Darrell Morris Scrimshaw in-progress

Darrel Morris - Nude AngelDarrel Morris is a scrimshaw artist I’ve followed and held in high esteem for years now. his shading and subjects are always the highest quality.  He is currently discounting a work in progress to be delivered to the lucky purchaser for a $150 discount, but once it’s finished it’s going up to the price he typically charges for his work.  With over one month on it so far, she is almost complete. Created on mammoth ivory. You can see a full pic at Pinterest and you can see Darrel’s other work as well as contact him regarding this piece or other works by visiting his portfolio of available work on the Darrel Morris site, or contact him directly at darrel.morris@yahoo.com

Posted in Artists, FYI

Latest Items for Sale from Scrimshaw.com

Whether you’re looking for a finished item or scrimshaw yourself, there’s something for everyone. Come take a look on our “Jewelry and Materials” page.

Posted in Finished Goods, jewelry, Scrimshaw Kits Tagged with: , , , , ,

Commission Scrimshaw Request

Just got this and figured I’d float it up to the top of the blog:

from jess_ru[at]yahoo.com

Greetings!  I am looking to commission a scrimshaw artist to customize a viking drinking horn.  I aim to allow a lot of artistic freedom with the design.  My only request is that the design in some way pays homage to the Viking god Ullr and incorporates the family name Larson.  Any interested parties?

Anyone interested can contact Jess by replacing the [at] in the address above with the @ sign (we do this so they won’t get hit with spam).

according to http://ullr.org/WhatTheHeckIsUllr.html:

He excels in archery and in skiing and lives in his hall Ydalir (“yew dales”). He is regarded as the son of Sif and the stepson of Thor. When the giantess Skadi divorced Njord she married Ull. In Norse mythology,Ullr is a son of Sif and a stepson of Thor.”

Posted in FYI

Corian: Ivory Alternative

Originally Posted in the Scrimshaw.com Newsletter 2014-09-14

Corian is a material most often used for countertops and sink tops made by DuPont.

The material is an acrylic polymer mixed with alumina trihydrate (ATH). ATH is suspended throughout the material giving it a uniform color.  They are able to create patterns as well, from a pebble-like surface to granular in appearance.

Being a stain and abrasion resistant material, it offers benefits and challenges to scrimshanders.

Corian polishes to a high lustre with progressive sanding and polishing and you can create an almost mirror-like finish if you take the time (see notes at the bottom for a link to polishing pads that go progressively to 12,000 grit).

Finding Samples of Corian

Samples are often available at big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes in the states, but they don’t just hand out free samples, you have to have a genuine interest in the material to make it worth their time. If you are or have a larger project in mind, you may be able to ask for some 2″ x 2″ blocks of the type you intend to scrimshaw on and they may give them to you. If you really just want some of the material for scrimshaw and don’t want to “shuck and jive” the sales person there are a couple of other options:

  • You can find a place that makes custom counter tops in your area and see if they either have samples or scraps they’re willing to part with (otherwise the waste material goes into landfills)
  • You can visit Dupont at http://www.surfaces.dupont.com/ and navigate to the place that allows you to get samples
  • You can purchase a sheet of corian from https://www.inventables.com/technologies/white-corian for about $27 as of the time of this writing.  We’d recommend going with the ¼” unless you’re making knife handles or pens.
  • Look on eBay – search for corian ¼”


There are several scrimshaw artists that are already using corian for their art, including:

Nick Finocchio (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ScrimshawEverything),

Dmitri Burakov (https://www.etsy.com/people/BDSart?ref=owner_profile_leftnav),

Katherine Plumer (http://www.katherineplumer.com/scrimshaw/closeups/fine_art/jessie.html)

and others.


Pigment Tests

We sanded then polished our sample with 600 grit, 1000 grit, 2000 grit sandpapers then polished it with the HUT PPP wax polish and let it sit for one day. Having misplaced the Sharpie pen (which I recall does stain the material), we instead used India ink, an Aquarelle pencil and oil paint.  All wiped off cleanly.


Stipple and Scratch Tests

For the stipple and scratch tests, we used our favorite Coulter tungsten scribe, and lightly stippled and scratched the surface. We found the material tends to “dust” more than crater with a light touch, and with the scratch tests it once again “dusts” rather than curl or create “rows and furrows” like some of the softer materials. Still the material seems softer than casein or ivory, probably due to the physical makeup of powdered ATH suspended in acrylic.

After hastening the drying time slightly with a blow dryer (the oil paint was still wet) we carefully wiped the sample away.

India ink is the clear winner here, the aquarelle pencil tended to ride above the scratches, though held well in the stipples and the oil paint wiped out of the stipples and scratches fairly easily, leaving little pigment.

