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Scrimshaw
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Morgan
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 184
Location: Arkansas
Real Name: Morgan Hodkin

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:15 pm    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

I'm getting ready to try my hand at doing a little scrimshaw work. I've got an older inexpensive horn that has enough lighter color area on it to practice on.

Do any of you have any suggestions or cautions before I start?

Any advice or cautions will be appreciated.

Morgan

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Kasper Mansker
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 61
Location: Gallatin, TN
Real Name: Ehrin Ehlert

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:45 pm    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

My first piece of advice would be to purchase the American Pioneer Video where Ron Ehlert walks you through every step of making a horn.

Next I would suggest using an exacto knife with a super sharp blade, but break the very tip off. If you are not seasoned at scrimshawing horn, I would also suggest getting a metal mesh glove for use on the hand that will be holding the horn.

After that, lay your design out with pencil and SLOWLY start cutting. After you lay your design out in pencil you can spray it with aresol hairspray. That will keep the graphite from rubbing off.

Sincerely,

Ehrin
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scrimman
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Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 14
Location: rio grande valley
Real Name: Sean Carney

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I've always used for a scrim tool is a concrete nail that I ground down to look something like a hawk's beak (but oh so very tiny). Make sure you keep that sucker cool by dipping it frequently while you grind it or you'll loose the temper in the steel.
If you're going to use an X-acto blade that works as well, but make sure you get plenty of extra #11 blades; you'll be changing them frequently.

Make sure that thing is mirror smooth before you start; any scratches that might be there (however small) are going to show up at the first inking.

Wipe the whole @#!! horn down with ink FIRST. That way you'll see if there are any problem areas BEFORE you use up hours upon hours of time to find out you're going to have to grind/sand it all off and start over.

Another suggestion; make sure while you are scrimming your light is coming from a single source, i.e. one lamp. I use a 40 watt lamp. Avoid using flourescent lamps. The trick is to 'bounce' the light off the material you are scrimming to see exactly where you are carving. Keep turning and moving the horn until you find where that 'glare' is coming off the horn. If you start carving right there you'll not only see your pencil marks, but you'll also see the exact line you are engraving at that time IF you are using only one light source. (ok, it works for multiple light sources as well, but not nearly as well. Using the one lamp gives you only one shadow in the bottom of that 'lil trench you just cut in the horn instead of competing shadows ((from multiple light sources)) that make it harder to see your line.) It makes it a whole lot easier to see what you're doing.

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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:20 am    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

I've been doing this for about 6 years and have studied with some of the best. I've made a couple of dozen horns, traded some, sold some and had several commissions to do horns for people. Do you want me to walk you through the whole process of preparing the horn or are you only interested in the how to of scrimshaw?
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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:21 am    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

I've been doing this for about 6 years and have studied with some of the best. I've made a couple of dozen horns, traded some, sold some and had several commissions to do horns for people. Do you want me to walk you through the whole process of preparing the horn or are you only interested in the how to of scrimshaw?
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J.D.
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Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 38
Location: East MO
Real Name: John Dearing

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: scrim Reply with quote

I plan to begin to scrim a coupla horns and would also like advice on beginning. I picked the brains of a few scrimshanders at the CLA show this weekend, but don't remember anything being said about preparing the horn.

Most horns I saw appeared to be prepared with 3 ought steel wool prior to scrimming, and a couple of horns were in the process of being scrimmed at the show.

Thanks,
J.D.
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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

JD,

Here are the steps I take to get ready to scrimshaw the horn. 1. Using a piece of wire, find the point at which the inside of the horn is no longer hollow. (If you don't know how to do that let me know) 2.Cut off the tip.
3. Drill the hole for the spout plug. 4. Scrape the horn with a scraper, knife, piece of glass or whatever to make it generally smooth. (I use a danish scraper from my woodshop for this operation) 5. Sand the horn with progressively finer sandpaper eventually getting to 600 grit. Later, after the horn is finally finished I go over it with 1500 grit to polish it. Once you have the outside a smooth as glass, you can begin. I typically draw the design on with pencil first then spray it with a "workable fixative" which I bought from an art supply store. Although somebody here said you could use hairspray to do this, I've never used that because I've found that the fixative serves two important functions. First it keeps the pencil from bring rubbed off during the actual cutting of the design and second and perhaps most important, as long as the design and the surrounding area are covered with the fixative, the ink (if you are using ink) will not go anywhere but the line that you have cut. It will bead up on the fixative and not fill in any small cracks, or pits you may not have gotten out in the sanding process. As a result of this you won't have to "ink the whole horn" as someone else here on the forum has suggested. Once you have gotten the design cut and inked, you can scrub off the fixative with super fine steel wool. If you want to add shading etc. you can pencil it on the drawing and spray it again and repeat the process. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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J.D.
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Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 38
Location: East MO
Real Name: John Dearing

