|Ultrasonic Cleaner by
I started collecting shells in 1976
and at that time I used a dental pick to clean them, a task which
took me hours to clean a dirty Astraea, for example. After Femorale
was founded we bought several Dremel Tools which made the job much
easier (ok, more than easier now since two boys do all the cleaning...).
Years ago my dentist suggested to
me that an ultrasonic cleaner (the one they use to remove tartar)
could probably be used to clean shells as well. It sounded like
a good idea but since it was quite expensive here I did not pursue
the idea of buying one.
At the COA convention in June 2006
I kept hearing that familiar annoying noise (it gets worse if
you have the sound coming from your mouth!) and went to look where
it was coming from Lee Kremer of Shell Lovers, Inc. who was selling
the machine and showing people how it worked. I was so convinced
of the ease of use that I brought one of them back home and made
I can tell you this: damned Dremel!
The cleaner works very well and much better than an abrasive bur
on the shell's surface. Luckily I had some very dirty Astraea
to make the first tests and the results were fantastic. Even the
color looked better since the surface was not eroded by a bur.
I was able to remove incrustation
from shells with periostracum without any harm to it. Shells with
fine crevices were not affected as well. I tested cleaning the
same species using both systems (UC and Dremel) and the difference
If you cannot afford to buy an unit
yourself, maybe you can tell your shell club and buy one to share
with other members. Our unit is attached directly to a tap, but
Lee has a portable plastic tank so you can move it around and
work in places without direct water supply.
If you are interested,
contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his site:
to see more details (Mention to Lee
that you saw this article here and get 10% discount!).