Granite has been used to construct the world’s most beautiful and resilient monuments, and is used widely for artistic sculptures because of its limitless design opportunities and enduring durability.
While many businesses are now armed with modern technologies to improve and enhance the design process, such as AutoCAD, CNC laser-etching and 3D modeling software, there are times that the art of hand craftsmanship to perfect the fine details and add that personal touch is necessary. There is an array of tools and techniques that sculptors use to achieve the fine details.
If you are lucky enough to have hand-sculpting tools at your business, experiment with them to understand how you can add value for your customers. If this type of work is something you outsource, don’t hesitate to ask for a tour of the facility or additional information to gather a better understanding of the techniques used so you can pass that trust onto your customer.
At Coldspring, our sculptors use the following tools regularly to create striking sculptures with natural stone:
- Pneumatic Hammer: providing maximum power, pneumatic hammers are used with a selection of carbide chisels for removing the layers of excess material from the granite to reveal a more refined shape or design in the stone. Pneumatic hammers range in size, making them suitable for roughing large applications down to projects that require detail and precision.
- Carbide Chisels: pneumatic carbide chisels come in a range of sizes and styles used for bushing, cutting and roughing, and are generally utilized in multiple steps of the sculpting process to create the shape. For the fine artistic details, a sculptor selects chisels with finer tips that allow them to carve out small areas.
- Die Grinder: a sculptor will use a die grinder and attach diamond plated wheels and diamond blades to shape and create the final artistic details of a project. As the finer details take shape, using smaller sized blades allows the sculptor to produce the final definition.
Using tools such as those noted above, the team at Coldspring recently rough shaped an owl sitting atop a stack of books in Sierra White® granite on a 5-axis milling machine, which was then brought to life through weeks of diligent hand-carving. Each stroke was meticulously planned for every detail, down to the last tail feather. In partnership with our customer, Coldspring met alongside them with the family to understand their vision and determine how to best incorporate the meaning behind the owl into the memorial. This instilled the family’s trust in the team and assured them that their vision would be met in a beautiful and quality memorial for their loved one.
A key component to a successful project is selecting the right granite. When working on sculptures, granites that are relatively fine-grained are best suited for sculpting. As the grain gets larger, there is more tendency for the granite to chip. We find that Academy Black®, Sierra White® and Carnelian® tend to work well for our partners. Working closely with a domestic supplier will allow you to take a collaborative approach on the design process to ensure you can bring the design to reality. No matter the monument or memorial project, the goal remains the same – a beautiful tribute that stands the test of time. Whether you have the tools and capabilities to sculpt on your own, or you collaborate closely with a qualified sculptor, your work of art will be marveled at for years to come.