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Mounting System and Support for Small Teeth

Purpose

The purpose of the system is to provide a way to store small vertebrate teeth in a vial to facilitate examination without handling. It is assumed that the teeth to be mounted are able to withstand handling during mounting.

The system is an improved modification of a method that involves adhering a tooth to a steel pin which is then inserted into a cork. In this system, the specimen is protected when the cork with the specimen are placed into a glass vial. The upper side of the cork typically is used for labeling the specimen. Vials are commonly stored vertically, so that the pin and tooth are suspended upside down.

The improvements include the use of materials which are more chemically stable than regular steel, cork and most commercially available adhesives. Other modifications include the method of adhesive application and tooth support.

Author(s)

Tamsen Fuller
325 S.E. Alexander Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333
Tel (503) 752-1475

Erika Elswick
Dayton Mus. of Natural History
2600 DeWeese Parkway
Dayton OH 45414 USA
Tel: (513) 275-7431

Illustration: Tamsen Fuller

Publication: 1992

Description

The root end of the tooth is adhered to a stainless steel pin with a bead of a stable acrylic resin. The pin is supported in a glass vial with a polyethylene foam stopper (Fig. 1). The vials can be mounted into holes cut into a plank of polyethylene foam. If the polyethylene foam stoppers fit tightly, the vials can be stored upside-down so that the mounted tooth is in a upright position.a stainless steel pin with a bead of a stable acrylic resin. The pin is supported in a glass vial with a polyethylene foam stopper (Fig. 1). The vials can be mounted into holes cut into a plank of polyethylene foam. If the polyethylene foam stoppers fit tightly, the vials can be stored upside-
down so that the mounted tooth is in a upright position.

 smallteeth

Figure 1. Tooth mounted on stainless steel pin in vial.

 

Materials, Tools & Supplies

  • Copper tubing¬† to match inside diameter of the vials
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Ethyl methacrylate/methyl acrylate copolymer adhesive
  • Glass vials (or polyethylene vials or polypropylene vials or polystyrene vials, clear or polyethylene terepthalate vials)
  • Heat gun
  • Paintbrush, squirrel, small or paintbrush, red sable, small
  • Permanent marker
  • Polyethylene foam plank or polyethylene foam sheeting, crosslinked (electron irradiated) or polyolefin plank, stranded or polyethylene foam rod
  • Rotary tool with small drill bit
  • Silicone release paper
  • Stainless steel pins
  • Teflon-coated tacking iron

Construction

  1. With a tacking iron, slightly flatten a single bead of solid acrylic resin between two sheets of silicone release paper.
  2. While the resin is still warm and pliable, press the root of the tooth into the resin so that the tooth is oriented and supported in a vertical position. If necessary, increase the adhesion of the resin to the specimen by running one drop of ethyl alcohol with a small brush between the resin and the specimen.
  3. Cut off the head of a stainless steel pin with wire cutters.
  4. Heat the cut end of the pin with a soldering iron and insert it into the underside of the resin bead attached to the tooth. The axis of the pin and the tooth should be aligned.
  5. Make an auger by sharpening the edge of a 6-8in length of the copper tubing with a metal file and/or a small grinding wheel on a small rotary tool. Use abrasive paper to smooth the outside of the tubing.
  6. Make the stoppers with the auger using a twisting motion to bore through the polyethylene foam plank.
  7. Use a rod or other similar instrument to push the foam boring out of the tube. The boring will be used to hold the stainless steel pin and as the vial stopper replacing the cork of the older method.
  8. Insert the steel pin with attached specimen into one end of the polyethylene foam stopper and insert the mounted specimen into the vial.
  9. Label the outside of the foam stopper using a permanent marker
  10. Use the copper auger to cut out holes in a 1/2 – 1in thick piece of polyethylene foam plank.
  11. melt glue gun or a heat gun, attach the polyethylene foam plank with holes to a second sheet of polyethylene foam plank or other rigid support such as a fluted polypropylene sheet.
  12. Line the holes with clear polyester film or polyethylene sheeting. Cut the liner so that it extends beyond the hole and is easy to grasp. Then the vial is placed in the hole, the fit should be snug. To release the vial, the liner is pulled out first.

Comments

Of the polyethylene foams, the one with the smallest pore size makes the best stoppers. However, it is usually supplied only in 1/4in or 3/8in thicknesses. To make a longer stopper use a stranded polyethylene foam, 2in thick, rather than regular polyethylene foam planks because it is
softer and smoother. Cut the stoppers along the grain of this foam for best results.

High-quality coated steel pins used in entomological collections can be used for this application rather than stainless steel pins, because the pins do not usually touch the tooth. However, they may corrode in humid environments.

Polyethylene terepthalate, polyethylene, or polypropylene vials also could be used.

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