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Hi

I am very new to fossil collecting and have found a few plant fossils - ferns and lepidodendron roots mainly. The ferns are made of black stuff which flakes off the surrounding rock very easily, should I try to preserve it with clear nail varnish?

Found at East weymms. I don't know how to post a pic I'm afraid.
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nomadiclifeguide
The correct stuff to use is paraloid B72. It looks like little beads when you buy it. Disolve it in acetone and then paint it with that.

Otherwise, water down some PVA glue use that.
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prep01
Hello Alison, please don't use nail varnish, you don't actually NEED to apply anything to your plant fossils, so long as you keep them in a dust free container as they are either moulds  made of 
rock or, as in your case black Carbon. If you do feel the need to 'protect them'  then use Paraloid B72 is the best, dissolved in Acetone (pure, NOT nailvarnish remover) at no more than 5% (I buy acetone from my local pharmasist in 50ml bottles and add 2.5 g to the bottle and allow to dissolve, over several hours mix several times). Why Paraloid? Well, a) it is reversable by washing it off with acetone and b) at that concentration or less it does not leave a shiny surface. Apply with a very soft brush by dabbing it on - it will spread by itself!
Colin Huller
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Thank you both so much for your advice! I'll leave the fossils as they are as they look fine.
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