Mystery Artist 27 – Ring with “DCZ”

“… I have a ring I’m not sure of the material but IMystery Artist 27 Dragon Ring mystery-artist-27-2 mystery-artist-27-1 believe it to but a type of ivory.It is from what I can tell signed “DCZ”. Any information that can be determined would be greatly appreciated.Thank you -christian.”

Looks to have a grain behind the dragon, but it’s difficult to tell.  Hoping to find more information as to the location it was purchased to help find the creator.  Anyone know a scrimshaw artist with the initials “DCZ”?  We’d love to know, there are few scrimshaw rings out there.  Add any information in the comments section below.

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The Value of Scrimshaw

"A Sailor's Life for Me" scrimshaw on whale's tooth

Color scrimshaw on whale's tooth "A Sailor's Life for Me""A Sailor's Life for Me" scrimshaw on whale's toothI’ve received a question regarding the value of a piece of scrimshaw done in the 20th century on a whale’s tooth, and I really don’t know the answer. I do scrimshaw, though I don’t collect it. A reader has a beautiful piece by P. Hayde, I believe, and wants to know how to figure its value so they may insure it. If there is a collector who could help them and similar collectors out with either a link or some good guidelines, I’ll be happy to post the information here, with or without your email as you see fit. It would be greatly appreciated.
Leave a reply in the box below to help your fellow collectors.

Thank you in advance,

Andrew Perkins

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Deer Antler Scrimshaw – Excerpt from the Scrimshaw Newsletter 2016-1-23

Deer Antler Scrimshaw

Antler from deer, moose, caribou and other creatures have been used for scrimshaw, knife handles and more throughout history. Back when resources were scarce, there were only two of the three R’s: Reuse and Recycle – reduce was not an option.

Antler description

Woman and Owl on Antlet

Antler Example – Moosup Valley Designs

Antlers (in the deer family) are extensions of the animal’s skull that are grown annually. They are true bone, being fed by the animal’s blood and covered by “velvet”: a skin-like covering.  With the exception of reindeer and a few other species, only males produce horns (what is the feminine version of Rudolf, anyway?).  Shed antler are a favorite of raccoons and other woodland creatures as a source of calcium.  Due to the fact that there were capillaries within the antler, small voids remain on the surface of the antler and the material should be sealed either with cyanoacrylate (super glue) or wax after polishing to minimize staining (you find this with most bone as well). We’re looking into other ways of sealing but haven’t had the time to experiment with them yet.

Antler resources

AntlerMan – (amazon)

Etsy –

eBay –

Sanding Antler:

Antler handle with scrimshaw on knife

Example – Black Creek Knives

Using proper dust protection (eye protection and dust mask along with dust remediation), cut the antler to the shape and size you intend to scrimshaw.  Note: some antler will have a nice outer color, but the inside may be darkened due to the age of the antler. The one I’m working with was from a roadkill of a one year old, and I believe the blood hadn’t entirely left the antler at the time of its demise. [cross-section]

Attempting to create a small “window” to scrimshaw on, I sanded down into the darker area of the antler, making that area look stained. Carefully and lightly sanding only until smooth I was able to work an area further up the antler that should work for a smaller scrimshaw.  I sanded the area progressively from 240 grit to 3200 creating a mirror like finish using micromesh pads after the wet/dry sandpaper (available in most hardware stores, automotive stores).  Cutting off the previous window, it’s now time to figure out what to scrimshaw.

I settled on a ship since time was short and it was easy to draw free hand (one of the advantages of doing a lot of ships over the years).

Scrimshaw of a ship on an antler tip

Finished scrimshaw on antler tip

Overall, it came out surprisingly well.  Cross-sections tend to stain due to the aforementioned capillaries.  If you get a whole antler with the “buttons” (the base of the antler), they can be made into many decorative items. Necklaces can be made from sections of the antler, toggles from either the tips or the cross-sections for coats, knife scales if the antler is thick enough and stand-alone scrimshaws from larger pieces, including moose antler if you’re lucky enough to get some.


Posted in FYI, How-To

Mystery Artist 26 – Whale Tooth: Authentic or Repro? Verdict: “Fakeshaw”

Mystery Artist 26-1 Whale Toothe with crossed pistols

Mystery Artist 26-1 Whale Toothe with crossed pistolsMystery Artist # 26 is a scrimshaw on a whale tooth, either real or a very good reproduction.  From the owner: “Hello, not sure what I have here, as it is somewhat similar to the Turnage Place Mississippi repros. Anyone’s help is much appreciated, thanks Kelvin.”

Mystery Artist 26-2 Whale Tooth with stagecoach

Mystery Artist 26-3 - Bottom edge

Mystery Artist 26-4 - Tip of the tooth

Mystery Artist 26-5 - Base of the tooth

One thing I’ve noticed is the uniformity of the color beneath.  There is also no grain in the bottom, which makes me think that it could be a polymer.  Two quick tests would be looking at it under a “black light”: if it glows, it’s definitely plastic. if not, it could still be a different polymer.  The second test would be the “hot pin test”: heating a needle to red hot and pressing the point into the base to see if it melts or burns, taking note of the smell.  If it smells like plastic, it is.  If it smells like a dentist’s office after a day of drilling, it’s more than likely ivory.

Anyone know the artist or the authenticity of this item?  Let us know in the comments.

Douglass Moody, a longtime scrimshaw collector responded below, reprinting his response here:
“This is a well-documented, mass-produced resin replica of a scrimshawed whale tooth, colloquially known as Fakeshaw. It is NOT a reproduction, because an authentic original never existed.”

Thank you, Douglass!


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Brighten up “Reverse Scrimshaw” With This Technique

Lion "Reverse Scrimshaw" on water buffalo hornAfter doing several “reverse scrimshaws” – scrimshaw on a dark material where the stipples/incisions are filled with a white pigment, I found they looked kind of dull.  From experiments a couple of years ago using “Pearl-Ex”, I knew mixing it into the pigment only made a slight difference.

This time, I coated the surface with an acrylic paint (oil paint should work the same), then wiped it off while it was still wet.  With a Q-Tip, I lightly brushed some of the Pearl-Ex (micropearl – smallest white particles I was able to find) onto the surface then wiped it off so the particles would adhere to the wet paint in the stipples while the rest would wipe away.  It made a big difference no matter what angle you hold the piece now. Available at many local art supply stores and at (Pearl-Ex Micropearl)


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