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1 st post general questions
02-23-2008, 10:10 AM,
1 st post general questions
Hi Jonathan, sorry,I only just looked at the forum for the first time for a few days.
High density plastic foam is fine but do not use foam rubber as it has a tendency to liquify and make a heck of a mess! I use Blu-tack to hold small and smooth shells onto a plain black surface in drawers, rough or spiny shells go in a box with some cotton-wool to hold them steady.
As to cleaning the shells, I use ordinary soap and water (makes them smell nice too!) Sometimes you get bought some perfumed soaps for Christmas etc. that are not really to your taste, my wife and daughters often get them. Use them for your shells! I use a toothbrush for the smaller shells and a nail brush for larger ones. I use a cotton bud to get into awkward places such as apertures or between spines of Murex or Spondylus and a fine paintbrush for tiny shells.
After they have been washed I leave them to dry thoroughly, a day or two in a warm place. All this washing does remove some of the natural oils from the shells , so the next job is a light coating of mineral or, preferably, baby oil. Leave this to soak in for a few hours then buff up with a soft cloth to remove any excess oil. With Murex etc. use a paintbrush to get between the spines and a paper towel to do likewise to remove the oil. You can even oil 'chalky' shells such as those found on the beach but it takes longer to soak in and sometimes needs two or three coats. Do not overdo it with the oil though as it can get sticky and horrible  if left on thick. Once the shells are all cleaned and oiled be sure to keep them in the dark as strong light will fade the colours, even artificial light will do it after a length of time
As a last note, if the shells got very hot it may have faded some of the colours. I know this as I work in a museum that had a fire several years ago and a lot of the burnt shells were very faded.
Hope this is of some use,
P.S. Be patient with this forum as some folks only check it once a week or so.

Messages In This Thread
1 st post general questions - by jonathan h - 02-16-2008, 06:43 PM
1 st post general questions - by jonathan h - 02-22-2008, 10:50 AM
1 st post general questions - by dave r - 02-23-2008, 10:10 AM

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