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Scrimshaw is the old whaling art of engraving intricate patterns and images into ivory. If you have some old piano keys hanging around, you can make some interesting art pieces using this scrimshaw tutorial by Paul Baxendale of Providence, RI. Growing up I used to go to Mystic Seaport and learn all about whaling culture, and the scrimshaw and blacksmith stops were right up there in coolness factor with the printing press and ship rigging for me.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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  1. [...] craft use of any kind of ivory is potentially controversial.  We have covered at least one ivory-related project, before, about the use of antique ivory piano keys in scrimshaw, but generally we have steered [...]