Once you’ve obtained the ivory and practiced, its time to speed up the process.
1) The first thing I bought was a Scrimshaw stippling machine made by Randy Philips of “Elite Engineering “. It works like a tattoo gun but has only one needle – as you can see in the picture. The hand piece is like a big biro pen and there’s a foot control to start and stop, just like a sewing machine. The speed and power of the needle is controlled with the two knobs on the control box. This particular Scrimshaw stippling machine was manufactured in the US and runs on 110v, so I had to take it to an electrical engineer and have it changed to 240v for Australia.
The stippling machine changed my whole outlook on scrimshaw. It doesn’t make you a better Scrimshaw artist but it definitely makes you faster. One well known Scrimshaw artist told me that without it he would have given up years ago, but instead he now does larger, more intricate display pieces. With the stippling machine, I look for the biggest pieces of ivory I can find and choose scenes with the most detail, just because I know that each piece takes much less time. Also, because I don’t Scrimshaw for a living, it doesn’t matter how long a piece takes and if I get sick of it I can stop, sometimes for months.
If you buy one of Randy’s machines, order extra springs and needles; they don’t last forever.
A helpful hint: I could never figure out why the hand piece would play up every now and then; it would change speed and then just stop. Eventually I bought another hand piece and even a replacement solenoid before realising that it was a simple fix.
1/ Inside the hand piece, a solenoid pushes the needle down and a spring pushes the needle back up. After the spring gets pushed back and forth hour after hour, it starts to shorten. To fix this, take the spring out and stretch it a little. Then it should work fine again.
2/ Also make sure the needle is perfectly straight if it is bent just a little it will stick and slow down and behave erratic.
3/ Also the piston that pushes the needle in and out needs a drop of oil on its shaft occasionally, otherwise it will stop working.
Here’s where you can buy Randy’s Scrimshaw stippling machine: firstname.lastname@example.org Ph 909 627-3737 USA
In October 2013 the price was: $625.00 US.