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Soapstone Carving Info Needed

Jack Ometti

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My name's Jack and I'm trying to find out about soapstone carving but am having trouble finding any good information. Can you help?


What I'm after is any good books of the subject that you might know of. I find it's easier to work from a book than having to watch something on my computer then and remeber it all when i'm out in my yard.


Also if you could recomend any tools I would be most greatful. I've been using a small saw, a rasp and a small cheisel but if there any other tools or tips you use I'd really appreciate it.



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Welcome to The Carving Path, Jack!


To target your SEARCH, click the Search button above right, then click 'More Search Options & GO', in that next window click 'More Options'.


In the final window, enter your keyword,

then make choices or leave as is


-Search posts from...

-Sort results by...

-Result Type Show results as topics


-Result Type Show results as topics

> on this selection choose

√ Show results as posts


Doing so will bring up the individual topics with the keyword highlighted. In this case, 'soapstone'.


I found a few posts with pertinent information doing this search this morning. Lets hope that those who carve soapstone will have more to add in response to your question.


Again, Welcome!



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I believe its more a case that some soapstone actually contains asbestos.. they should be avoided making sure you get stone that is asbestos free.. if you collect it yourself in a know asbestos area, obviously get it tested before you work it.. but as Yuri suggests wear a mask to protect yourself from the talc dust at least.


I don't know of any books specifically on soapstone but I imagine there must be a few.. I did a fair bit of carving out of it years ago in Africa and can help with some pointers on finishing techniques. PM me if you're interested.

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Quite right, Clive


Many soapstones, especially green/black stone from Northern Québec contain small amounts of asbestos.


I would suggest that you stick to carving chisels, since rotary cutters put out a LOT of dust, and in reality are slower in removing stone than the proper hammer with the proper chisel.


I do quite a bit of work in stone, mostly Indiana limestone and Tyndal stone, and have done work in the past with various soapstones, mostly steatite from the eastern US.


I have looked high and low for reference material on stone carving. Unfortunately there is precious little in publication on traditional techniques of carving. The best book that I have come across is: Stone and Marble Carving by Alec Miller, London, Alec Tiranti Ltd., 1948. It is available here: abebooks


Stone carving tools are relatively inexpensive, compared to wood carving tools. One of the best sources is here: Avery Knight & Bowlers However, Lee valley tools sells a decent set of carvers rifflers: Lee Valley Tools , which can be used for much of the shaping of soapstone.



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