Stone Carving Tools
Stone carving Tools and techniques
Stone tarving tools are made of a piece of Carbon Temper Steel created in a special way so it can brake through a smooth or rough Stone surfaces.
Marble, Limestone, Sandstone, Alabaster, Granite or Soapstone, are some of the stones that can be shaped by striking them with different sizes of tools; such as a hammer. Depending on how much force you want to transfer through the head of the hammer, will determine how much stone you can remove. The bigger the hammer used, the bigger the impact; and the bigger the piece of stone that can be removed...
This group of Modern Stone Carving Chisels are called: Claw Chisels; and are used for carving any type of Stone...
In Prehistoric time, humanity created an image that reflected an event or something that interested them... The prehistoric Artist tried different objects as tools to carve in the stone surface; such as a Rock rubbing against another Rock, creating the carvings we see today in the prehistoric caves or archaeological pieces in museums. In prehistoric time, man discovered different metals, like Copper, Bronze, Gold and Iron. Artist's used these types of metals to create stone Sculpturing tools, although the results improved with time these metals weren't hard enough and when used; they crumbled. Even though these tools weren't ideal, they still created art pieces we find today in prehistoric caves or in museums around the world...Humanity never gave up searching for new metals to use as tools, and with new discoveries of different types of Steel; the game chage...
Around 1700 BC, Hittites civilization discovered Iron and used it to create Stone Sculpturing Tools...
How the Stone Carving Chisels were Developed, True History? Less See...
The history of the Hittites is quite mysterious, we know that their empire was one of the most important in Mesopotamia. The Hittites were very skillful in the construction of chariots, spears and tools. They become the leaders of the Iron Age.
Hittites used a simple melting furnace to melt the iron. With this, they were able to forge spears blades and tools like Stone Carving tools. This knowledge comes from findings reflected in archaeological discoveries, like stone sculptures that were created by the Artist of this civilization. With the new discovery of forged tools and spears made of Iron, and being harder than bronze, copper or gold, the Hittites established their military superpower of the Near East and were able to compete with the Roman Empire; as well as the Vikings and Celtic civilizations...
Hittites became a great empire with the creation of tools made out of Iron and trading these creations with other people throughout the Mediterranean and Egypt.
This information is just for us to get a better understanding how stone Carving Tools and techniques were developed through the periods of time and through all civilization. Maybe this will change how we see our tools today and have a better understanding about the tools available to us in the market. So, In order to create well malleable and in particular hardenable steel, the amount of carbon content is crucial. A good tool has to contain between 0.2 to 2 % of carbon steel. With this quality of carbon, the tool will have a good edge when it is sharpened.
So, In order to create well malleable and in particular hardenable steel, the amount of carbon content is crucial. A good tool has to contain between 0.2 to 2 % of carbon steel. With this quality of carbon, the tool will have a good edge when it is sharpened.
What is the best steel to created stone carving tools?
To create this particular quality of Steel, we have to have good control in the furnace of the Iron Ore. The amount of fuel and how much air is getting into the ore also plays a part in the process of melting the steel, or it being refined. Sometimes, if the results are very porous or contaminated with slag, the steel needs to be cleaned by doing the forging process again.
Carbon steel is the best Steel to create carving tools, such as a wood carving chisel. This tool needs the razor edge to cut wood and easy and nicely. In order to have this type of quality, the steel needs to contain 0.2 to 1.7 % carbon and none or only small amounts of alloying elements. This means it's not stainless but during the hardening process, it forms a very fine structure of grained martensite needed to give the property what it needs to become great steel and it also helps it obtain a good sharpening edge...
With that said, let's go over the modern stone carving chisels available around the world.
What tools are used to carve in stone?
When you have in front a great piece of marble waiting to be transformed into amazing Sculpture; just grab your hammer and Chisel and bring the Stone into LIFE...
What kind of chisel do you use for stone carving?
Whach this video to know all about Stone Carving Tools...
These are the best stone Carving Tools to create amazing sculptures...
