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Superglue +'s and -'s

Message text written by INTERNET:Danvarner@aol.com
>For years now, professional museum preparators have been >begging< people
NOT to use cyanoacrylates (sorry for spelling) especially when used with
"accelerators" that can actually fracture and explode fossil bone. DO NOT
super glue! Something like butvar is much more fossil friendly. Even
if you don't know what the hell you are doing, contact someone who does: a
museum preparator or attend a prep session at SVP before you ruin a
Sound good? You bet! Do it now!<

        Try gluing, for example, a neural spine to the vertebra of a
medium-sized dinosaur or mammal with butvar or PVA and you'll see why
superglue is not as bad as you say.  Butvar and PVA are excellent
_consolidants_, but they are not _adhesives_.  (I've tried it; it simply
does _not_ work.)

        In all my years of using superglue and accelerants, I have never
seen a specimen come even close to exploding, so I must profess a bit of
disbelief with your statement.  Yes, accelerators can cause problems (such
as frosting, which makes the bond much less structurally sound), but with a
little practice, the ability to _properly_ use of accelerators can be
attained.  One can do just fine with superglues without any accelerator, as
well, if one has a bit more patience.

        In my experience, the only time when superglues must _not_ be used
is on specimens that will be thin sectioned, as any penetration of internal
structure by superglue makes the specimen harder to section and can mess up
microstructural photographs, polarized light analysis, etc.  Also, in very
crumbly, spongy bone, the application of acetone-based PVA or butvar can
cause the specimen to disintegrate before the acetate or butate can
solidify to consolidate the specimen.  Superglues with low viscosity do not
have this property, but again, must be applied carefully.

        If you are simply stating that superglues are not the "be all, end
all" of fossil prep, then I agree wholeheartedly:  other things work better
than cyanoacrylates in many situations.  However, they most certainly _do_
have their uses and, with a little practice, are a valuble part of a
preparator's tool kit.

           ____/_\,)                    ..  _   
--____-===(  _\/                         \\/ \-----_---__
           /\  '                        ^__/>/\____\--------
__________/__\_ ____________________________.//__.//_________

                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
                   1801 Mountain Rd NW
               Albuquerque  NM  87104-1375
                 Phone:  (505) 899-2809
                  Fax: ; (505) 841-2866