The Scratchboard Tools

A number of years ago my wife and I were taken by the scratchboard work of Heather Lara that was on display at the Orange County fair.  We contacted her and were fortunate to have her agree to do a commission of one of our cats, Buster.

Heather was great about sharing the process she goes through to make her award-winning works, and I couldn’t help but be surprised at the tool she primarily used, a #11 Xacto blade.  As a woodworker, I know that having good tools for the job can make the work more enjoyable and I thought I could make her some alternative tools for scratchboard.  I sent her some samples, got feedback and repeated this process a couple of times until coming up with something she liked.  Heather took some of the tools I had made to a scratchboard conference and some other artists took notice and contacted me about making tools for them.

Since making those first tools I have gained a better understanding of the variety of scratch patterns that some artists are looking for.  This has led to making tools out of both carbide and ceramic with different types of cutting edges and handles.  I welcome requests or comments about better tools for your particular needs.  I will do my best to make the tools that support scratchboard because I think it is an wonderful art form and enjoy contributing to it.

Most of the tools I make have fine points or edges that can easily be damaged if dropped.  The carbide tips can be replaced and I will do this for you if you send it back to me – unfortunately not so with the ceramic ones.  If requested in the order notes, I will gladly machine a flat section on the handle so it does not roll so easily – especially useful when you have a hard floor under your work area.

My thanks go to Heather, Jonathan Webb and other artists who have suggested improvements to the tools for the benefit of all the artists that use them.