Flenser Scrimshaw Item in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Flenser Scrimshaw

Distal flensers are dangerous beasts native to the Distal Tesseract. Among their many unusual qualities, these massive omnivores have exoskeletons comprised of thick, sturdy chitin rendered an iridescent dark red by the inclusion of silicates and ferrous compounds. Whether through scavenging, hunting, or confrontations with these uncommon creatures, sections of this unusual material sometimes fall into the hands of artisans who are capable of turning it into beautiful works of art. This art of polishing, carving, and etching flenser chitin is known as 'flenser scrimshaw.'

Manufacturing process

Artists typically treat the material in a similar manner to semi-precious stone. Flenser chitin is extremely durable, but polishes well and takes on an irridescent, translucent lustre when properly worked. Intricate scenes or statuary forms can be achieved by chiseling, knurling, acid etching, and wearing away with abrasive compounds. Flenser scrimshaw is not typically painted, but inks and pigments can be worked into the seams to enhance the apparent depth of a piece. Heat treatment is not advised, as this often causes the reddish color to fade and the structure to crack, but exposing a thick chunk to static electric charges and then discharging it can create interesting branching patterns within the core.


Flenser scrimshaw is most common among Vale and Blackthorn Verdials because of these peoples' relatively close proximity to the Distal Tesseract where the flensers live. For this reason, most works of flenser scrimshaw take notable inspiration from the Forgist Deco art movement. Small pieces are sometimes exported for sale to Rostran collectors, who often see parallels in the development of the craft with their own native hardwood carving industries, such as the creation of traditional oar-markers. Pieces created as trophies or remembrances of surprise encounters are more commonly found among members of the Burning Hearts Social Club and 1st Expeditionary Marines who are more likely that most regular people to encounter the beasts.

Flenser chitin is difficult to acquire safely, though it can sometimes be found shed and cast off after the end of the winter hibernation period. Even so, flenser burroughs indicate the recent presence of an agressive, territorial omnivore that can spit acid, meaning that even these harvesting activities entail a degree of calculated risk. This risk, alongside the comparative isolation of the flenser's habitats from the homes of most sentient species mean that pieces of flenser scrimshaw are uncommon on the open market. The rarity of a piece scales with its size, as, the larger the piece to be carved, the larger the donor that cast it off.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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