The Home of "Elephant Friendly Scrimshaw"
Custom Casting Service
FOR A LIMITED TIME, TRY IT FOR FREE
If you will take a few minutes and navigate through our web site It will be
at Hops' Scrimshaw, our primary business is to create, produce and sell
polymer resin reproductions, therefore, if enacted, as written in President
Obama's February 2014 executive order, his proposed new ivory regulations
wouldn't put us out of business like it would an untold number of Scrimshanders
and other fine craftsmen throughout the United States that use ivory.
With the fait of Ivory sales and even ownership
being "Up In The Air" in at least 30 of our 50 states
WE URGE YOU to at least try our CASTING SERVICE.
If you have any questions whatsoever, send us an e-mail and
we will more than likely send you a reply the same day.
Our prayers go out for our fellow Scrimshanders while Congress
kicks around the new laws governing ivory trade in the US.
For more information on
PROPOSED new IVORY REGULATIONS
and Current Elephant Populations
In 3 other Africa countries
go to "THE IVORY MESS."
"Put your Work, To Work for You"
**NOW YOU CAN**
YOU STILL HAVE THE ORIGINAL MASTER ENGRAVING
Once we have a good production mold, we take the first 2 pieces
from that mold and use them as "Second Generation Originals"
and use them to make more molds if needed, our process is just
that good, I would challenge you to
identify which copy came from
the mold that was made from the "Master Engraving" vs the
"Second Generation" mold.
being able to create copies from "Second Generation Molds" allows
us to return the master engraving back to you to ink and sell or whatever
you want to do with it.
I know to many Scrimshanders "REPRODUCTION" is a
dirty word,but with the PROPOSED new IVORY LAWS
maybe you should
set your feelings aside for just a
bit and at least look at what we have to offer.
We are offering you a service to create outstanding
polymer resin reproductions of your work, and NOW you can
"TRY IT FOR FREE"
There is ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATION to go any further than
the first FREE test piece.
IT WON'T COST YOU A DIME!!!
You will be absolutely amazed at the detail our process picks up, I will say
our process picks up even the finest pin prick you can make. If you would
like to see for yourself send me an e-mail with your name and address
and I will send you a FREE sample of one of our reproductions.
If you want to see how well our process works, just take a piece of whatever material you want to work on and just do some doodling on it, use whatever techniques you use to do your custom work, include some of your finest lines and stippling, send it to us and we'll make a mold, cast a couple of copies, ink them and return them to you along with your master engraving, then you will have something you did to look at, and it's ABSOLUTELY FREE. Before you do this take a look at our
"Reproduction Process" below.
This enlarged detail of our "Howling Wolf" piece shows some of the
extremely fine stippling creating the shadows in the snow. Anyone that uses stippling knows if you get the point of your needle to sharp it will bend back on itself creating a hook which requires re-sharpening. The shadows in the snow here were done with the sharpest point I could get without it bending back on itself.
We can cast just about anything.
If it's an odd shape, something we haven't done
before we will at least be willing to give it a try.
(This refers mainly to double sided molds.)
Some fossil artifacts have hairline cracks which, if not filled
with wax or something else the mold material wil seep
into the cracks and may be impossible to remove.
For your FREE sample send me an E-mail
Also, I would be happy to address any questions or concerns
you may have concerning reproductions.
Click on these links to navigate this page.
Reproductions are here to stay
Sales examples on 2 of our designs
NOT a Get Rich Quick Scheme
Preparation and Types of Molds
Mold Fees & Size Comparisons
FREE Test Molds & Cost of Reproductions
Minimum Order & Billing
What we Do & The Ink we Use
Just some Thoughts
I apologize in advance for being so long winded here but there is just a lot of
you will need to help you decide if Reproductions
will work for you.
Even if you decide Reproductions will not work for you as an addition
to your custom projects, you can still take advantage of our "Custom
Reproduction Service" when you have been commissioned to do
a portrait of someone, or maybe a medallion for a special event, or anything
where the customer
would like to
have more than just the one custom piece
and where reproductions would be okay.
