Micro-Scrimshaw by Bob Hergert
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Welcome to scrimshander.com

A Scrimshander is, of course, someone who makes scrimshaw.  I would define it as "someone who is crazy enough to spend hundreds of hours making millions of incisions in ivory thousands of years old".  I'm happy to be that crazy.  I started doing scrimshaw back in 1978.  My first pieces were jewelry.  Soon after I started scratching ivory, I was introduced to Gary Kelley, a founder of the Miniature Knifemakers Society.  He was a great inspiration, and a fount of knowledge.   Through him I was introduced to some of the country's best custom knifemakers.   Since those early days I've been able to work with many of these knifemakers, embellishing knife handles.  Currently, much of my work is done on knife handles. The rest is done on custom cuesticks, framed display pieces, guitars, jewelry, boxes, letter openers, etc.


Notes about the Gallery

Most of the work shown in my "Gallery" has been commissioned.  The few pieces for sale have a dollar price.  I generally work by commission, and quote prices individually.  I do teach classes occasionally, and tutor individuals.


History and Techniques

The United States' scrimshaw tradition is generally recognized as beginning with the New England whalers.  We shouldn't ignore the Eskimo's work in Alaska, or that done in the Orient.  Interestingly, the oldest artwork in the world might be considered scrimshaw:  a small carving made from mastodon tusk could pre-date all existing art.   We are fortunate today to be able to work on the same material that this ancient carver used.  Most of my work is done on mastodon and wooly mammoth tusk.

Scrimshaw is usually defined as carving or embellishment of ivory or bone.   Today's definition would more likely be thought of as the intricate incising of ivory to produce images of unbelievable detail.  Look at the work of Gary Dorning or Anna Good, for example.  These define scrimshaw today.

Too often, I hear people talk of "etching" designs into ivory.  Etching is definitely not what is done to create scrimshaw.  Etching and incising are two entirely different techniques.  Incising and engraving could both describe the scrimshaw method.  I use extremely sharp scribes to scratch the surface of the ivory, and then rub paint or ink into the incisions.  I occasionally use a fine blade to cut lines for hair or a ship's rigging, for example.  Most of my work is done with a technique called "stippling", employing dots or individual points to create the fine shading.  Often mislabeled as "pointillism", which is a style of painting, stippling is a "technique".  I know I'm splitting hairs here, but correct terminology helps avoid misunderstanding.



Now Available on DVD!
Learn Scrimshaw
with the "Scrimshaw: Tools, Tips and Techniques" instructional video.
Click here to order.
Also on sale - The Picture Gallery DVD with hundreds of images. Click here to order.

Though you might have to find these in a used book store now, you may want to check out Tom Clancy's "Net Force" series novels - "Point of Impact" and "Cybernation". Written by Steve Perry, they feature a scrimshander named Bob Hergert. Just a coincidence?.....I don't think so.

Steve Perry, who commissioned pistol grips with Dirisha Zuri are featured on Page 1 in the Nudes section.

Check out my other websites: www.bobhergert.com my personal site (ego-site); www.scrimshaw.biz

If you are interested in commissioning work or purchasing a piece pictured here, please send e-mail to the address listed.

To get an idea how much a commissioned project might cost, calculate the number of square inches of scrimshaw. Then figure a price of $150 -$200 per square inch. This assumes the model or design is ready or available. Exceptions to this pricing include miniature knives, which must be estimated individually. Cost of ivory is separate. Those who would like a quality knife for a moderate cost might consider the David Boye Prophet Companion. Finished knives with scrimshaw typically run between $600 and $800. 


by Bob Hergert
12 Geer Circle
Port Orford, OR 97465


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This Web site was created by Zoe Mills
Copyright © 1998 Bob Hergert - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Feel free to print out and use any of these pictures for personal, non-commercial purposes. Please credit Bob Hergert and add a link to this site. Thank you for visiting my site. Please come again soon.