Preparators use a wide variety of tools and techniques to prepare specimens.
Before you even pick up a tool to begin to prepare a specimen, there are a number of tasks that need to be done.
Mechanical preparation utilizes tools that apply external physical force to sediment (also called matrix) in order to remove it from fossil bone.
While mechanical preparation uses physical forces to remove the matrix from around a specimen, in chemical preparation various compounds are used to dissolve the surrounding matrix.
Many of the tools and techniques used by today’s preparators have changed little since the origins of the field over 100 years ago.