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Hi Woodworm,


I like the third piece. It is a nice bold design with plenty of texture. I also like the way the leaves jut out. That must have been tricky to do without any breakage.


It is unfortunate that the soapstone dust ruined your Dremel tool. Suggest that you look at the "Dust Collector" thread in the "Tools and Material" section. A good dust collector will reduce some of that dust and maybe save your power tools. Also maybe a flexible shaft tool with the motor hanging above the work area might help.


I'm using a Razaire 530 dust collector which is a Canadian product. I selected this brand and model based on info in the "Duct Collector" thread. I would also suggest a dust mask to protect your lungs if you are not already using one.


There is another TCP carver, Sentient Primate, who is also interested in working soapstone. I believe that he is in the UK.


My wife and I took the VIA train from Toronto to Edmonton in 2003 and joined a tour in Calgary. We stopped briefly in Winnipeg. We enjoyed Canada.


Have fun carving,


E George


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Hello Woodworm,


I am sorry that I did not respond to this post before. The month of May was quite busy for me. If you are considering replacing the Dremel tool with something, I suggest that you find a rotary tool that has the motor in the handpiece and is connected to the controller by a coiled electrical cord. This sort of tool is easier to control, and allows for finer detail.


Here is a question for the other stone workers, should one use water when carving soapstone with power equipment? That would keep the dust down for sure. Otherwise, E George has the right advice, to wear a mask and have adequate dust collection pulling the dusts produced away from your face and your tool.


Thank you for showing us what you did with the soapstone.




Is the middle piece with the rose made of two colors of stone, or is the difference in color due to how you handled the finishing of one area from the other?

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Thx for the feedback all.


E George glad you were able to visit.

I live just a good spit over the North Dakota border in Manitoba. (About 86 miles south of Wpg.)

The only real difference betwern here and the Dakotas is the temp is five degrees cooler and the mosquitoes have

larger inboard tanks.


Yes -- the dust is a misery to power tools with soapstone, I realized the problem and did switch to the flexshaft.

I cannot get new bearings but have been able to revive them with a good high quality oil. It still runs which is more than I can say for myself.


Hi Janel. Not to worry. We all get busy.

New and fancy tools like the beautiful work I see on this forum is something I drool over.

Maybe someday.


The difference in the color stems from using natural Watco Oil. I just wanted to see if the oil would change things up in respect to help highlight.

Not sure it worked that well.


And yes I do wear a mask. Some of the woods can be nasty on the lungs and sinuses as well.

Thx for your concerns.



The third piece -- I hope that you all do not mind if I share --


I made this from start to end for my one sister who has done a lot for a lot of people and never grumbled.

I knew how she felt inside rarely ever getting a thank you for the things she did. Yet, she carried on with her kindness.

I placed it into a small wooden box and on a piece of paper I wrote the following,



From the time the morning sun it rises

Till evening it sinks low


Keep this rose close near you

So you may feel it's glow


Let it then remind you

As it will always remind me


Of the good things that you've done

Of all the good things that you be


Then let this rose forever

Bind you close to me


Let it say I thank you

For the things you did and do


For each time I gaze apon a rose

I shall think of you

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Woodworm, that is a beautiful poem and message to your sister. Your thoughtful appreciation and gratitude will be expressed every time she sees and touches the rose. Thank you for sharing your feelings.



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Hi Woodworm:


I often feel like a beginner when I see the talent that posts to this site. I have been working with stone for a few years now. I have done a few soapstone pieces and tried power carving both dry and wet. With adequate water the bits becomes very aggressive with soapstone and are more difficult to control. Please be careful powercarving dry soapstone, I am not sure of the Brazilian stone but much of the Quebec stone is quarried close to where asbestos was mined for decades. I have always been careful when working soapstone to keep the dust controlled an out of the air.


I find soapstone is often soft enough that you can achieve fast results with just some knives (blades) and riflers. A neat trick when wet sanding is to use a shallow container large enough for the piece and partially fill it with water and then do your sanding moving your piece in and out of the water. With soapstone this works very quickly and you get to see the colours that will be once you get to your final polish stage. An old European carver taught me to finish soapstone by heating in the oven and then using paste wax while the stone is still hot.


I agree with e-George get a good dust collector soon and keep up the good work



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Thx for the very good advice in regards to working with soapstone. I never thought of wax. Sounds like the heat would draw it. (How hot ??) I'm thinking 90 / 150 degrees ?