We can help you make that happen.
Just take a minute and browse through the information below,
you may be reminded of a project you could have used Reproductions on,
or maybe a project that's coming up, that it just might work on.
Like I said, I know “Reproduction” is a dirty word to many Scrimshanders but please stay with me for a bit.
Like it or not, Scrimshaw "Reproductions" are here to stay. It's just a matter of time before President Obama's proposed new regulations governing the sale and transportation of ivory go into effect, or at least some version of it, doing custom work on Elephant Ivory may just become ILLEGAL. As of Feb. 2016 there are also 30 states that are working on writing their own laws. Originally we thought we would still be able to use Mammoth and Mastodon Ivories but the laws in states where they have passed and are currently enforcing them, the 10,000 year old Mammoth and Mastodon Ivory are included in the bans. I know, I know, that just shows how ignorant the law makers are but we already knew that.
The number of Scrimshanders now offering Reproductions is on the rise. don't be left in the dust.We've all seen Barlow’s work all over the place for years and not including me, I know of at least 5 other Scrimshanders that are now offering Reproductions along with their "one of a kind custom engravings." If you’re one of the handful of Scrimshaw artists that are able to sell your work at whatever price you put on it, then you don’t need to read further but if you’re one of the other 90% of us who end up selling a $1,000 piece for $600 just so we can pay the light bill, then you might want to continue reading. If you are concerned about the proposed Ivory bans and how they may effect you, then you might want to read the following information below.
In this economy with gas prices so high and when a trip to the grocery store cost $20 more than it did a couple of weeks ago, it’s tough to sell anything that isn’t a necessity. Our sales of inexpensive Reproductions has certainly slowed down, my guess is, sales of original engravings have taken a much bigger hit.
Obviously there are far more buyers out there that can afford to spend $15 or $20 on a piece of Scrimshaw than there are people that wouldn't hesitate to spend $300, $400 or $1,000 and more on a piece. The truth is, the average buyer is more interested in a good price for a good looking piece of artwork and "Fakeshaw" (if you will) is perfectly fine, as long as it's not being passed off as authentic scrimshaw. Others buy our Scrimshaw products because it's on materials other than Whale teeth or Elephant Ivory, as long as no animals were harmed in producing it. That in itself is a great sales tool and we do use the phrase, "Scrimshaw that doesn't endanger any Wildlife." A couple of times a customer has asked "how can you say that if you still use Elephant Ivory?" Our answer to that is; our Elephant Ivory is Pre-Ban.
As I said before, you will truly be amazed at how much detail our process picks up, I'll stretch my neck out a bit and say, virtually every mark you engrave into a piece, no matter how small it is, will be picked up by our casting process. At this point I will tell you, in order to create molds of your engraving, you won't be able to ink as you go, the lines and dots must be kept absolutely clean so the mold material can pick up the detail. To learn more go to Reproduction Process below.
One thing nice about Reproductions is, you aren’t locked into deciding whether you want the piece you're working on to be a pendant, a pin, or whatever, you can make pendants and pins and earrings and anything else you want with the same piece. When you hold your first handful of Reproductions you’ll start imagining the possibilities that will open up for you.
We found this method of producing very high quality Scrimshaw Reproductions back in 1994, since then we have made a number of changes on how we do things and perfected the system, now we are ready to offer our high quality Reproduction Service to other Scrimshanders.
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"Put Your Work to Work for You" Here are some examples of how you can put your work to work for you, using 2 of our designs we have been reproducing for several years as examples.
On this “Sm. Wolf Face Arrow” which is a Limited Edition (LE) piece, it took me around 15 hours to carve the arrowhead and do the engraving, we’ve sold 308 pendants and/or pins, at $20 each and 106 pairs of earrings at $30 a pair.
