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  • Conserving Shell, Bone etc

    Preserving Shell, Bone etc with Gomer's Solution

    For preserving/sealing bone and shell artifacts, Dr. Gomer (Thornton Pyles) has given us his recipe for Gomer's Solution. Gomer, as he is known in artifact circles, is an extremely talented and professional restorer of artifacts, pottery, he has a website for his business. He's responsible originally for the "recipe" and disseminating it amongst collectors. We were all using beeswax, Butvar or no preservation technique for many years. Wax darkens and butvar is expensive and very shiny, horrible, but what museums use.....!?, The duco/acetone is the best. Museums should use it instead of butvar because of the discoloration, no brainer!) This recipe has saved my collections, period.

    Here's what I've been sending and posting for years, most if it originally from "Gomer" to whom I always give credit and reference to : Gomerize, Gomerization, Gomer's Recipe, etc.

    "We use Duco glue and Acetone for all our sealing needs both personally and for customers in the majority of situations. I am sending our sealing recipe for dried artifacts. The mixing can be changed if one prefer's different finishes. The finish we prefer is basically obtained by mixing one tube of glue per a pint of Acetone. One gallon of Acetone plus 8 tubes of glue should give you enough solution to dip this artifact in.  You leave the artifact in the soultion untill it quits fizzing or bubbling. When you take it out it will dry very quickly and can even be held while it dries. If one has any whitening to appear from moisture still trapped inside one can lightly wipe the areas with Acetone to get rid of. This sealing will not change the looks of the artifact. So however it looks now that is how it will look when done. Only if it is dipped more than once will the outside finish change. Hope this helps. If it ends up being more than you bargained for we can do it for you.....Gomer"

    "The Duco glue is sold at Wal-Marts, etc. It is in a green and yellow colored tube and costs about $1.29 a tube. This gives pretty much exactly the same results as Butvar and Acetone that Universities use."  Butvar leaves a nasty shiney look to everything you use it on!  Use the duco acetone mix!

    Use the duco/acetone recipe on your shell and bone.  I use it on fossils and pottery sherds. It has saved many a collection from deterioration, especially old or artifact shell. It works on shell, bone, porous pottery, fossils (smaller ones, see info below) and many other items with similar porosity and in need of solidification/preservation. On new shell it will preserve color longer than without and seal the surface.

    When you use one tube per pint of acetone, put item in only when it is COMPLETELY DRY. Drying some artifacts is an art and science unto itself. More important with bone items since they are more porous. The mixture permeates, doesn't just coat the outside. The item will "fizz", when that stops just take it out and it dries instantly. Some harder items like new shell may not fizz much at all. Doesn't hurt to leave it in the fluid for 15 min. if it doesn't fizz or after it's stopped fizzing."

    "The Duco glue is in a green and yellow colored tube and costs about $1.29 a tube (old recipe and price!). This gives pretty much exactly the same results as Butvar and Acetone that Universities use." Butvar leaves a nasty shiney look to everything you use it on! Use the duco acetone mix!

    "Additional explanations about large bone items, etc.:

    In preserving very large bone items using the amount of Acetone it would take with either Duco or Butvar glue is very dangerous on ones personal health. The vapors alone from this much open Acetone will rock your socks off and who knows how many brain cells one looses (I can be an example on that, lol).

    The Duco Acetone is the best way to seal dry small to medium size objects. There it is much easier to contain harmful vapors. It is cheap and as Joshua discussed it is very easy to get desired results that suit one person versus another.

    Note: In this crazy mixed up world we live in Duco glue is no longer sold by Wal-Mart..... One can still buy it on line at the normal $1.29 a tube price but the normally the S/H charge is 8 to 10 times more costly than a single tube. Though you will pay double the price for a single tube, normally $2.79 "Ace Hardware does handle it and on display in most stores I have found. (Will have to add Lowes...)

    As bad as I hate to advertise for Elmer's Glue (NOT THE WHITE STUFF, its useless!!!) they do have two products that do work well with large bone projects. They are cheap and safer than the large volume of Acetone required for such projects. They take more practise to use in getting a good natural finish that does not look like its glued but it can be done. It is their two brands of outside glue. One is Yellow in color and the other a light tan and as most of their products can be diluted with water. The advantage of these two products compared to the AWFUL,GOOD FOR NOTHING EXCEPT A LAST RESORT ON SAVING SOMETHING "WHITE GLUE" is they resist any humidity change, which the White glue cannot do."

    "It takes very little glue compared to the amount of water to get a good mix and constant application to keep the coating even and thin but one can do a good job safely on large "DRY" bone items. It will not soak to the center of a artifact though as Acetone/Duco/Butvar will. In large items as skulls, large leg bones one has the advantage of a massive piece of bone giving its ownself strength to a point versus say, a slender fragile bone fish hook which has no mass.

    Again "WET" bone and especially precious Ivory are all together different ball games and take much more time and different techingue. I am speaking here only on "DRY" large mass bone items for the Elmer products. There are many different other chemicals one could use but most are hard to find, not cheap and just not worth the effort in using for the common man."
    Last edited by painshill; 01-28-2016, 05:08 PM.
    Professor Shellman
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