The process of carving anything from stone depends not only on the type of stone, but on the artist. Everyone has his or her own style or technique and the choice of tools is a personal one. Many artists choose to use only hand tools while others use pneumatic or electric tools. I utilize all one way or another, but mainly use hand tools and flexible shafts with different burrs and cutting blades.

Since I begin with pieces of stone weighing 10 to 30 lbs., I always begin with a point chisel to rough out the piece. After that, as the piece takes shape, I use different chisels depending on the amount of stone I need to remove and what I'm removing it from. I use a flat chisel to remove the ridges left by the toothed chisel then I begin to further smooth the surface using rasps (course-toothed tools for refined shaping and smoothing) and rifflers (finer-toothed rasps).





Each group of photographs shown here represents the progress made at the end of a work period. I neglected to take photos of the period in which I used the rasps and rifflers on the inside of the bowl, but you can see some of the work done using those tools on the outside of the piece in the next set of photos. After I have achieved the form and basic uniform smoothness I want, I begin the polishing process.

I begin dry sanding with a "screen bak" grit (it looks like a window screen), followed by a 100 then 120 grit paper. This is followed by wet sanding using 5 grits of paper, each of finer grit, ending with an abrasive paper of 1200. Finally, I apply mineral oil to the surface then, after it's soaked in for about half an hour, buff it with 1200 grit paper to close the "poors" of the stone. I then apply a couple of coats of Waxlit liquid to the areas that I want to polish and buff to a high sheen. From beginning to the final polishing, this piece took about 35 hours to complete.

It's interesting to me that I can look back at these photographs and remember exactly what I was thinking or listening to at each of these stages. When you buy one of these pieces, you may be getting the result of Keiko Matsui playing Tribal Mozart or ZZ Top, an audio tape of Star Trek First Contact or Once Were Warriors, or any number of conversations I hear on NPR programs. This particular piece is a combination of Matsui, Jon Lord, Fleetwood Mac, Urban Knights, a Richard North Patterson book, and the myriad of issues discussed on NPR.

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