Tool to cut stone?


Old 10-09-00, 09:42 AM
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I wanted to try cutting letters and designs into stone (rocks), what kind of tool am I looking for?
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Old 10-09-00, 09:31 PM
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Choose among hand and/or power tools.

Hand tools are the traditional way. Basic: wooden mallet, steel club hammer, and steel chisels. The three basic types of chisels are point and punch, scutch or claw, and flat chisel. There are various configurations of each type also.

Points and punches (heavier versions of the point) are used in rough shaping to disrupt a localized area. The scutch or claw is used to rough shape flat areas by creating a series of grooves. Flat chisels are used for smoothing and carving depending on the configuration.

Carbide tools, chisels and the like may be used also. Other hand tools include rasps, files, riffles, saws, and abrasive sticks (some are home made).

Power tools include sandblasters, pneumatic tools, grinders, carbide and diamond tool bits spun or driven by a power source. For example, a heavy duty router (22,000 RPM) reduced to 400-1000 RPM with some of the carbide bits (or diamond bits) could be used on various types of stone.

An overly simplified view of stone is a series of metallic crystals linked together with small interlacing fissure or cracks among the crystals. Then stone carving becomes removing unwanted crystals or portions of without damaging the surrounding or underlying crystals or stressing the fissures. And stone polishing becomes abrading the crystals with finer and finer abrasives until the scratches are very fine, then they are filled with tin or lead oxide
under heat and pressure, often in combination with a weaker acid.

Although traditionalists may have a conniption fit you may use any and all means at your disposal for rough shaping, carving, and polishing stone. With a little forethought many of the metal and wood working tools are adaptable to working stone.

Before spending a lot of money on tools a simple and cheap exercise is to carve the face of a common brick. For the point use a carpenters nail set. Use a 1/4" or 3/8" cold chisel for the remainder, and use a wooden mallet. Make a simple design and have at it. You may like it or hate it, but this will help to develop technique.

A word of caution: stone dust is toxic and so are some of the abrasives and chemicals used to clean and polish stone.

Have fun, with your new hobby!

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