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Pretty pictures - Chicken Track and Deer Sky

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Author Topic: Pretty pictures - Chicken Track and Deer Sky  (Read 448 times)
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« on: February 27, 2016, 08:20:55 pm »

I've been on a picture kick lately. Below is a 2.5 pound piece of chicken track rough I picked up today. Interesting material. From what I gather it was collected in the 70s-80s and no longer producing. There were two grades - an upper layer that had less pictures and color, but shared the track pattern with the lower, more colorful and scenic material. This piece has nice bluish sky with small dark hills with dendrite bushes. I've read that rough is getting harder to come by. This might go on the shelf. It came with some other pieces - half are nice, the other half look like they are top-layer material. Nice tracks but not much else. Anybody have tips on polishing Chicken?

The second piece is a wild piece of Deer Sky Jasper (thanks Neal). Was surprised when I cut into this one.  dancer5 Cut 4 nearly identical slabs - one corner has some golden hills that sit below that wild sky. Thinking there are some killer cabs in there.



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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 10:17:43 am »

    Chicken Track jasper:  Not sure if he is still there but I met a guy in Ontario, Oregon about 5 years back. He had two tons of Chicken track on pallets behind his shop. He was semi-retired and built airplanes in a shop behind his house. So there is still a load of that material out there if someone can track this guy down. His house was on a main road real close to Interstate 84.

As for the Deer Sky.... did I really sell that piece? Must have been an accident. Are you gonna cab it or polish specimen pieces?
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 10:28:28 am »

Hi Neal,

Yup, that piece was in the box I got from you a while back. :) Pretty cool stuff! I will probably cab the slabs and keep the remainder of the rough piece for my locality shelf collection.

I've heard that the plentiful chicken track material that's covering storefronts, buildings, etc. was a chalkier top layer devoid of blue skies or any real scenery. Not really lapidary grade. This chunk is nice and hard - came off the saw with a smooth sheen on it. I was looking for some nice quality rough for a while with good tracks on top. If that guy in Ontario is sitting on lap grade material he's got the mother load! :)

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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2016, 12:31:56 pm »

I'm not surprised that there are some still left in stockpiles. I know some rock shops are out of it, though. Someone needs to slice and sell more, as slab and rough prices have gone up over the past 5 years.

My take on the "layers" from talking to diggers was that there was one main layer with the raised "footprints." It varied in thickness, and the thinner stuff was carted away for stone veneer and other decorative work. The patterns and colors varied considerably even within single stones, and I can attest to that myself - some had little or no pattern in most of the chunk, with areas that had blue and nice pattern in one corner. There were also a few small areas that contained other colors. There was a type with opally white skies (the white shades varied from cream to blue-white with no flecks), a bright red, a charcoal gray (not as brown as in the photo below), and a green (emerald to blue-green). I only have some old photos of pieces that are gone, and I haven't come across more:
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 01:54:03 pm »

Thanks for sharing the Chicken pics, R2D!

I found the description below from Reggie Kemps daughter describing the Chicken Track deposit:

"Chicken Track was dug in the early 1970's-late 80's. Now considered dug out. The rock came out of pale clay soil in flat layers and was named Chicken track because the top crust of the rock has what looked like bird tracks. As you can see it takes a good polish.
There was a layer above it we had to peel away before getting to it and it also had the same but larger tracks on top of it. That layer had little to no baby blue sky colors or picture patterns. So was used mainly as building materials on store fronts back then. They called that layer Turkey track. Was from McDermitt Oregon."

Below are a few more pieces I have. The first two are nice scenics - the one with blue is 6.5". The other is what I suspect is described as "turkey track" above. No scenes, softer/chalkier but with large "tracks" on top. Good as a curiosity on a shelf, but not worth cutting IMO.


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