Stone Carving Tools

Many of the tools used for stone carving have designs and principles dating from the earliest of times, Stonemasonry transfers principles of woodcarving into carving shapes and designs into stone of all types.

Alec Tiranti have been supplying specialist tools to sculptors, artisans and specialists for around 130 years. Our tools have been developed and selected for their quality and practicality, matching operators to tools as diverse as chisels, mallets and hammers, to workbenches and turntables.

Good tools are an important choice for any craftsman and the way a tools fits into the hand greatly influences the finished piece. Choosing tools is a very personal issue in any craftsman’s mind, the choice of tool, size, shape and weight are all key factors and can in fact have as great an influence as the type of stone being carved. We can also provide pneumatic and electric powered tools for Stonemasonry and carving.

From basic starter to comprehensive sets of tools for the experienced carver Tiranti can also offer informed advice and assistance too.

When a block of stone arrives, it can often need to be split into smaller pieces, using drills, feathers and wedges, the carver can shape the block of stone into a “rough shape”. Then by using “Bush Hammers”, “Claw Chisels” or pneumatic tools with “Claw” attachments the rough shape can be refined and even partially defined, moving on to using finer chisels and a “Lump Hammer” or “Dummy Mallet”.

Refined shaping can be done using the finer chisels and either a metal “Dummy Mallet” in the initial phase, or a wooden or nylon mallet to finish off. Final finishing work is usually done using a range of rasps, files and rifflers.

Choosing Chisels and other tools

Stone carving chisels are available several types: flat, bullnose, gouge, claw, punch and point.

The flat chisel is just as it sounds; the cutting face is flat and parallel to the striking pin, available as either light or heavy chisel. Bullnose chisels have a slight convex bow across the cutting face, ideal for cutting across a large flat surface, the chisel edges are less likely to dig in. Gouge chisels have a semi-circular cutting face, these are used for cutting circular shapes into a flat surface. Claw chisels are toothed for roughing out work, they remove large amounts on a single strike and leave a patterned finish.

Points and Punches are preliminary tools for cutting or drilling holes prior to using feathers and wedges, or for adding deep detail such as eye sockets or rosette centres.

Letter Cutting Chisels are usually tungsten carbide tipped, typically these are much finer and designed only for detail and finishing work. Lettering work is a specialist skill and requires patience and practice in equal measure, available in seven (7) chisel sizes from 3 – 12 mm across the cutting face. The type of mallet stroke used for letter carving is also different, typically a shallower angle and a lighter strike.

Most letter carvers use an iron dummy mallet, using multiple lighter strikes at a shallow angle to prevent the slimmer chisel from getting stuck in the face of the stone. The choice of tool is very personal, so experienced stone masons often have tools for specific applications, and often these tools are indistinguishable, but the experience operator knows by sight and feel.

Soft to medium stone only requires a carbon steel tool, but for the harder stones (granite or marble) then the tungsten tipped tools are much better suited – many of the specialists opt for tungsten tipped tools for all stone.

Hammers and Mallets are also a very personal choice. “Lump Hammers” and “Dummy Mallets” are made here at Tiranti, cast in malleable iron and fitted with a Hickory handle and steel wedges. These can be used with flat head chisels and tools.

Bouchard – “Bush” Hammers were developed for roughing out large flat surfaces, the heavily serrated inserts can be mounted onto the hammer head and are located using either a taper or an expanding spigot. The smaller hammers rely on the taper and the larger type has the expanding spigot. The advantage is that the inserts can be removed, replaced, cleaned or re-profiled to suit an application.

“Soft” hammers and mallets is a bit of an oxymoron, the term referring to the material used for the hammer or mallet head. These are also known as “Dead Blow” hammers and mallets.

Most typically the hammer or mallet head is made from wood, plastic, rubber or leather. This type of hammer or mallet is typically less damaging to the tool being struck.

Finishing Tools

For the finer sculptures the marks left behind by chisels are considered unsightly, these can be removed and shapes refined by using rasps, rifflers and sanders. Rasps are typically used initially (although these are considered too harsh for softer stone), they remove the deep impact marks and claw marks left by pneumatic tools in particular. Rifflers are finer than a rasp, smaller and finely shaped to allow the user to refine even the smallest detail. We can also supply diamond coated rifflers for ultra-fine finishing. Sanders can be simple cork blocks wrapped in sandpaper, to the specialist blocks and files with diamond coated surface for abrading hard to reach places.

