A 200-pound humerus rests on a custom-made workbench where Don Bradley is preparing it to be mounted on stainless steel arches over a foot-thick slab of giant sequoia.
"Whole bones are so hard to find, I decided not to section it into pieces," Bradley said.
A dinosaur enthusiast since childhood, Bradley has rekindled his interest as he nears retirement. His unique approach uses dinosaur fossils in artistic presentations suitable for public or private art collections.
"This stuff was found 50 years ago," Bradley said. He acquired most of his fossils from an old-timer in the Southwest.
"I've visited some of the formations and some of the areas," he said, but he hasn't searched for fossils himself.
Works at Battelle
He didn't have time for fossil hunting. After earning a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in nuclear engineering, he worked for 30 years at the former Hanford nuclear site before moving to Sequim, where he works at Battelle.
In the immaculate shop attached to his home west of Sequim, Bradley takes the raw material - fossils as they are found in the ground - and finds the beauty within.
Polished cross-sections can reveal agate, jasper and opal, fiery red highlights and gleaming golden tones. The center of one foot-long section of bone is filled with amethyst crystals. The original cell structure often is visible in the colorful array.
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Bradley leaves some of the fossils in their natural form. Others are cut and polished, or shaped into spheres to expose the colorful interior. He uses exotic hardwoods to mount most of his fossils.
Bradley looks forward to working with clients "who appreciate what nature did in preserving this bone material, this claw that really belonged to a living animal."
Because he has gem-grade fossil material, Bradley anticipates making some jewelry in the future. But for now, the larger pieces keep him busy and he is taking one step at a time.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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