Ken Mannion
   Fossil Preparation Tools  
Since 1996

What is Fossil Preparation ?

Fossil Preparation is the term given to the task of revealing preserving and displaying fossils from the rock matrix they are enclosed in. It can also be called fossil development or even fossil cleaning, though these last couple of descriptions are heard much less frequently nowadays.

Why embark on 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.

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.

Fossil collecting, thanks to the availability of tools and the growth of the internet, has changed considerably during the last few decades. A modern collector having recovered fossils themselves and considering themselves serious, can nowadays also prepare and research them, to form an important collection.

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 effective quality fossil preparation can not be done on the cheap or without some realistic commitment on the part of the user. Fossil preparation can be extremely rewarding but can be extremely fustrating and very bad economy too if you cannot or are reluctant to attain a level of commitment predominately financial comparable to many other craft hobby or technical situations such as DIY, Antique restoration or even Serious level Fishing or other Sports.

Who uses your tools ?

We have sold equipment and preparation tools for over 20 years and to over 30 different countries. Our tools are in use in countries as diverse as Tahiti, Greenland, and the Vatican state. Our customers include many National Museums and leading Universities, many provincial Museums, Universities and Geological based associations. I would guess that every commercial fossil dealer in the UK with workshop facilities has dealt with us, and of course countless individuals, many who are private collectors who are going it alone somewhat or who are entering the field for the first time.

Despite our dealings with the leading academic institutions we would surmise that as many as 75% of our customers are amateur collectors preparing in their home workshops.

I am unsure what tools are best for us

I have over the years worked on countless thousands of different types of fossils and will have almost certainly worked on the type of fossil or in the environment you enquire about. So are well placed to give fair broad advice.

My combination of being a user producer and retailer of fossil preparation equipment means I feel that I am in an unrivaled position to give our customers advice based on very focused lengthy experience. If you are at all unsure what tools you think you might need or even whether you should embark on fossil preparation at all, please feel completely free to contact me.

One of the main characteristics we see a lot of is that potential users are unaware of just how powerful and flexible my fossil preparation tools are compared with hand tools or bulky electric powered tools.

Compressed air tools are undoubtably way out in front regarding performance and flexibilty for fossil preparation. My individual tool sections best describe each tools best working fossil 'situation."

I am unfamiliar with Pneumatics. What Compressor do I need ?

Compressed air is the power source for all of our tools. We do not sell compressors. However compressors are now freely available on both the High street and online from very focused suppliers.

Most confirm to a generic type nowadays, A pump driven by an electric motor filling a receiver with air at pressure. They are a well established and proven design,. Machine Mart have an extensive selection with many shops throughout the UK and a comprehensive web commerce site with good after sales support. Plenty of other similar suppliers exist too.

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 largest units.

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.

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......

Can I acquire your pens anywhere else

My Fossil preparation tools have evolved independently over twenty years and are produced by me, Here in my own UK based workshop. They are unavailable anywhere else. I am happy however to ship worldwide usually at no extra cost.

When are you available ?

Fossil preparation/equipment is our full time occupation/commitment. However, as with all independent traders we do have to go out occasionally. Nevertheless we stress, we are rarely far away.

Do you ship worldwide?

Yes I do. We are very experienced in overseas shipping and would surmise that we have sent Fossil preparation Tools to well over thirty different countries. In most cases shipping is free and included in the price. Though they are some exceptions when we have to make an additional charge


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Last revision/update July 2017