For those of you wanting to get into the art of scrimshaw here is how I got started.
The picture above is a piece I did many years ago when I was just getting started. My dogs love beef shank bones that you can buy at any pet store here in Canada. I let them clean the bone and naw on it till they are tired of them. Then being the good recycler that I am I came up with the idea of boiling them till all the oils were out and leaving them in the sun to dry and eventually bleach white. This represents a very cheap source of practice material that engraves pretty darn close to ivory and mastodon bone. If a person does them ornate enough you can easily turn them into rustic candle stick holders for around the cabin or farm house. I also played around with different colours of Indian ink and was very satisfied that the beef bones do not bleed the ink into other parts of your art work. This can be a problem with other types of animal antlers that are very porous. Once you get your layout technique and engraving techniques down on material like this, it is a snap moving up to the more expensive stuff that you really can’t make a mistake on.