We use the art of sculpture to tell others what is happening or the artist's opinion about an event. And by using different mediums like Stone Carving, Bronze Casting, Wood Carving, Metal Casting, Clay Modeling or Oil Paints, the artist is able to create his own history, his own perspective of what he wants you to see or feel...The two most important elements of any sculpture are space and mass, they are essential to create a traditional sculpture three Dimensional space.
The mass of a sculpture is the solid material that is contained by its surfaces...
The material forms the sculpture and moves through space in a solid form or an empty space to create the appearance of the sculpture...
To create a beautiful Stone Sculpture you are going to need some particular tools that will cut or break through the hard surface of a stone such as Carrara Marble, Alabama Marble, Limestone, sandstone, Travertine, Granite and many more...
To begin Stone Sculpturing you don't need too many tools. You could start with just a hammer and a hand point tool, with those two carving tools you could rough the entire stone carving, but you are going to need different tools to clean the rough surface.
After you rough out the sculpture with a Point chisel, you move to next chisels, the best one to use next will be the Claw chisel and when your done with that one, you will use the flat chisels to finished...
lets go over all the stone carving tools available to you.
Watch this video and see how the Stone Caring Tool was developed...
What are the secrets of the Hand Set stone carving tools?
Hand Set tools were created to break pieces of stone by striking them with a hammer.
Hand set stone carving Chisels
They are the great stone carving chisels that will remove a lot of material fast by using a hammer of three to four pounds. You will apply this tool to a flat surface of the stone, and with the entire flat surface at the end of the chisel against the stone surface.
You can also cut the stone first with the circular saw to help the stone break better...
Hand chopper stone carving tools
Hand Chopper is a great tool to create a straight edge in any type of stone when struck with the proper size hammer, this type of tool is preferred by most stone Masons when they need that nice and clean edge on any job like creating the rock face effects...
This stone tool could be used for regular flat stone surfaces or polished surfaces.
Hand Tracer stone carving tools
Hand Tracer: the main function of this tool is to create a straight line across the surface of any type of stone or with the strike of a hammer break the desire piece of stone off. This tool is also used to mark a line across the large stone block, then using the line as a guide to drill holes. The purpose of the holes is to ease the split of the stone, then using feathers and plugs the stone should split along the line formed using the hand traced stone mason tool.
With this type of handset stone carving tool you are able to rough out big amounts of stone that you don't need in your project faster, and after you remove most of the stone by using these type of carving chisels you proceed to the next type of stone carving tool to work the sculpture surface to the next stage.
The secrets of the Hand Point stone carving tools
Hand Point tools are the hard working tools used to rough out the entire sculpture.
Point Chisels: After taking most of the stone off by using the stone mason tools, the next type of stone carving tools used are the most traditional ones; like the point chisel. These tools are known through the ages of Sculpting techniques and used by. Great artist like Antonio Canova, Bernini, Michelangelo. These artists cleaned the entire sculpture with the point chisel. In that era there wasn't any electric power tools, or fancy grinders or saws to get the job done, so those great artist used the Point Tool to do the work.
The point chisels or punch is the tool the has the hardest job in the sculpture, you could remove a lot of material fast with the right size point chisels. They come in different sizes from 3/8" to 1". The 1" is a great size because it fits great in your hand and will resist the impact of the four pound stone carving hammer. The manufacturer such as Trow and Holden can; by request, make an extra long point chisel that will work fantastic on Marble or Limestone. So, by using the four pound hammer against your point chose, this will mushroom the head toward the point. If you are going to use the tool day after day, it is recommended to get the extra long tool and purchase more than one because the tip could break with the hard work and you don't want to wait 4 to 10 days to get another one like it happened to me...
The point stone carving tools are manufactured in carbon steel as well as carbide steel. The carbide is recommended best for granite but could be used in any type of stone.
The point chisels will give you the chance to sketch the entire sculpture, remember that if is to close to the finish surface; especially in white marble, it will leave a white mark called bruising of the stone. So you will need to dress it up in the finishing steps of your stone sculpture.
You could purchase a pneumatic point chisel for your pneumatic hammer as well.
