Beauty from Scratch

About Beauty From Scratch

Custom Wood CarvingBeauty from Scratch is basically me -- Ben Hansen, formerly Thomas Josiah Dimsdale (SASS 3930) when I was a cowboy shooter.

I retired in 2010 as executive editor of Prescott Newspapers Inc. where I spent the past 13 years of nearly 50 years in the newspaper business.

Ben Hansen - Wood CarvingsI came to woodcarving and scrimshaw through my love of the old west and cowboy action shooting. I have done my own leather work most of my life, and I made all my own rigs when I got into cowboy shooting. I also admired fancy grips and fancy guns, so I started studying scrimshaw and woodcarving. I use a combination of traditional tools and ultra-high speed tools in doing both.

Since coming to Prescott in 1997, I have been a member of The Prescott Gang, a group of gun craftsmen who each year put together a one-of-a-kind gun-holster-presentation box package which the Happy Trails Foundation raffles off to benefit the youth home that Roy Rogers founded near his ranch in Apple Valley, CA. Since their inception, the packages, which we call The Silver Screen Legends series, have brought in more than $100,000 each and have become the top source of money for the foundation.

Silver Screen Legends IV was a homage to the Lone Ranger, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean and Guy Madison. Silver Screen Legends XII, is an homage to Wild Bill Elliott.

Scrimshaw had its beginnings on the whaling ships of the Nineteenth Century. To relieve boredom, sailors would scratch images into whales' teeth and bone and then fill in the scratches with lamp black to complete the image. Scrimshaw is especially attractive on ivory or imitation ivory handgun grips, but it also looks good on real or imitation mother of pearl.

Gunstock carving is a longtime tradition in Europe, but it also appeared on elaborate muzzle-loaders and fancy presentation guns in this country. But with the advent of ultra- high-speed carving tools, it is becoming very popular in the U.S. Hunters can have their favorite game animals, images of loved ones or pets - really almost anything - on their rifles along with ornate, European fish-scale or basket-weave checkering. Almost any image you can conceive, you can put into relief on a gunstock or handgun grip.

You can have everything on your handgun grip from your initials in your own handwriting to card spots(hearts, clubs, etc.) to eagles, steer heads or European fish-scale Checkering. I also do traditional diamond checkering at 20 lines per inch.

Each piece, even if it comes from our library of uncopyrighted art work, is unique and handmade. I also draw in pencil and charcoal, so I can create images for you.

In 2001, I completed the three-semester firearms engraving program at Yavapai College under Firearms Engraving Guild member Rachel Wells and added that certificate to my skill set.

Each bears my "BRH' signature. I look forward to working with you to make each of your guns a unique work of art that shoots.

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