. I am still trying to decide whether I should cut away the excess matrix but in all it's a nice little piece!
4. Beaniceras, Charmouth.
Yet another recent find - after my preparation on the belemnite stone pieces for customers in my recent posts I decided to focus more on the belemnite stone on my recent beach trip. These are fast becoming some of my favourite ammonites to prep as the calcite is lovely!
5. Androgynoceras sp. Charmouth.
This was the best find I made on my trip, I knew there would be one waiting for me eventually and I was very happy to find this! It is often difficult to read green nodules but I knew from the shape that it would probably contain a special ammonite. Although Androgynoceras are fairly common, this one is on the large side and is very nicely placed within it's nodule. Unfortunately I got this far and then my abrasive blaster gave up entirely - it will be the first thing I finish when I am up and running again!
6. The Apoderoceras that was featured on TV
I was on a small segment in the program Beach live on BBC4 - this was the ammonite which featured in it. I did not get to discuss much in such a short part (which was quite lucky as even that short time was difficult!) so here is some further information.
I found this ammonite in the winter of 2016/2017. At the time I had no prep workshop and was working outside (even in freezing temperatures - I was very determined to learn how to prep!) I started prep on it in March and got a bit lost when the shell of the ammonite disappeared so put it to one side. On completion of my workshop I soon got back to working on it in a much more controlled environment and finished it in June 2017. It took over 35 hours of prep to get it to the stage it's at now - out of all the apoderoceras I have prepared it's not got the biggest spines but it is certainly the largest! It's 15" across and very heavy, I think if I prepared it now I would possibly do a bit of a better job at it but it's still one of my favourite ammonite finds and is going to remain in my collection for a long time.
It is currently loaned to the Charmouth Heritage Centre and is in their recent finds cabinet.