Friday, July 26, 2013

Stone carving: 1) not what I remember..........

           I've done a few carvings over the years and a recently (a yr ago lol) I went out to one of the old mine around here and found some nice looking stone. So I had taken a file with me so as not to grab anything to hard as I don't want to spend a month of Sundays working on a piece. Well it all looked good on paper...but not so much in reality...grrrr....I thought it would be a nice revitalising break from painting...hmmm

So there I am with my selection of chisels' grinders, hammers, files, air-chisels ect... and I have this one huge grinder that I call the beast (when its on the shear power/cyn force of this thing is unreal (its almost scary), and feels like it could just fly away), it was out too. I have a good look at this rock and come up with an idea and start in or rather try....Everything I brought out moves from one of the table to the other as I try different tools on this piece of "soapstone" but to no serious consequence..  So I will have to get some softer stone and maybe I can convince someone to show me where the soft stuff is. I'm no expert but I do know enough to be dangerous apparently and all my initial tests made me think this was the stuff. The last couple of pieces i did were from found stone as well and I had no problem. The only thing that did work were my air hammer/chisel and the "beast" .....only problem is I have a steel cutting blade on the beast and it was out of balance to boot so it was a nightmare holding onto it. If I go with an actual pneumatic stone carving chisel  setup instead of my air hammer chisels my guess is it will work out better and I won't wreck the chisel lol, nor the (not yet acquired) mason blade for the beast. By the way, when the "steel" cutting blade (lead edge) came apart it caught me in the foot and leg so remember; don't wear sandals choose work boots, put your safety goggles on as I did...

In the end I've learned you need a high cfm compressor if your going to use air tools as air consumption is quite a bit (and that is the way to go imho). You also need a really good dust mask (or fresh-air mask) as soapstone can have fun things in it like asbestos and that's really bad to breath in. But so is any ground stone/rock dust...can you say silicosis of the lung...(not much fun).Having the right tools (pneumatic) titanium/or carbide grinding bits are a bit pricey but they are second to none! To be safe, pic stone from a reputable dealer so you don't have the "hard stone" issue I just had unless of course you know something about stone. If the stone had been as soft as I had tested/thought it was I would have had it roughed out in far less time than it took to write this..... Any thoughts on soapstone turning hard? is the answer store in water? if so does it need to be dark as well?

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