2017 AAPS Advocate Bill Murray and PaleoTools
The first recipient of the AAPS Advocate recognition during 2018 was Bill Murray of PaleoTools®. Bill began like most of us, with an interest in fossil collecting and preparation, early on he was bitten by the paleo bug. Fortunately for Bill, he and his wife Jane are residents of Utah, the state with more dinosaur species discoveries then all the other states combined. They enjoyed both the search and discovery of these ancient treasures. Bill discovered a Hadrosaurid dinosaur during 1995 and assisted with the collection and preparation of the specimen (collected by the University of Utah). It was during the preparation of these fossils that he realized the short-comings of the tools available to preparators.
It was apparent to Bill, that the air scribes on the market were not fossil friendly, they were developed to be used for engraving, not removing matrix from delicate fossils. He modified the Chicago Pneumatics' weak tips by manufacturing carbide replacements that removed matrix more efficiently, and lasted longer than the factory originals. As he continued to work on fossils, and word of his new modified carbide tips spread, demand increased, and Murray Engineering was born. By 1998, both bushings and styluses up to 4 inches long were available for the Chicago Pneumatic.
All the work at this point, was done out of the garage attached to their family home. Early the following year, Bill introduced stylus setups for both the ARO and Ingersoll Rand (EP50). Testing of the new products was done by both academic and commercial fossil preparators, and Bill used their feedback to modify and improve his products. Murray Engineering became PaleoTools® and the company has been growing its product line ever since.
While both the Chicago Pneumatics and AROs were becoming familiar to fossil preparators across the country and around the world, many were not happy with the way the tools handled. Bill designed a new smaller air scribe, with even finer styluses, that were easier to control for delicate preparation. The Micro-Jack® was introduced. These became Micro-Jacks® 1-6 which are some of the smallest, and most accurate air-tools available. They are designed for exquisite fossil peroration. As the number increase, so does the volume of air driving the stylus. The Micro-Jack® 1 & 2 are designed for work under a microscope. Micro-Jack 1 has a stylus that is .o46" in diameter, being 1/3 smaller in diameter than the standard Micro-Jack®, which means you can get into tighter places with this tool.
By 2000, Bill and Jane were attending commercial fossil shows and the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists meetings, letting show attendees view and test PaleoTools' products. Not only did the staff offer instruction, but they intently listened to feedback from scientists and preparators, and adjusted their product line to include new items as demand grew.
Since 2005, PaleoTools® has been the distributer for Crystal Mark, Inc., and carries the Swam-Blaster Micro Abrasive Blasters. As with all their tools and parts, staff will demonstrate the air abrasive unit for you at their booth. PaleoTools® has expanded their line to include replacement parts not only for the tools they manufacture, but they offer full service repair for most of the air scribes available to fossil perpetrators today.
While in Tucson, please stop by the PaleoTools® Both in the Mineral Fossil Market Place at 1333 North Oracle Road (intersection of Oracle and Drachman), they are open daily 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., See the map on page 16. PaleoTools' staff will be happy to demonstrate their tools and let you test them out for yourself. They will have all their tools and parts available if you need to purchase during the show. Take a catalog home with you, and visit their website at WWW.PaleoTools.com Ordering can be done through their toll free phone number (US only) 1-800-493-8130 or Internationally call 1+435-734-0148.