308 pendants, etc. @ $20 = $6,160
106 pr. earrings @ $30 = $3,180
Total sales = $9,340
The edition size is 950
Assuming this was ONE OF YOUR designs and your cost was $4.95 per piece, the same 308 pendants and 212 pieces for earrings, a total of 520 pieces at $4.95 each, your cost would be $2,574 (over time). Because the molds wear out you may need 8 Production molds at $50 (see mold costs below) your total cost would be $2,974. If you sold them for the same price as we do, your gross profit would be $6,366 for 15 hours of work or over $424.40 per hour. (This piece required a double sided mold. which is covered below.)
|Another example is our “Rose Heart” which is what we call a “Flat Back” piece, it’s done in an open face mold, whereas the arrowhead above is done in a double sided mold. (See a description of "Flat Back" and "Double Sided Molds" below) We sell the “Rose Heart” at $15 each for pendants, pins, etc and earrings are sold at $25 a pair. Because it’s not a limited edition I don’t know the exact number of pieces we’ve sold but it’s one of the first pieces we started to reproduce so I'm sure we've sold well over 1,500 pieces. Assuming 25% were earrings or 375 pair, the numbers are;
1,123 pendants, @ $15 = $16,845
375 pr earrings @ $25 = $ 9,375
Total sales = $26,220 (over time)
Again, let’s assume this was ONE OF YOUR designs and your cost was $3.90 per piece, the same 1,123 pendants and 750 pieces for the earrings, a total of 1,873 pieces at $3.90 your cost for the Reproductions would be $7.304.70 (over time) and lets say over time you needed 20 molds at $40.00 each, your total cost would be $8,104.70, your gross profit would be $18,115.30. If that Rose Heart piece took you 10 hours to engrave, your per hour wage would be about $1,811.53.
Maybe you should seriously consider getting on the band wagon
before all of the seats are taken. At least get your FREE SAMPLE.
NOTE: We require a 30% deposit with the order, which is based on the estimated final cost, but your first mold and sample pieces are FREE.
We STILL HAVE the original engravings and molds for both designs to make more. Who knows how many more we will produce, it's still a very popular piece.
The bad thing about Reproductions is, the income potential over time makes you question whether you should spend your time doing another original engraving to sit in a display case that when it sells you might make $10, $15 or even $30 an hour for your time, or do a couple more small pieces for your selection of "Reproduction" jewelry pieces, where you could make $400 an hour, or who knows how much more, over time.
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Please don’t get the wrong impression, this IS NOT a get rich quick scheme, the numbers above were spread over several years, the Wolf on the arrow was done in 1998 so we’ve been producing it for 15 years. The little Rose Heart isn’t dated but I believe it was done in 1995, give or take a year, so we’ve been producing it for nearly 20 years. I also need to tell you we have some pieces that I thought would really go well and we might only sell 6 or 8 of them a year. The real key to making money with Reproductions is, the more pieces you have working for you, the sooner you can depend on them to be your bread and butter.
Take some time and play around with the mold fees and the per piece costs below to see if our service will work for you.
DON'T LET THE IVORY BANS PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE WE WILL ALL HAVE TO COMPLY WITH NEW IVORY REGULATIONS.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send a note and ask.
I touched on this above but another really neat thing about Reproductions is, if you’re asked to do a custom piece of someone’s loved one that has passed away, you can offer them the option of having copies made for other family members and close family friends, at a very affordable price.
Also, now you can go after all of those opportunities that you thought was not possible, corporate gifts, event medallions, etc, whether you need 10 pieces or 10,000 pieces, we can help you do it. Maybe you’ve thought about someday being able to wholesale your work, well, now that possibility is open to you, set up a dealer network all over the country or even all over the world, there are no laws against import and export of polymer.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you, "EXPOSURE" is a real key to the success of anything you are trying to sell, if you do decide to use our Reproduction Service, we will post images of your work on our web site with a link directly to your web site or your e-mail address and we do that as a FREE service. We do not want to and won't sell your products on our website. We will however add a page for you in our "Guest Artist" section showing examples of your work with contact information going back to your website and/or e-mail address.
