Scrimshaw is a traditional folk art form in which fanciful designs are etched into mammoth or walrus tusk or bone, then colored with ink. Originating from the 17th century seamen and whale hunters, scrimshaw, a rare and distinct technique, is nowadays used for the decoration of knives to make each of them even more adorned and unique.
frequently asked questions

Scrimshaw crafted before 1989 (elephant) or before 1973 (sperm whale ivory, walrus ivory, etc.) is legal. It is prohibited after those years for commercial import in the USA. Ancient ivory, such as mammoth or fossilized walrus ivory, is unrestricted in sale or possession.

The origin of the word “scrimshaw” is somewhat obscure, but most researchers agree that it probably came from the Old Dutch word skrimshank which means “a waste of time” – as scrimshaw was enjoyed by seamen as the occupation to kill time.

The simplest way is to examine your scrimshaw with a magnifying glass. Plastic items will look completely smooth, while real bone will have a grain.

Whale bones adorned with a dainty engraving are valuable pieces of art, and some people pay a pretty penny for scrimshaw knives and other pieces. Prices can range from less than $1,000 to $75,000 or more.

Only elephant scrimshaw crafted before 1989 is legal. Ancient ivory, such as mammoth tusk or fossilized walrus ivory, is unrestricted in sale or possession.

A scrimshaw knife is a handmade knife adorned with scrimshaw – a traditional folk art form in which fanciful designs are etched into mammoth or walrus tusk or bone, then colored with ink.

You can make a scrimshaw yourself as long as you’ve got a Scrimshaw Kit or a scribing tool or a needle, a pin vise, glass marking pencils, black ink, swabs or toothpicks for inking, sandpaper and fine steel wool or a soft cloth for polishing.

History and distinctness of scrimshaw

The maritime art form originated around late 17th century from commercial whaling and reached its peak by the mid-19th century. Whaling scenes, ships, naval battles and coats of arms have been the traditional subjects of scrimshaw images for centuries. Scrimshaw pieces were first carved on whale teeth, walrus tusks or elephant ivory. As elephant ivory is prohibited for use today, faux ivory, shell or acrylic polymer are often used nowadays.

Initially scrimshaw designs featured maritime scenery that a seaman or whale hunter had transferred into elaborate engravings to preserve the beauty of the open sea. Today’s scrimshaw designs still have the old-time romantic savor as they depict retro attire, cars, celebrities and other attributes of stardust fashion. A premium knife adorned with a custom-made scrimshaw makes an unforgettable souvenir or a wonderful gift for a lover of vintage collectables.

Noblie wide selection of scrimshaw art knives

Creating a scrimshaw knife requires big patience and precise work. A high-class scrimshaw each time becomes a true challenge even for masters: they must be immensely accurate, as the scrimshaw image becomes fully apparent only after tinting.

We at Noblie collaborate with the world’s best scrimshanders having high-class expertise and professional experience of at least 7 years. We offer a wide selection of scrimshaw art knives, in terms of themes and designs. Noblie scrimshaw knives come in different shapes, types and appearance. Check out our:

Featuring images of wild nature, outstanding sportsmen or retro fashion – all these scrimshaw art knives are really sightly, while fully preserving the service properties of a high-end cutting tool.

Handles of Noblie scrimshaw knives are made of mammoth tusk or buffalo horn. These rare and expensive materials add glamour to our knives, while allowing the preservation of wildlife elephants.

A scrimshaw knife – a unique gift for knife adorers

Drawings in the scrimshaw technique are one-of-a-kind inimitable artworks. Art knives decorated with such images do look original and matchless. Noblie store offers:

- A big selection of daintily adorned premium scrimshaw knives already in stock that you can buy today: this saves a lot of time for a knife lover, as otherwise you should be waiting for weeks or months for a custom scrimshaw knife to be crafted. - Fast delivery: we ship international orders with DHL Express or UPS. Each order is insured for the full value. - Each custom knife is beautifully packed, thus increasing the overall showy impression of your gift. - You can buy your scrimshaw art knife in just two clicks! Explore Noblie collection below.

A combination of dainty art and high-class craftsmanship, a scrimshaw knife is bound to be an excellent gift for about anyone who enjoys exquisite art and superior functional performance of a premium knife.

We ship internationally and have satisfied customers all over the world: from the USA, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, UAE, France, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Austria, Poland, Germany, Greece, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Portugal.

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