Scrimshaw Project


A recent project I did involved a little know art called “Scrimshaw”. My client wanted an image of a Mastodon engraved into the surface of a piece of Mastodon ivory.

The standard procedure for inscribing the surface is with a very fine tipped scriber and or a razor blade set-up. As the piece was small (about the size of a Canadian two dollar coin) I had to use my head mounted magnifiers to really see the detail. I find Mastodon ivory to be some what softer then regular bone, so I had to watch my touch with the scriber. This got me to thinking of possible other ways to engrave this image. After searching the web I found that other artists have been having good success with using a wood burning pencil and assorted tips. What was also interesting was that you didn’t┬áhave to go back and ink the surface afterwards. I think this will offer artists a chance to touch up any scrimshaw work after it has been inked and sealed without fear of washing out or bleeding into work already done.

I am still playing around with it and will post any tips or tricks I stumble across.


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