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Our relationship in the production of your polymer resin Scrimshaw Reproductions. When you pay a mold fee, you are paying for the labor to make the molds, not for the mold itself, Hops' Scrimshaw will own the molds. If for any reason, either party decides to terminate our casting relationship the molds will be destroyed. We will have a simple "Copyright Agreement" you may sign, however it is not mandatory, it gives Hops' Scrimshaw the authority to produce Reproductions for you, however, in no way will the Agreement give Hops' Scrimshaw the right to sell any of your Reproductions, the agreement will give Hops' Scrimshaw permission to use printed and digital images of your Reproductions in the promotion of our products and website as well as yours. I will also sign the agreement and send you a copy. This agreement may be terminated by either party at any time if done so in writing. The agreement actually protects you more than it does us, if you would like to see a copy let me know and I'll send you one.
THIS IS PROBABLY THE BIGEST DRAWBACK WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING REMOTELY.
Probably the most difficult thing you will have to learn is what I call, "Working in the Blind." In order to make the best possible mold of your engraving, you won't be able to apply any ink as you go, all of the lines and dots you engrave into the piece must be kept absolutely clean so the mold material can flow into them. This will take a little getting used to but we all "Work in the Blind" a bit between inking, we just don't usually complete an entire piece "In the Blind." After you do a couple of pieces "Working in the Blind" will get easier. To help you get through a couple of pieces without racking up a large mold fee balance, we are offering a special of as many test molds as it takes to get your first piece the way you want it to look and ready for production for "FREE."
HERE'S HOW IT WILL WORK
Test Molds. When you've gone as far as you feel comfortable with on your engraving without inking it, send it to us for a "Test Mold." Capture as much in your engraving as possible before you send it for the first "Test Mold," do this on each successive test mold, as well, this will result in fewer "Test Molds" being required. We do ask that your first piece have a "Flat Back with a Flat or Mostly Flat front." This type of piece requires less time to finish making them the most economical.
When we receive your Master engraving, we will then create a mold. Once we have a mold we mix and pour a carefully measured amount of polymer resin into the mold and allow it to fully cure into the beautiful ivory color our reproductions have. When cured we remove the first reproduction piece from the mold and pour 2 or 3 more. All of the polymer pieces are "EXACT COPIES" of your master engraving, with the exception of the material it's on. We ink 2 or 3 copies and send them to you along with the master engraving. Using one of the reproduction pieces as reference, do whatever work you think needs to be done on the master and when you're finished, send it back to us for a 2nd Test Mold. We will go through the same process as we did for the 1st Test Mold, then return the master and a couple copies back to you for review, if you think the master needs more work, do it and send it back to us and so on. We will do as many "Test Molds" as you think are necessary to get your first reproductions looking the way you want them to look. After we finish playing around with your first sample piece and you decide to go ahead with a couple of actual production pieces, you will be charged in accordance with the price list below.
Also, when we've gone through as many "Test Molds" as needed and you call the piece "FINISHED" that last mold becomes your "First Production mold." Using that mold we will pour a couple more copies for us to use for making additional molds, they are (if you will) "Second Generation Masters," using them to to make additional production molds allows us to return the original master engraving back to you, so in addition to the reproductions you order, you will still have the original engraving to sell. I assure you there is virtually no loss of detail in the reproductions created from a mold that was made using your original master engraving and those that are made using a "Second Generation mold."
ALL OF THIS and NOW YOU CAN TRY IT FOR FREE
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Please E-mail any questions you have.
Preparation of your master engraving that we will be producing molds of.
There are basically 2 types of molds, "Flat Back" molds and "Double Sided" molds. Also, when we make reference to "Test Molds" and "Production Molds" there is actually no difference in them, the same process, mold material and polymer are used for both. When you tell us the master needs no further work, that's when the molds are referred to as "Production Molds." It's just the terminology we use.
Flat Back Molds
This is the way I want you to do your first
"FREE Sample Mold."
