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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 (Revisited) The Columbia Mammoth (Day 18…)

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I just wanted to hit it home on how far we’ve come since I started on this.  Lots more to come, but again, I just wanted to address that the chaos look of this photo is pretty much how working on this has been: Chaotic & messy.  🙂

(that is all…..)

 
 

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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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4/8/14 The Columbia Mammoth Tusk (Day 12)

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Late posting, I know!  I need to play catch-up so that you can follow along in my adventure!

Working on the cleaning of the mammoth tusk, but also I’m working on creating an archival glue that will be strong and yet not degrade the tusk in the meantime.  Never thought I’d be creating liquid plastic!  But I digress.

Cleaned the mammoth tusk on the proximal end (that’s the far right end of the tusk in the photo).  There’s a lot of cracking going on, which is why I hadn’t cut that back. the plaster on that end very much.  But SOON!

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.

Spent 6 hours in the lab since a bunch of that was exploring this liquid plastic that will be in my next post!

*Teaser note: I did NOT blow anything up…(knock on wood)*

 
 

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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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