Through my experiences, I used a pneumatic 1/4" hand chisels that I filled with extra bracing to create the shape of a bullet. This means change the straight edge for a really curved bull nose, this will break through the stone surface very well; stones such as Limestone or Marble.
Claw stone carving tools
The claw stone tool is created to break through the stone surface due o to its many points on the cutting edge...
Claw Stone Tools are the cleaning machine; you could imagine that they are a multiple point chisels put together so they can break through the stone, they are used most after the rough surface is created by the point chisels or the hand sets...
They come in different sizes and styles, they come with a small claw or a large claw. The larger claw has a fine point that will break through the stone fantastically because of the many points in the edge that will come in contact with the stone. Usually the carbide will resist more and used for harder work than the carbon steel, so the larger and the more pointed the claws are, the faster it will take off large scale pieces of stone. But in doing so, will create a rough surface, that is why the next type of tool with a less pointed tip or flat edge will help get real close to the final surface of your Sculpture.
These tools are made for pneumatic hammers, steel hammers, as well as Nylon mallets or wood mallets.
Wood mallets or nylon chisels have a particular head that is rounded, this is to prevent the chisels from damaging the nylon or wood mallet. Because they have bigger round surfaces in the head to prevent any damage, you will have normal minimal damage when used for long periods of time.This tool comes in different sizes from real small 1/4" to 3 1/2" you can purchase these tools in carbon tempered steel or carbide steel.
Carbide steel usually holds the cutting edge longer and will have a longer life if it is used properly.Even though carbide is a hard steel, it could break as well, but some manufacturers will guarantee their tools for life...
Flat stone carving tools
Flat Chisels will create a smooth surface in the stone sculpture at the final stage of your project.
Flat Stone Tools are the surface creators, it will bring the sculpture to life...This tool will clean the marks of the claw s chisels or point chisels and will give that final look to your sculpture. You could revive and finish your sculpture with the flat chisels; depending on what type of stone you're working with.
If its marble or granite, you could give it a real polish surface using a water grinder with the polished pads that they come with. They also have different grids starting from 40 grid up to 4000 and even up to 6000 grid.
These types of chisels are manufactured in different sizes and they are available in carbon temper steel or carbide.
Some manufacturers will make this tool extra long; in particular the Italian makes.
The flat chisels are made to use with the pneumatic hammer, and for nylon or wood mallets as well.
Bull Nose stone carving tools
Bull nose chisel are design to create any type of curve in the stone surface like a gauge.
Bull Nose stone tools will replace; in wood carvings, the job of a gauge chisel but you could also buy gauges for stone carving.
For some reason its easier to use the bull nose in stone and its more traditional than the gauge.
The name was given to this tool, I think, because its resembles es to a bulls nose.
These chisels are designed to create any type of curves on the stone surface, but you can also use gauges as well. Most of the time the bull nose is used instead of the gauges.
They also come in different sizes and different curves as well.
If you need to create a bull nose you could use a flat chisel and create the arc with the grinder.
They are manufactured in carbon steel or carbide as well.
Gauge stone carving tools
Stone Carving gauge used to create any type of arc or curve on the stone surface
Stone Carving gauges are created for the same type of job as the bull nose; to create any type of arc or curve on the stone surface. There are not too many in the market because they are difficult y to produce, it's especially hard to give the carbide the shape of the curve of the gauge This makes it difficult to find in different sizes. But if you need some, there are sculptors that use a wood carving gauge for stone carving.
You will lose the sharp cutting edge created for wood carving, but they work very well for stone, especially for soft stones like Limestone, Alabaster, Soapstone...
Fist Tale stone carving tools
Fish Tale Chisels main purpose is to reach difficult areas were the straight chisels can't.
Fish Tale stone tools
Fish Tale stone tools are created with a special cutting edge in the shape of a fish tale, the main purpose is to help clean or work in areas that you need using the corner of your chisels. They are manufactured in different types and styles, for example; claw chisel or flat chisels...
