We have produced and supplied Fossil preparation tools and equipment for over 30 years and to over 30 different countries.. Our customers include many National Museums and leading Universities and of course countless individuals, many who are amateur collectors who are going it alone somewhat or who are entering the field for the first time.
Being an independent family run business. Ken Mannion is both the head cook and the bottle washer and if you choose to contact us it will be me that you contact.
Although producing the fossil preparation tools keeps me very busy nowadays. I still continue to prepare fossils myself. Indeed my preparation workshop is where the tools have evolved over the years. I summise that I may well have done over 20,000 fossil preparation hours on an inummerable variety of fossils using the very same tools that are offered on this site ( and not available anywhere else incidently)
Although I rarely field collect, deal in fossils or have a fossil collection of my own nowadays. I have considerable fossil collecting and fossil dealing experience. (I have probably done over 3000 fossil collecting trips), However my focused engingineering involvement in all things fossil preparation gives me a unique and privileged involvement into the whole "world" of fossils, collecting, collectors and preparators at every level from the beginner to the leading Museums and Universities. I meet and hear from more preparers, collectors, researchers, and dealers on a much broader front nowadays (and see many more fossils too) than I did when I was an active collector and dealer myself.
What Compressor do I need ?
Compressed air is the power source for all of our tools. It is impractical for us to supply all but a small selection of total setups to intrepid collectors working from home workshops. However compressors are now freely available on both the High street and online. Buying locally has obvious benefits.
We find many initially purchase or attempt to use a compressor that is too small. Tiny table top airbrushing/ painting compressors will be too small. Most of the so called silent compressors that work on a different principle may struggle too, except for the very largest units that are firmly in the industrial level domain.
Basically the Fossil Preparation Tools need at supply of ideally 8cfm (Cubic feet per minute) of air at 90 pounds per square inch. This is typically only reached by a compressor with a 2hp(horsepower) motor at 240 volts with a 25 litre or 50 litre storage tank. These usually come with a 13 amp plug meaning they can be run in a domestic environment with a domestic electricity supply. These for good reason are some of the most popular sized compressors and are a very common competitively priced size. This is also the size range of our compressor in our starter setup.
A compressor should not be run continuously but should run on a cycle or ratio of say 1x on, to 3x off, this should be considered as a minimum. This is why you need an 8cfm compressor to run a pen that uses perhaps only 2cfm.
Larger compressors, say for example a 3 hp 240 volts motor with a 150 litre tank can obviously exceed 8 cfm easily but a large compressor will draw too much electricity that a 13 amp socket and wiring can support and indeed will be dangerous if you do so. Large compressors are rarely seen in a domestic "Hobby level" fossil preparation environment ( They are very bulky too) though they are common in specifically designed professional level fossil preparation workshop environments, where the electricity supply will have been specifically designed for a larger compressor.
If you are unsure exactly what compressor you can run in your own particular situation/ environment please endeavour to obtain specific advice from a qualified local on - site electrician or compressor engineer who can familiarise himself with your actual individual circumstances, needs and parameters......
Why you should embark in to Fossil Preparation ?
Fossil Preparation is now without doubt integrated into the whole sphere of the fossil collecting world. In the past preparation was given only a peripheral regard. Nowadays the standards of presentation is extremely high and this standard is attained only with preparation.
If you are a collector, preparation allows you to expand your involvement in fossils when you are unable to get out and collect. Preparation also allows you to be involved with difficult sites where the specimens do not readily reveal themselves. As a professional collector the benefits are obvious, as they are too for the researcher.
Few sciences allow the amateur to make a real difference and actively contribute something new, Fossil collecting/Preparation is one of them, (Astronomy and Entomology are others). However top level fossil preparation cannot be achieved effectively without some realistic commitment.. Fossil preparation can be extremely rewarding but can be extremely frustrating and very bad economy too if you do not have the right equipment with ongoing backup and support.
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Last revision/update October 2018