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:09 pm    Post subject: scrimm Reply with quote

Sorry that it took so long to reply. I lost track of this thread. Forgot which BBS it was on.

Thanks for those instructions. They are very helpful.
J.D.
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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:24 am    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

JD,

Good luck with the project. One more thing...if you make a mistake you can always sand it off and start over. I don't know what kind of scribe you are planning to use. I use a number of different scribes depending on the thickness of the line I want. Everything from a needle in a pin vise to a fairly thick carbide tipped scribe I bought at a hardward store. To cut straight lines, I use a very small xacto knife. If you want to get in touch with me directly, my e-mail is visionsofbirds@earthlink.net.

Mark
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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

JD,

Good luck with the project. One more thing...if you make a mistake you can always sand it off and start over. I don't know what kind of scribe you are planning to use. I use a number of different scribes depending on the thickness of the line I want. Everything from a needle in a pin vise to a fairly thick carbide tipped scribe I bought at a hardward store. To cut straight lines, I use a very small xacto knife. If you want to get in touch with me directly, my e-mail is visionsofbirds@earthlink.net.

Mark
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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject: Scrimshaw Reply with quote

Hawkeye asked if I would start a thread on scrimshaw tips. I have posted here before as you can see. I am not an "expert" but I have been doing scrimshaw for about 7 years and I get better each time I do an horn. If I could figure out how to post photos here I would but if you want to see some of my work you can e-mail me at visionsofbirds@earthlink.net and I can send you a photo or two.

I am willing to share what I have learned about horn making/scrimshaw with anyone who is interested.
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Robert Scheffler
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Morgan,
Sounds like there is some good tips on this thread. I'll give you an idea how I do it, not that it is any better than the tips forementioned. I never really been to any classes on horns, but just learned from trial and error. Before I start to scrimshaw, I get all the scratches out by scraping, sanding, fine sanding, and finally fine steel wool. then I seal it with paste wax so that the ink doesn't get into the pores and it comes off easier. I agree with the others as for what you use for the scrimshaw work, I use an x acto knife for straight lines and an awl for curves. Keep a fine stone nearby for frequent sharpening. Just draw one layout at a time, that way your'e not rubbing off the pencilmarks on the other side. Ink it, and lightly go over it with 0000 steel wool. Then reseal it. What he said about the light is the truth. You can see some of the ones that I made on "raschefflerhorns.com".
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skunkkiller
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Posts: 113
Location: monroe 53566City or ZIP/Postal Code
Real Name: duane stanke

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ya there, skunkkiller here I use a leather needle with a pease of cork on the end so I don't poke my hand . Make sure you take your line to the end nonstop or you will see where you started again . Good luck!!!

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seesbirds
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Florida
Real Name: Mark S. Preston

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: scrimshaw Reply with quote

I haven't found the use of a flourescent light to highlight where I have cut to be much of a detriment. No matter what kind of light you use, it needs to be shining at such an angle that the already cut line will show up. In most cases I have to move the work around anyway to make different cuts so moving it to see where I have cut is not a problem. One poster said that you needed to make long cuts with one stroke and that would be wonderful if you can do it but using a scribe, it is often difficult to control the cut (scratch) when crossing the grain so being able to see where you left off is important because obviously you want to begin at that spot or cut to it.
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josephprivott
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Real Name: Anonymous

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer a pin vise and needle over exacto. it's uni-directional and far cheaper. i can also grip it closer, where the blade would be on an exacto.
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