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10lb piece of amber, who knows?


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Hi,

A friend found this rock out in eastern Oregon several years ago. It has some interesting characteristics that leads me to believe that it is some sort of fossilized resin (amber-esque) rock. I'm far from a hobbyist and even further from an expert, I think I fall into that broad category of 'curious bystander'. Any information/opinion/idea as to what this rock might be would be greatly appreciated. I've included a few pictures in this post to help give people a general idea of dimension. It weighs ~10 pounds and I have yet to determine it's specific gravity. A point of interest: on the surface of the rock there are small 'pock' marks and several large crevices. Some crevices have small deposits of crystals in them, sort of like a geode, but not quite as dramatic. Any ideas?

Thanks,

Eben

th_r1.jpg

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http://s1233.photobucket.com/albums/ff385/ebenezerebenezer/?action=view&current=r5.jpg

(this hyperlink leads to a picture of the bottom... sort of like melted wax)

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Can you shine a light through it? I've seen pitch that looks like that, Pitch is pine sap that is not Amber grade, but does have its use for roofing, now it outlawed. Grubstake

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if you can cobble off a small portion it should burn and smell like resin or pine

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Burn a fleck and find out as Trex said as faster easiest amber test. Seems a mite heavy but amber is a strange mineral--GREAT FIND anyday and in every way-John :whoope:

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Can you shine a light through it? I've seen pitch that looks like that, Pitch is pine sap that is not Amber grade, but does have its use for roofing, now it outlawed. Grubstake

Pine pitch is not used for roofing. Only asphalt pitch. And it is not illegal unless you are rolling it and selling it to high school kids. :yuk-yuk:

You should be able to burnish amber by rubbing it across your pants leg. The heat and friction will polish it up quickly.

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Amber will also float in salt water. Based on the size I would say it is way to heavy to be amber in my opinion.

It does look like a very nice piece of agate and worthy of cutting into slabs.

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Can you shine a light through it? I've seen pitch that looks like that, Pitch is pine sap that is not Amber grade, but does have its use for roofing, now it outlawed. Grubstake

I can't see light through it holding it up to the sun, though certain edges are somewhat translucent, but very opaque. Thanks for the test/advice

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if you can cobble off a small portion it should burn and smell like resin or pine

I knocked off a little piece of it and tried to burn it. It wouldn't burn and didn't feel anymore malleable after heating. Would that mean it isn't amber? Or maybe just the little piece I chipped off?

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Pine pitch is not used for roofing. Only asphalt pitch. And it is not illegal unless you are rolling it and selling it to high school kids. :yuk-yuk:

You should be able to burnish amber by rubbing it across your pants leg. The heat and friction will polish it up quickly.

The pants weren't letting me see the immediate effects of my work, so I took my shoe off and started rubbing it on the rock... is this what a hobby with rocks is going to turn me into? Barefoot, scrubbing away at a rock with my shoes? It seems to polish all right, though it is fairly glossy to begin with, and I wonder if I'm not just removing a little bit a grime, rather than affecting the composition of the rock. I don't know. It would seem that if I can't burn it, then my pant/shoe combo shouldn't do too much either... unless my feet really are that caustic.

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The pants weren't letting me see the immediate effects of my work, so I took my shoe off and started rubbing it on the rock... is this what a hobby with rocks is going to turn me into? Barefoot, scrubbing away at a rock with my shoes? It seems to polish all right, though it is fairly glossy to begin with, and I wonder if I'm not just removing a little bit a grime, rather than affecting the composition of the rock. I don't know. It would seem that if I can't burn it, then my pant/shoe combo shouldn't do too much either... unless my feet really are that caustic.

The point is that a little heat will soften the amber, if it is amber. So no, if you cant burn a little chip them rubbing it on your pants wont do a darn thing.

Minerals are identified by hardness, fracture, crystalline structure, specific gravity, etc.etc. my suggestion is to determine the basic physical properties and you can quickly rule out amber.

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Bedrock BOB, you been right about lots of things, but you are wrong on the pine pitch, My uncle has owned a roofing company for 40 years, they used to use pine pitch, until it was outlawed in the 70's, too many people were getting burned and lungs were also hurt. So I'know what I'm talking about, I worked for him for 3 years, when pitch was still used. Mostly on buildings with lots of ducts and airconditioning, to seal off the pans, around feet. reason was pitch melts at a lower temp than asfault, and would reseal the pans. So don't say to an old roofer, 7 in my family that pitch was not used. Your wrong my friend. Grubstake

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The point is that a little heat will soften the amber, if it is amber. So no, if you cant burn a little chip them rubbing it on your pants wont do a darn thing.

Minerals are identified by hardness, fracture, crystalline structure, specific gravity, etc.etc. my suggestion is to determine the basic physical properties and you can quickly rule out amber.

All right. I'll go and check out some tests on how to determine all these variables. Thanks for replies, and I'll post more info as it comes about. Thanks again.