Tool Sharpening

To keep tools in the best condition possible we offer a range of whetstones and oil stones, available in a range of sizes and shapes to allow the re-sharpening of even the more complicated gouges and claws.

Carving Stands

Alec Tiranti manufacture a broad range of heavy-duty carving stands, workbenches and turntables to suit all types and sizes of stone carving. Three heights of “Banker” work stands (specials also available on request) all with three different work table sizes, each of these is also available with our specially developed “Banker Turntable” mounted on steel rollers with a centre mounted casting and rigid trackways to support even the very heaviest of stone sculptures. The superb Sculptors Heavy Bench is constructed in a similar way to the carving stands and this too can be fitted with a Banker Turntable if required.


Alec Tiranti staff can offer advice and support either by phone or from our shops at Thatcham or London, we also stock a large range of books on stone carving to improve skills from the beginner to the experienced artist returning after a break.

Contemporary Stone Sculpture – how to select different types of stone, transporting and how to select tools and finishing. How to use hand tools, pneumatic and electric tools.

The Art of Letter Carving – guiding the novice through the basics of classical lettering, tool types, stone selection and finishing techniques.

Direct Stone Sculpture – for the more advanced sculptor, this book gives more detailed information on power tools and finishing process’ also covers repairs and methods of lamination and stone polishing.

Tools for Restoration and Finishing

One of the most exciting stages of creating a sculpture, model or something similar, is the ultimate stage where you complete the finishing. Whether you are creating a completing new piece or restoring an older one to make it as good as new, you are bound to find our range of tools for restoration and finishing of use. Today, we’re going to focus our attention on these products and tell you more about them.

Craft Knives

When it comes to sculpting, as any seasoned pro will know, you can’t just use any old knife you have lying around. It’s important that your tool is fit for purpose as each application has a corresponding ideal blade. It is important to consider the size, shape and profile for whichever task you are carrying out. In our craft knives range, we are sure to have the necessary tools for you whether you’re working with clay, paper, wood, or more.

Stencil Brushes

Stencil brushes are ideal for stencilling on any material due to their tightly-packed bristles. This design ensures neat and solid outcomes for whatever you are stencilling. This technique is a common way to add decoration to various projects in a multitude of craft areas. Use these brushes with our great range of paints and lacquers.

Squirrel Brushes

Squirrel brushes are named so due to the hair that is used to make them. The result of using squirrel hair means that brushes are perfectly soft. This enables the user to wash large areas without impacting on other layers of paint. Watercolours are great for use with squirrel brushes.

Metal Finishing Products

We have a huge range of metal finishing products and tools, meaning that you can create almost any metallic effect you desire. Prior to using the finishing products, it is vital that you begin with a metal cleaner to prevent any contamination. To create an aged or weathered look of a patina finish, we have a variety of patina paints to brush or spray on. These can be used on metal surfaces to create a popular finish, with it being possible to achieve highly realistic oxidisation effects to give your piece an added authenticity. To accomplish a classic patina finish, explore our Sculpt Nouveau range, which combines tradition with modern science. You quite literally won’t find products like these anywhere else in the UK, as we are its sole distributor. 

Contact Us

If you would like more information about our range of tools for restoration and finishing, please get in touch with us by either completing a contact form or emailing us on On our contact page, you can also find full details about how to get in touch with us directly. A member of our team would be happy to answer any questions you may have for us.

Experimenting with Patinas.

Achieving different finishes with metals is always great fun to do – Sculpt Nouveau Patina products allow this to be done safely and simply.

Four little white metal castings fresh from their moulds.


Sprayed in Pewter Black PC9 for varied amounts of time.
This little white metal hedgehog was then polished and then sprayed with a Dye Oxide Green and then finished with Smart Coat. It has attractive shades of green across the lighter areas, these contrast down into the darker areas which havent been polished.
This little acorn was only in the Pewter Black for around 30 seconds, Dye Oxide Green was added for around 6 hours and then Dye Oxide Blue, the nose of the acorn was then polished and the finished piece coated with metal wax. Quite a different finish – more matt in appearance.


