Tips For Carving Stone

Helpful Hints
Hand with a wax with a lion carved from soapstone

Carving soapstone can be both fun and a great accomplishment!  Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

Three progress pictures of carving a lion from a soapstone
Two progress pictures of carving a seal from a soapstone

1. Always use water when you carve: it is the best way to avoid stone dust!  If you can’t use water or your piece of stone is too big… you can set up a vacuum cleaner (shop vac) that has a paper cartridge in it and put the hose end near where you carve.  You should also wear a dust mask if carving dry.  Soapstone is made up of mostly talc but does have other minerals in it.

2. Spend extra time making your animal round!  A few extra minutes rounding the body makes a huge difference in the appearance at the end.  You can always do some details then go back to rounding the body before you start sanding.

Three progress pictures of carving an orca from a soapstone

3. When you wax your carving, try to get the excess wax off before it all drys.  Let the stone cool fully or run it under cold water to cool it quickly.  Then when you buff it your sculpture will get a high gloss.