Stain Test - Corian.jpg

Stipple and Scratch Test - Corian.jpg

A Tip from One of Our Readers:

“Hi Andrew,

I was reading with great interest on how to seal the items you sent me.

I remembered that I used a similar process when I was turning wood and pens.  Whenever I found a soft spot on antler or wood, I would fill it with a thin glue and use an accelerator to harden it and continue cutting.  I used some of this thin glue on one of them, let it soak in good and used the accelerator to harden the glue and then sanded it down up to 12,000 grit.  It looks great and will be ready when I get a little better at scrimming.

Here is a site with some info on the glue:


As I said, this was just a thought I came up with.

Have a wonderful day.

George Hester – Newbie but getting better”


Thanks again George, we’ll have to try the accelerator on some antler or bone the next time we get a chance.

Found another use for “Poster Putty”.  We’ve been using it to hold scrimshaw material in place as we scrim, but when it comes to inking the little vials I like to mix them in often end up sideways (which is why I’ve been banished from the kitchen table for all things non-food).  A small dab of poster putty will hold the vial or anything else spillable fast, even if you bump into it.  Available at most pharmacies and at Amazon.com.

Tipped ink vial (left) and one with poster putty on the bottom holding it fast.

You can sign up for the newsletter for free to get the latest tips, techniques and information by clicking on the link in the upper right of this page and entering your name and email.

Posted in FYI, Reviews Tagged with: , ,

In the Works This Week

Working on Men’s Fashion Accessories most of this week (though women can use them too). Time permitting, I’ll be finishing off the accessories as shown below. The first piece from this week (the money clip) is already on Etsy, and I am thinking about an initial for the tie clip, though a ship would also look nice… I’ll have to see what I feel like tomorrow evening.  Also shaped out a couple of circles that were far too small for the intended findings, so I’ll start again on those when I feel the need to go cut something (or get inspired to fire up the scroll saw).
Tie Tack of "Ivory Alternative" on top, Piano key insert on keychain on the bottom

Posted in accessories, jewelry, Projects Tagged with: , ,

Drawing The Initial Ship for Scrimshaw

First attempt at filming the process of scrimshawing. Time lapse of a freehand drawing of a ship on a piano key made from alternative ivory, the lighting still needs work. Using an aquarelle pencil (also known as a “marks-all“) gets the design on the material without scratching it.

Posted in FYI, How-To

Mystery Artist 18 – A Scrimshaw Bracelet

We had an inquiry regarding a bracelet recently which was purchased in Nantucket we’d like to share:

Returned from vacation on Nantucket Island.  I purchased a bracket from the Murphy’s store on Maine St.  It was lying in a case that had an original basket designed pendant by A. Doucette.  The clerk told me the bracelet was an A. Doucette design but that the oval shaped discs with ink designs of ship, whale, basket, island, schooner, ferry, lighthouse and Nantucket signed ship, were not of ivory  and she did not know what the composition was but not to get the bracelet wet.  I paid $82 plus tax for the item.  It is lovely but I would like to know what the white shaped ovals are made of.  Thank for you for any info.”

Due to internet issues she was unable to send the pics for quite awhile, so emails and possible solutions went back and forth. Meanwhile, I was in contact with Al Doucette, the former owner of “The Whale’s Tale” regarding some of his work both past and present, and when we finally resolved the photo issues I forwarded the pics to him:

Mystery Artist 18 Bracelet Front


That is my bracelet ! I have been doing this bracelet as a story bracelet for a few years in sterling and ivory….but last year I decided to make this one that I designed in base metal and plated and the inserts are cast in resin…if they look on the back I engraved Atlantic Originals and A. Doucette 2013.    I have done the story of nantucket ( that one ) and also the story of the New Bedford Whaler Charles W. Morgan that was restored at Mystic Seaport and sailed on its 38th voyage this summer…”

This had to be the fastest Mystery Artist we’ve had the pleasure of doing. Al is still very busy doing scrimshaw as well as carvings and sculpture and is difficult to pin down for an interview but as a scrimshander, patience comes with the territory.  Al has shared a number of pictures of his work with us and we’re working on putting up a page on the site to highlight his work.  We’ll add a link in the “Artists” page shortly so everyone can see the work of this truly prolific artist.


If you have a piece of scrimshaw that you need help identifying, send an email along with some high resolution pictures to “questions@scrimshaw.com”. We can’t guarantee such a fast turnaround, but we’ve found a number of artists and have been able to answer some questions about them.

Posted in Mystery Artist

Scrimshaw for Sale

Portrait of Lucille Ball on Mammoth Ivory by award winning scrimshaw artist Jason R. Webb $275. Contact: Jason Webb

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