This acorn was in the Pewter Black for around 1 min. I polished te majority back on the nose of the acorn, then dipped the cup and stem in Japanese Brown for around 4 hours. The item was then re-polished and then finished with Renaissance Wax


Rather different this one – this time the hedgehog is cast from General Purpose resin with copper filler powder. The finished casting was then polished with fine wire wool and then sprayed with Tiffany Green verdigris effect. The finished hedgehog was then given a coat of Smart Coat.

Applying patina products is great fun and really effective – all of the above were done cold and at room temperature.

Studio Furniture and Armatures –

Modified Student Stand (an example of how Tiranti can help customers):

Our extensive range of Modelling Stands, includes our metal Sketch and Student stands – robust, easy to use and lightweight. The aluminium folding legs give a very stable working platform for a variety of student modelling applications.

You can find the standard version of this modified unit here –



A customer rang the other day with a request – “I see you offer a version of the Student Stand 300 mm shorter – can you also fit it with the ball feet?” – The answer was of course “YES”

The customer then asked “how quickly can I have it?” –  The answer was “10-14 days from order”

In fact our very talented workshop staff managed to turn the unit around in 7 days!


Sketch Stand
Studio Equipment – Modified Sketch Stand Legs Extended. The unit has the optional ball feet.
Studio Equipment – Modified Sketch Stand folded and ready to ship.

The result is a very high quality product at a reasonable price (we dont charge any extra for the shortened legs and mechanism – the ball feet option was an extra £ 80.00) – we should have charged more!

Studio Equipment and Armatures are an important products and service offered by Tiranti, we always offer our customers the best products and value for money.
We offer a vast range of armatures, modelling stands, turntables, for modelling and sculpture. Allowing the sculptor to position the workpiece at a comfortable working height. Making the sculpting task easier!


Sculpting tools and equipment where the foundation of the Alec Tiranti’s trade over a century ago, and they remain at the core of our business today.  Few pleasures compare to adding the finishing touches to a finely crafted artwork, as unique as it is beautiful.  However, if an artist is called upon to produce further examples of an existing design, a dilemma arises.  It is impossible to re-create any existing piece perfectly, such is the nature of handmade articles.  And it would likely take an artist longer to try to mimic an existing piece than it did to produce the work in the first place.

At this point, the artist may use a mould to produce multiple replicas of the piece without having to toil for countless hours over handmade re-creations.  Modern mould making materials allow moulds to be produced quickly and easily, and these can then be used repeatedly to manufacture complete sets of pieces.  The process is quite different from industrial mouldmaking, which usually involves heavier materials and a variety of machinery to produce many thousands of examples of a product.  Artistic mould making equipment is much more delicate, the process more tactile.  In keeping with the creativity of the craft of sculpture, the creation and use of sculpting moulds depends very much on the skill and dexterity of the producer.

Mouldmaking Materials

At one time artists had to struggle with materials like wood, clay and plaster to create the moulds to replicate their works.  Modern mould making materials, however, are manufactured with convenience and ease of use firmly in mind.

Liquid latex can be used with a wide range of sculpting materials, such as cements, plasters, waxes, and some resins.  Pre-vulcanised latex is supplied as a liquid which dries at room temperature and can be applied to a piece by brushing or dipping.  Latex thickeners are available to allow you to build up layers faster when coating pieces which do not feature fine details.

Silicone rubber can also be used to coat a range of sculpting materials, however, it’s important to choose the right consistency for the type of sculpture.  If you need to check which is the best product for your purposes, feel free to contact our team for advice.  RTV-101 is a specialist silicone rubber which can withstand exceptionally high temperatures, making it suitable for moulding metal items.

Polyurethane rubber dries to a hard consistency, making it ideal for capturing fine details.  It is separated from the piece using a spray-on releasing agent.

Alginate is versatile, non-toxic and easy to use.  It is a favourite with special effects artists and is ideal for creating masks and moulding body parts.

Hot melt vinyl rubber provides superior quality moulds without the need for preparing or release agents.  However, handling the material when hot can be a challenge for beginners.

Other Mouldmaking Equipment

Alec Tiranti also supplies mould making equipment such as release agents, melting pots and application tools, for use with the above materials.