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Bedrock BOB, you been right about lots of things, but you are wrong on the pine pitch, My uncle has owned a roofing company for 40 years, they used to use pine pitch, until it was outlawed in the 70's, too many people were getting burned and lungs were also hurt. So I'know what I'm talking about, I worked for him for 3 years, when pitch was still used. Mostly on buildings with lots of ducts and airconditioning, to seal off the pans, around feet. reason was pitch melts at a lower temp than asfault, and would reseal the pans. So don't say to an old roofer, 7 in my family that pitch was not used. Your wrong my friend. Grubstake

Maybe 1870. I have been a building contractor for 30 years and have never seen pine pitch used. Anyhoo, if your uncle used it then he did. They make asphaltic materials that take in the complete temperature range and would be MUCH better for roofing than pine pitch. As the article states the use of pine pitch has not been a roofing method since the 19th century. But that certainly does not mean that some people have not used it since.

http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/roofingexhibit/composition.htm

When you say it is illegal and I say it is not used as roofing I believe we are saying the same thing are we not? Pine pitch is not illegal and it was at some point in history used for roofing, but for all practical purposes I beleive we know what each other is talking about. No one is going to use pine pitch to seal a modern roof and no cop is going to arrest you for a ball of pine pitch.

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I used to gather pine pitch, mix it with heavy sawdust, then mold it into pieces

about the size of breakfast sausages. Made for a hellofa firestarter, even in bad weather,

as once you got it burning it would stay lit and burn hot for long enough to get a decent fire

going.

Don't know anything about roofing, but would sure hate to have that stuff as part the roof over

my head. If it was to catch fire you would play he11 putting it out.

:twocents:

Mike

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His roofing company is in Monterey Ca. and all around Carmelk, they want natural stuff there, most are inviro's and they do some strange stuff there, including not cutting tree's but letting them grow right through the middle of a house, in Carmel, cut a tree. Go to jail! been that way for many moons. Law says copper roofing nails or stanless steel within a mile and a half of the sea. John Madden owns a house on Carmel beach, my uncle roofed, and you would not beleave the natural stuff he had put down. Unless fire treated, shaked are outlawed, and no new shake roofs, so they do recovers, half one year, the other half the next year. one way to get around the law. Monterey is an old place and they like to keep things asold and natural looking as they can. It was a fishing town, thus the use of pine pitch was very widely in use. Grubstake

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Bit of research shows that Pine Tar was (and still is) used in roofing in some places:

http://www.schwedischer-farbenhandel.de/online/templatemedia/all_lang/resources/auson_produktbroschyr_eng.pdf

I do think this is a much different product than the pine pitch I used to gather for my

firestarters. Still, I wouldn't have believed it unless I read it myself. :zapped:

Mike

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Yep, they still use it in Sweden, and used for preserving wood. But like I said, here in Calif. its band for roofs now, but it was used alot. Use lenseed oil on some and see if it will make it soft. Not sure about the fire starters, I have some but the are saw dust and bee's wax. Grubstake

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Yep, they still use it in Sweden, and used for preserving wood. But like I said, here in Calif. its band for roofs now, but it was used alot. Use lenseed oil on some and see if it will make it soft. Not sure about the fire starters, I have some but the are saw dust and bee's wax. Grubstake

There is quite a difference between using PINE OIL as a preservative on shakes and PINE TAR for a built up roof in place of coal or petroleum based tar. Sure, they still use PINE OIL on shakes as a preservative.

And as far as being "outlawed" or "banned" goes I would say that pine tar would not meet the minimum specification required by ICC for built up roofing. So you are going to find out that it is unsuitable for use on roofs in any country that adopts ICC standards. Besides, it seems that it would be hugely expensive as compared to the standard accepted building materials used in construction.

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I knocked off a little piece of it and tried to burn it. It wouldn't burn and didn't feel anymore malleable after heating. Would that mean it isn't amber? Or maybe just the little piece I chipped off?

My understanding is that if you can't get it to smell like pine resin or at least smoke with a lighter flame it is not amber

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Yeh, maybe your right Bedrock, you sound just like my oldest kid, now 46, know everything, no one else knows crap. According to him and his generation. You fit right in. Too bad you were not around in the early 50's when my whole family were roofers. Things change. I was tabing comp. shingles when I was 12 years old at Camp Hunter liget on the Army barracks, Grubstake

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Yeh, maybe your right Bedrock, you sound just like my oldest kid, now 46, know everything, no one else knows crap. According to him and his generation. You fit right in. Too bad you were not around in the early 50's when my whole family were roofers. Things change. I was tabing comp. shingles when I was 12 years old at Camp Hunter liget on the Army barracks, Grubstake

And evidently filling pitch pans with pine sap too.

I am not so wet behind the ears Grubstake. 30 years in construction and I have never seen anyone use pine sap for a roof. Sorry. It sounds just like another tall tale from a guy trying to relive his younger days and BSing a little too much. You fit right in. Tell us how you used to hunt mastodon with a spear and comb your hair with a fish bone!

Maybe some of that pitch you used on the roof has turned to amber?

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