A flat back mold is simply a mold of a piece that is flat or mostly flat on the front and will have a flat back when finished. To create a reproduction of this type of piece. We like the Master engraving to be approximately 3/16" to 1/4" thick, even though the reproductions may end up at only 1/8" thick when finished. If you're using a piano key, you will need to glue something to the back to bring it to the minimum thickness, making sure the glue comes out to the edge around the entire perimeter so there is no gap between the piano key and the backing that the mold material can seep into. You don't need to sand and polish the backs of flat back pieces because there is always a thin layer of mold material that seeps under the edges of the master in the mold form which will have to be scraped off before removing the master engraving from the mold, this process will leave scratches on the back of the master. The front and the sides of the piece must have a HIGH GLOSS FINISH and must be free of any sanding marks, etc, otherwise our process will pick them up. The edge between the front and sides of the master should be rounded slightly, this reduces the chance of tiny little air bubbles being trapped along a sharp edge. Please keep your first test piece around 1-1/2" square or if round, 1-1/2" in diameter, give or take a little.
If your design requires a "DOMED FRONT" your finished per piece cost will be higher than a piece that has a flat or mostly flat front, because this type of piece requires much more hand work to finish, When preparing your domed front blank please make it with at least a 1/8" vertical sides, this will reduce the amount of time required to finish the piece. See the pricing chart below.
Double Sided Molds
Being able to do Double sided molds allows you to create 3 dimensional pieces such as Bear claws, Feathers and Arrowheads like the one in this photo or like our "Forever Frog." Also, several of our Event Medallions were done in double sided molds with the image on the front and the event information on the back.
When creating a 3 dimensional piece that will require a double sided mold, there are
2 very important things to consider,
1 - You will need to make a funnel on what is usually the top of the piece. In the photo to the right, the portion above the dark line is the funnel portion. On this piece I used Corian and the funnel was carved as part of the piece, at the point where the funnel transitions into the arrowhead (the dark line) I carved the piece to 1/6" thick or less, when the piece is poured and inked the funnel is broken off and the the top of the arrowhead is trimmed to remove any rough edges and resemble flint chips. In the Shell piece below, I carved the shell out of ivory, then I drilled a small hole in the top of the piece and carved a funnel out of Plexiglas to fit in the hole.
2 - We have to consider the shape of the piece for all double sided designs and its position in the mold so the air can escape when pouring. In the photo of the mold above you can see grooves cut into the mold on both sides at the top of the arrowhead and on the half of the mold underneath there is a groove coming from the tip of the arrowhead which also goes to the top, these are called vent sprues. When we pour the polymer into the mold these vents allow the air to escape. If you plan on doing a double sided design please let us know and we can help you with the position of the piece in the mold as well as where best to place the funnel and vent sprues.
Some pieces like the Sm. Fox Oval, Sm. Eagle Oval, Lil' Backup Angels and a couple more, look like they are Flat Back pieces, however, they all are actually domed on both sides, similar to the shape of a magnifying glass which is thicker in the middle and thin around the perimeter. They all required a double sided mold and a thin & wide pouring funnel. We would prefer you stay away from this shape, they require a lot more time to remove the mold parting line from around the edges and re-polish them.
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| CUSTOM CASTING - "TEST MOLD / PRODUCTION MOLD" FEES
The first "TEST MOLD" on each new design will ALWAYS be FREE
Type of Mold
Open Face Mold
(flat back designs)
See "Description of sizes" below
MORE PRODUCTION MOLDS
The last mold (Test Mold) we produce and you don't make any further changes on the Master Engraving, will actually become your first Production Mold and it will be charged to you as a production mold. Molds wear out, or burn out over time, this is caused by the heat generated from the curing of the Polymer Resin, double sided molds wear out faster because the heat can't escape as much as in open face molds. Small and large open face molds may produce as many as a hundred or more pieces before they burn out, whereas large double sided molds may produce 60 or 80 pieces. When we go into production with one of your pieces we strongly recommend you invest in a couple more production molds, if you only have 1 mold, we will only be able to produce 4 to 6 reproductions a day, we have to let the molds rest a bit after a few pours to give them a chance to cool down, otherwise they can become a little distorted.