I was unaware that there may be a relationship with asbestos. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

Not sure where the soapstone I have came from. I bought a block from Lee Valley.

I still have some soapstone that I had set on the back shelf for the reasons of the dust issue.

Once I get a few projects out of the way I may get back to it.


Seeing the works on this forum has humbled me to the point of where I seem to sit in awe at the beauty of the creations here.

Admittedly when I first viewed the many pieces here on the forum I felt like I should retire my tools.

But I quickly realized how foolish that would be.


So much to see, so much to learn, and the community here all helpfull and willing to share their good ideas and contructive criticism.

(Oh -- to have had the internet when I was six years old and to have been inspired by the works here -- mmm where would I be today.)

Although I love to carve in wood I did enjoy the soapstone.

I usually make my own accesories and I know I could make a good dust collector with quality filters.

I also have a moose antler that I have held back on as well for the same reasons.


Right now I am trying to finish a homemade four string banjo.

Once that is done -- it is time to shutdown and clean my shop up. I simply must get it back in order as I have totally lost control of it.

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Hi Woodworm,


Sorry I missed this at first. I quite like the designs.


I do quite a bit of stone carving, in various types of architectural carving stone, such as Indiana limestone and Tyndal stone. Although these stones are much harder, the same principals apply.


Soapstone, or steatite is more closely related to talc, and should always be carved with a mask, as has already been suggested. The dust can be quite toxic: talc hazards therefore I would recommend some sort of forced ventilation, combined with a top quality respirator (not just a dust mask) if you are going to be using any sort of power tools. I personally work with a full-face forced air respirator as well as a powerful dust extraction system, but I use it all day long, for weeks on end.


One of the advantages of soapstone, as you have noticed, is that it is soft enough to allow carving with a variety of tools. t is soft enough to be carved with steel stone carving tools, or even sturdy wood carving tools. This makes it an excellent starting stone for someone who is interested in exploring the medium. Lee Valley sells a relatively inexpensive set of Italian-made rifflers, which are not bad quality, and work very well on stone. Here is the link:riffler set I have a set in my studio, and they work well on limestone, so soaprstone should be no problem. Their shaping rasps: rsap set and detail rifflers: detail rifflers are also excellent.


The following image is a selection of the steel carving tools that I use for working with limestone:




All the best,



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Thx Phil.


I have a stack of Lee Valley catalogues covering a quite a few years.

My wife asked me why I don't throw some of them out. I could not see the look of "horror" on my face ,but i knew she could.

As i composed myself i quietly explained that these books are a wood workers porno and that they could only be thrown out when i was. I'm still here and so are the books. But i think it was a close one.


I do not know if i will ever get into carving stone or gemstone.

As i have stated i love to carve in wood and may get into soapstone.


I do have a large stone, i beleive it is amethist (s/p ??) Smaller stones like it are somewhat translucent when held up to the sun.

I am not sure where to post a picture of it maybe someone here can tell me.

It has been an ornament in my rock garden for as long as i remember.

And it may be of some interest to a stone carver.

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Hi Woodworm,


Tools and Materials is the place for now, since the stones are materials for carving.




"I do have a large stone, i beleive it is amethist (s/p ??) Smaller stones like it are somewhat translucent when held up to the sun.

I am not sure where to post a picture of it maybe someone here can tell me."

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Beautiful Woodworm! I love the first one; have you ever tried to carve a Cameo? Your technique is very similar to the Cameo carving technique. This piece is a challenge for a soft material like soapstone.

Here in Mexico, the lime stone carvers make their own tools with the blade of a hand saw because it is very hard steel, it hold a very good and sharp edge and lasts a long time. They take a piece of wood, make a cut in the middle and insert the blade and tight it with a cord.

And if you want to use a motor tool you have to use tungsten carbide, look for the ones for dentists they can be very helpful for details and the dust doesn't stick as much as it does on steel or diamond. For better results I will recommend you to get the dentist machine if you are willing to carve stones; for details is great and as it has a water spray integrated so you will have a clean work always with no dust.


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Thx Dante.


I had never considered carving in miniture as with what I have seen here on this forum.

I do have to admit, it is tugging at my thoughts a lot lately.

As I have mentioned, the works here are so wonderfully done that it seems to knaw away at one's interests.


I may very well end up converted.


I like your idea of doing a cameo.

I have always admired seeing the many varietys of cameo that I have seen in my life.


mmmmmmm--yep - cameo is now on my to do list.

Now to find the time.

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