How to Chisel Limestone Blocks
Limestone blocks are used to construct a variety of things including retaining walls, patios, stone sculptors, glass-making, road-building, etc. Although their tendency to get damaged by moisture and water is greater as compared to its alternatives, they are still widely used. The foremost reasons for their wise usage being the ease with which they can be cut into any shape required, their high local accessibility/availability and their aesthetical beauty. Cutting limestone blocks is a barely challenging job and requires some basic practice only. Below are the tools and equipments you shall require and the steps using which you can chisel limestone blocks.
Step 1 - Make a Rough Outline
Using dark markers or spray paint get a rough outline of the required shape and design on the limestone block. If you are a beginner and lack experience in cutting or carving limestone it is a good idea to start with medium sized blocks of limestone as they are not only relatively easier to use but also painlessly easy to manage.
Step 2 - Use the Right Tools
After you have made a rough outline use a chisel (a metal object made out of hardened steel with carbide ends for solid/rigid limestone) and hammer to remove the part(s) of the limestone block that you don’t require. Out of the many types of chisels available (pointed, rondel, tooth and flat), use a flat chisel if the design you require is intricate and entails precision for it would allow you to remove thin layers of limestone without damaging any of the larger chunks. It is advisable to work on only one part of the limestone block at a time so that you don’t miss out any details while carving or cutting.
Step 3 - Further Precision
Different sizes and weights are available in hammers as all of them are used for cutting diverse forms of stones. However, a 1 lb hammer is usually used along with flat or rondel chisels for detailed and defined cutting whereas a 3 lb hammer is used for deep digging and cutting into rocks. Therefore, using a tracing tool or a light hammer is also an effective solution if you require further precision (usually required in the construction of limestone art-work). To keep the tool in control and not cause any disintegration, hold the hammer close to the top of the block and apply it lightly but firmly.
Step 4 - Stone Rasp for Edges
Use a stone rasp (a very powerful metal file) lightly to level any rough corners but be careful to not use it harshly as that could scrap away the corners very rapidly.
Step 5 - Safety Precautions
Safety tools like safety glasses, gloves and face mask are extremely significant in order to protect your skin and guard you from inhaling dust and dirt caused during cutting the limestone block.