NOTE: We require a 30% deposit with the order, which is based on the estimated final cost.
A deposit WILL NOT be required on the TRY IT FOR FREE offer.
NOTE: When you are preparing a piece for an open face mold we prefer
| DESCRIPTION OF MOLD SIZES - w/Links to individual designs for viewing.
||Similar in size to our, Rose Heart, Wolf Face & Sm. Bobwhite & more
||Similar in size to our Howling Wolf, Eagle Fluff, Grizzly Foot & more
|This would be a piece similar to the "Portrait of a Friend" on our Portrait page. The maximum size of a piece to fill the mold form would be approximately, 2" to 2-1/4" wide by 3" to 3-1/4" lomg and Approx. 1/4" thick.
you prepare it with a flat or mostly flat front as well, you can do a "Domed Front" piece,
however your cost per piece will be higher.
Also, the front edge
should be slightly rounded to reduce the chances of small bubbles being
trapped along a sharp edge as they sometimes do.
- For a limited time we are offering FREE Test Molds.
- To help get you started we will give you as many test molds as it takes for you to be happy with the results. We will make the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and if needed more test molds until you are satisfied with the results, we will do all of this for FREE. This will help familiarize you with "The Working In The Blind" concept.
- Each time you send us your master engraving we will make a mold, pour a couple of copies, ink them and return them to you along with the master engraving. Then using the inked copies as reference, you can do additional work on the master and send it back to us for another test mold.
- Even if it takes 3, 4, 5 test molds or more, they will all be FREE until you decide the engraving is done, then if it is a piece you will be producing, that last mold will become a "Production Mold" and
you will be charged in accordance with the chart above, however, If it is just a doodle piece to see if you like the quality of our reproductions, they will all be FREE.
- We will not determine when one of your designs is ready for production, you will have to make that decision.
- I think you will be surprised at how quickly you will catch on to "working in the blind," Once you catch on you will be able to go into procduction quicker.
CUSTOM CASTING - Your cost for "EACH REPRODUCTION"
Flat Back Pieces
|$ 3.90 ea.
||$ 4.40 ea.
||$ 4.90 ea.
|$ 4.35 ea.
||$ 4.85 ea.
||$ 5.40 ea.
Flat Back Pieces
|$ 4.95 ea.
||$ 5.70 ea.
||$ 6.45 ea.
NOTE: Flat back pieces with domed fronts require more hand work which are reflected in the higher cost per piece above. If you must have a domed front please prepare your blank with at least 1/8" vertical sides, this will reduce the amount of hand sanding required. Your finished pieces will have approximately 1/16" sides
The retail prices we charge for our designs of equal size are, $15 for the small, $20 for the large and $25 for the extra large. Check out the "Description of Sizes" above. Also, check out our "Sales Examples" above to see the income potential.
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Please E-mail any questions you have.
|MINIMUM ORDER QUANTITIES
- After we've gone through the "Test Mold" phase and you've decided the master engraving needs no further work, at your direction we will start producing your first batch of Reproductions of that design.
- Once you decide no additional work on the master engraving is necessary, you must return it to us for making additional production molds, if you decide you want to continue and pursue the reproduction market.
- The minimum order quantity for the first batch of any design is 30 PIECES.
- After the initial batch of 30 pieces, you can re-order in quantities of 15 pieces each time.
Not a get rich quick scheme but GOOD PROFIT MARGINS
- If you order 30 of the small Flat Back pieces @ $3.90, that's $117.00. and assuming you will want 4 production molds @ $25 ea. that's $100.00 for a total cost of $217.00. If you sell each piece for $15.00 (which is what we would sell them for) your total sales would be $450.00 for a gross profit of $233.00 or 100.07% but you still have the original engraving and 4 molds. The next time around you can order only 15 pieces @ $3.90 for a total cost of $58.50. When they're sold at $15.00 ea. your total sales would be $225.00 plus the $450.00 from the first 30 for total sales of $675.00. Your total gross profit would be $399.50 or 145% and I'll say it again....... You still have the 4 molds and the original engraving and your gross profit margin keeps going up.
