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11/13/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 22)

This is the day!  The day it finally happens!  We’re flipping the mammoth!!!

Flipping The Mammoth Photo

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I worked on the unknown and had no idea what I would find.  I knew that there was the plastic barrier that existed on (what is now) the bottom.  But what the tusk looked like remained a mystery.  I was able to observe the surface through the plastic, to an extent.  I quickly noticed an area that would need swift attention…

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I prepare you for a partial unveiling since it’s not pretty…


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Okay, okay….THIS is where I’m starting.  I don’t want to expose much of this to air without treating  So, I use acrysol at 10% and this percentage seems to work.  I will be back in a week’s time, where I hope to assess my plan of attack.  Stay tuned!

Tools used: 10% acrysol, sandbags, the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water, synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, 5cm arrow for size reference, and aspirator.

Time spent in the lab was about 3 hours.

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9/29/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 19)

Still playing catch-up in my posts, but we’re almost there!

I’m flattered as I walk into the lab & I see this!!!  That’s my stuff!  That’s my work!  That’s my…….wow.  I’m a little beside myself, it’s so awesome.

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I marveled at this for a while, but I had to get back to the tusk!!  The other fractured monstrosity under glass on the right is the mammoth rib that I worked on for a couple years.  That was a nightmare, but it gave me learning tools to get to where I am today on the tusk.

Since I am still cutting plaster back, I am once again using the acrysol/water solution as my water-based preservative since I can clean & preserve at the same time…with others in the room as well.  Since acrysol is a water-based archival element, it doesn’t have the same toxic chemicals that the Paraloid mix does.

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I’ll get back to the Paraloid, I swear!  Just not quite yet.

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I have started to seal the cracks and open spaces where there’s missing pieces.  It’s painful for me to see, but it’s something that kinda comes with the territory of working on something about 20-thousand years old!  Let’s see how you look!  😉

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Tools used: glass pipettes, acetone, Paraloid B-72, mason jars, cheesecloth, respirator, gloves, goggles, sandbags, 5cm arrow for size reference, natural brushes, plastic bags.  Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water. Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol of varying percentages.  Hmmm…I suppose the heavy duty shears I use to cut back the plaster are tools too.  :p

7 hours in lab

 
 

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7/21/2014 The Columbia Mammoth (Day 18)

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This may not look like a lot of work to you, but I had blisters after cutting the plaster back.  Took me a long time.  PHEW!  And in case you think this looks a little different than last time, you’d be right.  I turned this around so that I can work on it better.

Cutting the plaster back means I had to clean & treat the surface.  I still use 50/50 alcohol/water to clean the tusk in the newly exposed sections.  Since I’m not comfortable in using the Paraloid completely yet, I still use acrysol to do the initial preserving.  I’ll come back & put the Paraloid on next time.

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Taking a look at this from a different perspective also allows me to see what’s been going on with this tusk that I may not have noticed from the other side.  As I’ve cut back plaster, I see that there are cracks I didn’t know about.  And there are small surface pieces missing as well.  I’ll soon be at a place where I’m flipping this over.  And when I get to that point, I can only imagine what’s been going on the opposite side of this tusk after all these years.

Tools used: glass pipettes, acetone, Paraloid B-72, mason jars, cheesecloth, respirator, gloves, goggles, sandbags, 5cm arrow for size reference, natural brushes, plastic bags.  Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water. Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol of varying percentages.

8 hours in lab

 
 

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4/10/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 14)

Yup, playing catch-up for a bit requires constant posts.  But then again, I want all of you to see where we’re going with this project.  How else can I push my mammoth-quest on you!?

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Okay, so let’s analyze the Paraloid B-72 (from now will just be  “Paraloid”…Sure I could have named it “Bob”, but what if some guy named Bob would be reading this?….I think that would make Bob uncomfortable.  So let’s leave Bob alone & stop pestering him!)

All is melted just as my research said would happen.  And yes, the fumes DO burn my eyes when I open the mason jars without my goggles on…LAST TIME I do that!  The fumes are so toxic that I can’t take my respirator or goggles off till after I’ve closed the containers and have left the room.

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I learned to NOT use the Paraloid (left) shortly after the Acrysol (right).  Nothing lab-blowing-up-able, but the two did not mix well…and I wasn’t even trying to mix it.  I was honestly just impatient in wanting to use the Paraloid, but in the same day I was also using the acrysol on the last exposed part of the mammoth tusk.

Lesson learned: DON’T RUSH THINGS!  (thanks mom)

Rushing things made unexpected things happen.  I didn’t know what else to do to “make it better” after two pieces of science mixed, so I thought it best to leave & examine what kind of wonders or damages I created the next day.  Stay tuned!

Tools used: glass pipettes, acetone, Paraloid B-72, mason jars, cheesecloth, respirator, gloves, goggles, sandbags, 5cm arrow for size reference. Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water (on the last part that I was still cleaning & acrysol-ing). Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol of varying percentages.

All told, I was in the lab for about 6 hours

 
 

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I’m a Featured Speaker, April 12th at Santa Clara University’s Research Conference!!!!

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41st Annual Western Departments of Sociology and Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference

Presenting my curation work on the mammoth tusk I’ve been working on since last year!!!  Very excited about this!!  Sure, you could replace the word, “excited” & insert the word, “nervous”….Either way, I’m feeling awesome!

 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:  (psssst….I’m in Session IX)

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3/17/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 11)

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This tusk has been through a lot.  I’m happy with where we are considering where we were not too long ago.  Did you see the drama?  It was scary!  I think we’re in a good place now though, especially with new techniques in play.

Used 5cm arrow for size reference. Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water. Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol of varying percentages.

Sections & their percentage of Acrysol used:

Section 1 – 4: 5% Acrysol

Section 5 & 6 : 10% Acrysol

Section 7: 5% Acrysol

NEW Section 8 has been cleaned!: 10% Acrysol

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Thought I’d give you another perspective on what the scale of CRAZY is that I’m working with.  I can’t see the whole thing all the time, so often I pray that what I’m doing on one side isn’t going to horribly effect the other.

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Remember these in the box in the previous post?…Sure, I wouldn’t be holding these with my bare hands if it was something that I was truly trying to preserve.  No worries!  I wear gloves all the time.  But I had to touch these piece of ivory that we tested this new archival bonding agent on.  So far, so good.

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Ever wonder what’s in my magic bag when I’m in the lab?…….

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Ta Da!!!

 

(7 hours in lab)

 
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Posted by on 03/21/2014 in Mammoth, Tusk

 

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2/12/2014 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 9)

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So far, it’s not looking as scary as what was happening a couple posts ago.  The Sectioning technique looks to be holding.  However, I’m not blind to the cracks & even the MEGA crack in this.  I’ll need to chat with people smarter than me.  I know there’s more toxic forms of materials that can be used as an archival bond.  We’ll work on that next time.  In the meantime, need to blow up the building today!

Used 5cm arrow for size reference. Continued using the cleaning solution of 50% alcohol & 50% distilled water. Tools used to clean the ivory tusk are synthetic brushes, metal tools, wooden tools, aspirator and acrysol at varying percentages depending on which Section I’m in.

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I wanted to zoom in on the cracks that I”M NOT HELPING ALONG, thank you…..Not like that’s a sore topic for me or anything.  But I digress!!!

I’ve started to gingerly clean & treat Section 4 here.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  This part is treated at 20% Acrysol.

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The previous sections were treated at a %10 Acrysol solution.  There are the first 2 sections that are starting to reject such a high content.

(6 hours in lab)

 
 

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