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About

An Extraordinary Stop on Your Nantucket Visit


Adorned with the image of a leather punch, the carved wooden sign outside the door leaves no ambiguity about the nature of this shop. As you walk in, the first thing you notice is the rich, musky smell of cowhide. Then, your eyes fixate on illuminated display cases featuring curiously intricate, nautical-themed items, belt buckles, cufflinks, money clips, and more. You've arrived at Craftmasters of Nantucket.

Craftmasters is one of the oldest shops on the island, featuring one-of-a-kind scrimshaw created by owner and resident David Masters. Using premium prehistoric Wooly Mammoth ivory and oil-based paints, Masters creates timeless, heirloom-quality pieces that make fine collectibles as well as distinctive gifts. Beyond a unique selection of scrimshaw gifts and accessories, Craftmasters offers:

  • Leather specialty goods (coats, bags, wallets, belts, planners)
  • Men's footwear
  • Sterling silver and 14K gold jewelry
  • Collectibles by American artisans
  • Exquisite hand-blown glass

Our part in scrimshaw history

Although David Masters had always dabbled in art, he found his true calling in 1973 after trying his hand at leather etching and engraving. David loved the blend of precision and creativity and soon made a natural segue into scrimshaw. He opened Craftmasters in 1976 to share his artistry and vision with the world.

The attention to detail and passion inherent in David's earliest pieces are still evident today. As a longtime Nantucket resident, he drew inspiration from all around him - the sea, nature, and history. Each scrimshaw piece was painstakingly handcrafted by David on-site, and many more are done today by some of the best scrimshanders in the country. He was the only scrimshander on the island to infuse color into his work, using an 1800s-era technique of rubbing oil paints into the etched design, which has been adopted by modern-day scrimshanders today.