BILLING / INVOICING
After the FREE introduction offer.
- We use PayPal for all invoicing.
- When we receive a Master Engraving we will determine what type and size of mold will be necessary.
- We will then send you an e-mail to let you know what the UP FRONT charges will be, if any, then on your approval we will send you a PayPal invoice for the mold fee, as well 30% of the first 30 piece order, or 15 piece re-order.
- When the invoice has been paid we will proceed with the "Test Mold" process. At any time during the "Test Mold" process you can tell us you have completed work on the Master Engraving, we will then proceed with the 30 Reproductions to complete your order.
- Prior to sending your order, we will advise you by e-mail that you will be receiving a PayPal invoice for the remaining 70% balance of your order. When that invoice has been paid, we will ship your order.
If you are doing a portrait of someone's loved one that has passed away, or a portrait of a baby, a dog, a horse, etc; when only a few pieces are needed, special pricing will apply but don't worry, we will work with you.
If you want to go after a project that involves hundreds of pieces, let us know and we'll work with you on that as well.
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WHAT WE DO FOR THESE PRICES.
Polymer resin is a finicky material to work with, especially in the summer time when the humidity is high, in liquid form it absorbs moisture like a sponge. When it does become contaminated the moisture shows up as tiny little dots all over the image which makes the piece unusable. Likewise, if you pour the polymer resin into the mold wrong, it will show up as a cluster of tiny little dots at the point the polymer first hits the face of the mold. We can't see either of these dot patterns until we ink the pieces and these little dots result in a loss of 5% to 10% of our production. We want you to receive only the best possible Reproduction we can produce, so we will do the inking, trimming, sanding and polishing of all the pieces before we send them to you. Therefore, you will receive pieces that are ready to drill for pendants and earrings, or to mount as broach pins, tie/lapel pins, etc. Also, if you do a arrowhead design, we won't wrap it with thread like our arrowheads are done, you can do whatever you want to do with them.
In my opinion The ink we use is the ABSOLUTE BEST, I will put it up against any ink other Scrimshanders are using. Some Scrimshanders guard the methods and materials they're using with their life, however, I believe in sharing the things I've learned over the years with others. Helping other artists improve their work, whether it's an original engraving or Reproduction, it will ultimately give more Scrimshaw customers a pleasant experience so they will come back to buy again, maybe from you or maybe from me. We buy "Speedball Super Black opaque India Ink," before they modernized their label, it was called "Speedball Dense Black Opaque India Ink," In my opinion it's the best possible ink to use for Scrimshaw, we buy it by the quart. We pour the ink into a small water color tub that's about 3" in diameter and 3/4" deep, as shown in the photo at the left. We let it sit over night for the liquid to evaporate off. The ink will get kind of a crust on it like on Jello when it gets old, or pudding. We then pour in a little more ink and mix it in with the gooey stuff and again let it sit out, we keep repeating this until the stuff in the little tub is about the consistency of tooth paste. When it gets a little to thick just pour in a little more ink and mix it up, I use a palette knife for mixing. I like to have the ink about 1/2" deep in the 3" tub, when the ink is at the right consistency it represents about 2 to 3 cups of the liquid ink. Most of the liquid has evaporated off but all of the lampblack pigment that was in the 2 or 3 cups is still in my tub, NOW THAT'S BLACK. We have tested our ink many different ways with many different chemicals and our ink WILL NOT WASH OUT, in fact, we guarantee it will not wash out. Let me assure you, it will not wash out of clothing either and that's the voice of experience talking. We will allow you to pass on this guarantee to your customers. We have replaced a couple of money clips where the image had worn off from carrying it in a pocket with loose change. We also replaced a couple pendants where the owners never took the pendant off for any reason.
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Below are just some excerpts I've gathered from here and there, as well as some random thoughts I thought you might be interested in reading.