Casting is the process of using a mould to replicate its features, whereby a positive reproduction is taken from the negative of the mould. Beginners will want to start by using basic casting plaster to craft their products, but it is also possible to use heated wax or a low melt alloy, as well as using resins to chemically activate it. It is also recommended to use release agents, in order to stop the casting material from bonding to the mould, as well as for preventing any damage. Here we will cover some of the key elements when it comes to casting.


We have an extensive collection of products for casting plaster for whatever purpose you can imagine. Along with these basic materials, we also stock related products such as bowls, brushes, and knives. The plasters on offer have a different measure of strength and setting times, so be sure to select the one that is right for you. Additionally, we stock high alumina cement that sets in just 24 hours, and is also suitable for outdoor use.


When it comes to resins, we offer these in polyester, polyurethane and epoxy. Our polyester resins are available in combination with an array of different pigments for colouring clear and opaque resins alike, as well as offering a liquid hardener. When lasting or laminating with polyester resin it is often an essential step to also use parting or release agents, which we also stock here at Alec Tiranti. Polyurethane resins are ideal when casting with model kits, figures, for foundry tooling and for pattern making. Epoxy resin has a subtle straw-colour, and is great for asting, embedding, cold enamelling and coating. In addition, we also provide a range of resin sundries.


We have a number of general fillers for polyester resin, which are used for a range of reasons. Fillers can often help to improve hardness, scratch resistance and thixotropic qualities (having a viscosity that decreases when a stress is applied, as when stirred). Examples include marble, state and synthetic onyx. Furthermore, we have an extensive range of metal fillers, including aluminium, bronze, brass, copper and iron.


We have a range of tin alloys, which are suitable for hand or machine casting. We also stock a range of suitable tools, including electric metal melting pots, ladles, an ingot mould, sprue cutter, and bearing metal. The colour will stay the same when heated, and recommended temperatures are given, so care should be taken not to overheat the material.


Lastly, we stock the Centricast, which is a centrifugal casting and mould-making machine. This is ideal if you need to produce repeatable quantities of small objects. As well as the machine, we also offer mould plates, mould rings, former plugs, mould opener screws, stud clamps, and thumb nuts.

Contact Us

For more information about our products for casting, or any other items on our site, please get in touch with the team by filling out our web contact form, or by emailing us at Further details about how to contact us in either Thatcham or London can also be found on our contact page. A member of our staff will be pleased to assist you.

Modelling Tools

Here at Alec Tiranti, we have a wide variety of modelling tools that are perfect for sculptors. Although such tools are mostly used with clay, we have a range of categories, which includes an extensive collection of clay modelling tools, as well as those for wax. Other categories include those specifying the material of the tool, such as stainless steel, metal plaster, or wire. Read on to find out more about what we offer.

Clay Modelling Tools

In our clay modelling range, we offer hardwood tools for students, as well as those for professional usage. We also have plastic modelling tools, which are ideal for children and beginners, and those which combine materials. Additionally, we also stock clay shapers, which offers a new approach to working with clay and other materials, and finger tools, which are designed to shape fingers, toes, and hair texture, and are made of glass-infused plastic. Furthermore, our clay guns or extruders are ideal for creating extrusions for modelling and coil building. Lastly, we have a range of rubber kidney palettes used for pressing and smoothing clay in a mould.

Wax Modelling Tools

We have a selection of tools for use with wax, which are suitable for use with an alcohol burner, also stocked on our site. Our wax modelling tools are made from a fine stainless steel. We stock spare wick for alcohol burners, which provides you with a clean flame on methylated spirits and is vital when working with wax. The stainless-steel wax tools are available individually or as part of a set of nine tools, and measure around 15cm in length.

Dental Tools

Our range of dental modelling tools are supplied as a set of twelve, but can also be purchased individually. With the precision and quality of tools used in dentistry, the finest details can be achieved when used in sculpting. They measure at approximately 14.5cm long and feature our usual textured grip to enable you to get a firm hold of your modelling instruments.

