How to Carve Using Soapstone

Category: Fabricator and Installer Updated: 2013/11/18 Views  Views: 1704       Likes  Likes: 193

Soapstone is a type of metamorphic rock that consists mainly of an unrefined form of talc. It is very soft and easy to work. For that reason, sculpting experts suggest that beginning artists learn to carve using soapstone before moving on to harder rock like marble or limestone. Colors are dark and dull, usually gray or green. Soapstone gets its common name from the soapy texture inside. Another term for soapstone is steatite.

Step 1 Lay down newspapers on your work area to contain the amount of soapstone dust and shavings.

Step 2 Put on safety glasses and a dust mask before you begin to carve. Soapstone dust is not as dangerous as the silica in granite, but is still not healthy to inhale or ingest.

Step 3 Lightly sketch out your design on your stone, using a pencil.

Step 4 Use a small wood saw to cut unneeded sections from the stone. A keyhole saw or hacksaw blade work well for this job.

Step 5 Shape your sculpture with rasps and files of various sizes. These tools are used primarily for smoothing other types of stones but can be used to form shapes in a soft material like soapstone.

Step 6 Apply a wet/dry sand paper to your soapstone. Start with a 200 grit paper and work up to a grit in the range of 600. Change the water with each new grade of sand paper.

Step 7 Heat your kitchen oven to 200 degrees F to warm your sculpture before polishing. Ten to 15 minutes is sufficient.

Step 8 Rub furniture wax into your warmed soapstone, using a soft cloth. If you want some areas to appear darker than others, apply more wax to those sections.

Step 9 Buff until you achieve the level of shine you prefer.

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