Bend stone carving tools
Bend Stone Carving Chisel main purpose is to reach difficult area were the straight chisels can't.
Bend Stone Tools are created especially to carve an area that is not possible to reach with a regular flat or a claw chisels.
There are not many in the market, but you could make your own by using your torch and heat the body of your tool in the desired spot to bend .
You need to consider that the temper of your tool is going to be loose its strength, so you need to re-temper it again, make sure you choose a long chisel to start with.
If you are using carbide, be aware they could resist the heat. Don't cool off the chisels after bending, don't dip in any cool liquid or the carbide will break or crack. Sometimes you will not notice it until you are using it, and a piece comes of. This goes as well for sharpening, don't cool the chisels in any liquid if the tip of the chisels is Carbide.
If it's carbon steel you need to dip it in a cool liquid, if not, you will burn or lose your temper edge…
Power chisels, like the pneumatic air chisels are available in many different sizes and styles. This type needs an entire block, so get the best information on it. This blog is dedicated to these types of tools.
click in this link to learn more about Pneumatic Stone tools.
Pneumatic Stone Tools video: where you will find what kind and what types of chisels are available and how to use them ….
pneumatic stone carving tools watch this YouTube Video
Pointing Machine is the best tool to transfer your clay or plaster model into your stone block without problems. Watch this video to learn all about how this device works and how you can make your own.
So what is the pointing machine ?
The Pointing Machine is a great tool for stone carving or wood carving. Its function is to take point measurements from a clay or plaster model to copy into a block of stone like Marble, Limestone, Sandstone or any type of Woodblock.
The best pointing machine will help the artist to create an easy and faster Sculpture s by using a model that you could make by using Styrofoam with clay or plaster...
There are not many pointing machines to choose from. Since the old ones are not available, they look like this one I created maybe you could find one in an antique shop or auction.
That is why you would love to learn how to make a pointing machine, you could also purchase an Italian make and add a pipe support or body; like this one, then adapt the arm into it. I think it would work better without the wood body though..
what is the best stone for carving?
Sandstone Natural Stone
sandstone is a good stone to carve is soft and is available in different colors from red tones to gray, this natural stone is very abrasive and is often used for sharpening stones, when you carve it you need to maintain your stone carving chisels well sharp all times to work best.
The Sandstone has silica, in other words, the main ingredient is silica. When you are exposed for a long period of time to a lot of dust, it could affect your lungs with a disease call Silicosis.
The Lungs are not able to break the dust particles and will affect your respiratory system. So, if you are working with Sandstone it's a good idea to wear a mask at all times...
one of the best and easiest stone to carve is Limestone because is soft and have a greater resistance to the severe weathe, is a great stone to use the ingredients are Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of the mineral Calcite and it does not affect you too badly but if you are producing a lot of dust all ways wear a mask as well...
Marble is great to work as well it has almost the same properties of limestone. So is best to take care of yourself just used common sense, especially when you are cutting the stone with a dry saw without water or using this type of tool are the ones that produce the most dust. Air hammers will not produce in that quantity...
What kind of protection to use with the pneumatic hammers?
Anti vibration gloves
You will need Anti Vibration Gloves.
They are gloves that have been created specially to absorbed the shock or vibration of your pneumatic hammer, usually, are made of two layers of leather and in between, they have a thick layer of silicone rubber that will absorb the vibration of your tools and will protect your hands from harm.
This equipment will prevent you front having a white finger syndrome that consists in bad circulation in your finger after using your pneumatic hammer for long periods of time without any vibration gloves, this equipment is impresindible you should not work without them! I did for almost two years I was not having the knowledge of how necessary they were I used all the times and my hands are great...
You are going to need ear protection because the pneumatic hammer produces a lot of high pitch noise that could injure you hiring. Used a good equipment.
The Pneumatic Air Hammer is going to break stone pieces very fast and those pieces of stone will fly in the air in all different directions so your eyes are the window of your souls and they are very important. Get some eye protection they will prevent any injury to your eyes...
Just be safe and Created Amazing Sculptures or Architecture Carvings or Mason Work...