Dave writes: I’m nearly over my jetlag and am now settling down to the business of working at the IVPP. Sadly there’s nothing on display I haven’t shown off before and I’m still behind on writing some posts of m y own. So for now you’ll have to settle for yet more Gorgosaurus prep.
Now comes the “fun” part, taking the original field jacket off. Often we use power tools such a reciprocating saws and remove large pieces of the jacket, but the specimen is too fragile and nice to risk it as these tools cause vibrations. First the bolts were removed. Usually with a field jacket, the first few layers (there are about 6-7 on this in total) come off easily by hand, so the edge of the burlap is found and simply pulled away one piece at a time. Because the pieces overlap and are covered in plaster it is hard to see where one piece starts and end and sometimes you end up pulling on a lower piece and it tears into smaller bits. On average, the pieces here came of in hand-sized bits. A couple large flat-headed screwdrivers were good to get under the burlap and lift it up and separate the layers.
All the supporting 2 X 4 timbers used as splints in the field jacket were removed and saved- they can be used in another jacket someday. Once I got down to the harder plaster I used a water spray gun to soak the plaster/burlap. This softens the plaster and makes removal easier. Many people uses water-soaked rags for this step, but the water hose was close by so I just sprayed it lightly. After soaking in for 10-15 minutes the pieces came off more easily. Removal of a plaster jacket piece by piece by hand is tough on ones fingers and hands and time consuming- the better part of one day (7.5 hours work) was needed to get this far.