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Carving Soapstone


Sentient Primate

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Hello everyone,

 

:)

 

I've been giving some thought to the materials I might like to carve. I'm considering soapstone as a medium for a future projects, once I've developed my carving skills of course. Any advice you might like to give concerning working with that material would be much appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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  • 4 weeks later...

Steve,

 

It has been a long time since I worked in Soapstone (almost 50 years); however, I'll pass along what knowledge I have of the medium. Hopefully, another member of The Carving Path will enlighten both of us.

 

I used a hack saw to cut slabs from the chunck of Soapstone. Then I used a coping saw to cut a blank. I used a Dremel tool for carving. I also may have used files and an X-acto knife for carving. At that time I didn't have access to power saws.

 

I had no stone carving experience or training when I started. The first thing I notice was that the stone had a "grain" or fine fissures running through the stone. So, when I tried to carve a small penquin ( 2 to 3 inches high) I had problems with the beak. The same was true of my attemp to carve a stylized bird with a long thin neck that broke before the piece was completed. I think compact designs are the key to successful soapstone carving.

 

The few pieces that survived the carving process "fell to their death" from a knick-knack shelf in my room. In other words, small soapstone pieces are fragile.

 

Check out a book called " Direct Stone Sculpture" by Milt Liebson available from www.schifferbooks.com. I don't have a copy; however, the write up in their catalog sounds interesting. Also check out "Sculpural Pursuit" magazine and "Southwest Art" magazine. On the internet, try Googling "Inuit Carvings". These Eskimo people of Canada do some beautiful soapstone carvings. Also Google "Steve Kestrel" who does some beautiful stone carving.

 

Have fun with the soapstone. Please post your finished piece.

 

E George

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hello everyone,

 

:(

 

I've been giving some thought to the materials I might like to carve. I'm considering soapstone as a medium for a future projects, once I've developed my carving skills of course. Any advice you might like to give concerning working with that material would be much appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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Hi Steve:)

As you can see I have little experience with the computer but I do have some with soapstone:) I find that I work best with hand tools. It may take longer but I enjoy the feel of the stone. I started with just a pocket knife and now have an assortment of rasps and miniature chisels.

One of my carvings was a spider and as E George said it is a fragile medium, but if you take you time it can be very rewarding.

Enjoy and handle with care

Mojo

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