A Scrimshander’s work is truly a labor of love but have you ever worked till the wee hours of the morning putting the finishing touches on a piece that should have been done a week ago? I think we have all done that at one time or another but if not, I think I would like to meet that Scrimshander whose judge of how long it will take to do a project that is 3rd, 4th, or 5th in line, apparently they have a better handle on time than what I do and maybe I could learn something from them.
We all strive to be the best we can be with every project we do and when the project is finished, we sit back in our chair, give the piece another good looking over and say to ourselves “It is Good, it is REALLY GOOD.” I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say, this scene plays out hundreds of times each day, at the work benches and kitchen tables of hundreds of really good Scrimshanders all over the world, unfortunately most of us will never be known, or at least not known well enough to demand the dollars our work is really worth, yet we keep trudging on.
The truth is, there are only a handful of Scrimshanders that are known well enough to be sought after by the handful of collectors who can afford their work. Don’t take me wrong but Scrimshanders like Gary Williams, Matt Stothart, Dale Fisk, Jim Clay and others are truly exceptional Scrimshaw artists and they’ve worked hard to attain the status they hold today but can their work be considered “True Scrimshaw”?
“True Scrimshaw.” Some collectors of Scrimshaw pay a lot of money for “True Scrimshaw,” which is often defined as "Scrimshaw done on Whale bone or ivory by Whalemen or Sailors in the 18th, 19th, or early 20th centuries," to those collectors anything else is “Modern Scrimshaw,” even the outstanding work of the Scrimshaw artists I mentioned above isn’t “True Scrimshaw,” to those collectors, it’s “Modern Scrimshaw.”
A Dirty Word. I know to some Scrimshanders “REPRODUCTION” is a dirty word and the Scrimshaw community has tagged them as “FAKESHAW. We’re all familiar with the “Barlow Reproductions,” he’s been around for a long time and you see his work everywhere, apparently he’s doing well with his Reproduction business. I know of at least 5 others that are actively doing Reproductions.
Who buys our Work? Other than our web site, eBay and a few dealers, we sell our Reproductions, (Fakeshaw as some would have it), at living history events in the Midwest. At these events we have thousands of people a day come in our shop to look at our products, I think I would be safe in saying that over 90% of them don’t care what the material is, they just want a good looking piece of artwork at a reasonable price. We do have someone now and then that wouldn’t buy anything because if it looks like ivory it has to be illegal, if you talked to them all day they wouldn’t change their mind. Then we have the occasional collector that looks around for awhile and tells us how impressed he or she is, then buys a few pieces for CHRISTmas gifts, or to set among their collection of "True Scrimshaw" and "Modern Scrimshaw."
"No more ivory.” We have all probably heard stories and read articles that suggest the current Scrimshanders are the last generation that will be able to carry on the art, at least on any kind of ivory. Assuming elephant ivory will never be deregulated and the supply of Elephant ivory already in the country is gone, this generation of Scrimshanders may indeed exhaust the supply of fossil ivories and after all, it is not a renewable resource. Even if we do use up all of the Elephant ivory and fossil ivories, I doubt that Scrimshaw as an art form will ever die away like it nearly did in the early 1900's. Scrimshanders are a persistent breed, they will always find something to scratch a picture into and with the advancements in technology there will surely be new materials developed for other intended uses in the not to distant future that Scrimshanders will find suitable and worthwhile to invest hours and hours of labor into to produce a finished piece of art that is equally as beautiful as one done on ivory. I’ve done a few pieces on “Corian,” a counter top material and I’ve seen the work of other Scrimshanders done on Corian as well. The Corian I've used is pure white but now Dupont is producing more ivory looking colors.
I wrote the paragraph above in 2011 it's now June of 2014 and with the proposed new regulations possibly banning interstate sale and transport of any kind of ivory and possibly even intrastate sale and transport, the statements in the paragraph above may just come to pass sooner rather than later. I can't imagine the task force President Obama put together would suggest leaving our current regulations as is, doing so wouldn't be very politically correct. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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