Modelling Tool Materials

We also stock a range of other modelling tools, including wire tools, which feature wire in various shapes at both ends of the tool, with a plethora of different sizes available. We offer a wide range of products in our stainless-steel category, with some tools catering to the needs of wax, and others of clay. These versatile tools can be used for a variety of purposes, including polymer clays, plastiline, and even plaster. We also stock a range of larger metal plaster tools, such as spatulas and griffons. Other products include flexible steel scrapers and joint rules.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our range of modelling tools, or any other products, please get in touch with us by completing our web contact form, or by emailing us at You can also find out more details about how to contact us in either Thatcham or London from our contact page. A member of our team will be happy to help you.

Stone Carving

Stone is a material famous for being hard-wearing, and as a result it has played an important part in human history.  Most of the oldest relics of human civilization from around the world are stone articles, be they tools, weapons, or artistic pieces like figurines.  Ever since then, stone carving has maintained its popularity, as a way of producing items which would prevail under the harshest conditions.  Flint was an ideal material for arrowheads, and hunters used a technique called ‘knapping’ to create the shapes they wanted.  When excavating the remains of ancient cities around the world, archaeologists have found many stone statues – some weighing hundreds of tons – created to celebrate the heroes and gods of the ancient world.  Some of the most notable historical architecture has been the result of extensive stone carving, from Petra in Jordan to the neo-gothic cathedrals of many European cities.  And many cultures still practice the tradition of inscribing the names of the deceased onto stones which will mark their final resting place and serve as a lasting memorial.

The techniques used to create stone sculptures of all kinds have changed little over the years.  However, this doesn’t mean stone carving is an easy skill to truly master; ancient masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David still enthral enthusiasts and experts today.  We can be sure that the old masters would only ever have used the very best tools available to them.  Likewise today, any artist – whether they are a seasoned professional or a novice working on their first piece – can only hope to achieve the results they desire if they use first class stone carving tools.

Many first-time sculptors choose to start out with a stone carving kit.  These comprise of all the basic tools you need to start out in your new hobby, and each individual piece can be upgraded as you progress.  The biggest advantage of stone carving kits is that quality stone masonry tools in general can be quite expensive. Buying a kit is more cost effective than buying all the items individually, and you can always augment your collection if you see another tool which you think would be useful.

The primary tools for any budding stonemason are a hammer and chisel.  With just these two basic items, it is quite possible to give yourself a good start in this enjoyable hobby.  It’s worth remembering that stone is a very hard material, and after a while all stone carving chisels need sharpening.  It won’t take long to get to this point if you are working in marble or granite.  Diamond whetstones are the best way to keep your tools in peak condition, so that may be the next item to buy.

Alec Tiranti have been one of the leading suppliers of stone carving tools in the UK for many decades, and we know how important quality stone carving tools are to the dedicated professional and the hobbyist alike.  Please see our website for our full range of stone carving supplies.

Studio Furniture & Armatures

An artist’s studio is their sanctuary, a haven from a world of fickle and changeable tastes, a place where they can fully express themselves without distraction.  Whether their chosen medium is photography or painting, music or dance, this is where the mundane matters of life must yield to the purity and idealism of art.

The walls may be decorated with inspirational works of other artists, or objects from everyday life which by form, colour or texture, capture some value which will find expression in the works produced here.  Each and every item has its own place, its specific reason for being there.  The character of the workspace must resonate with the soul of the artist, must inspire their spirit.

On a practical level, most sculptors prefer a minimalist studio environment, one which will allow their internal creativity to flourish unhindered.  A bright, uncluttered workspace means enhanced convenience with minimum distractions.  There may be little more in the space than the tools of the trade: carving benches, modelling stands, and other studio furniture.  Meticulously keeping all your tools and equipment in place means they are easily accessible, poised for the moment of inspiration.

There can be few more evocative images than that of an artisan skilfully working away at a carving bench.  While it is the piece itself which is the focal point of the scene, the pedestal on which it stands is more than just a structure of wood and metal; it has a character all of its own.  It is a nexus of creativity, with its own heritage of a hundred such works.  Any of the quality carving benches, modelling stands, and other studio furniture supplied by Alec Tiranti will make a worthy centrepiece for your studio workspace.

On entering a sculptor’s studio, between the tool chests and carving stands, an observer may be fascinated to spot one or several armatures.  An armature is a sculpture modelling stand, which is used to support the materials during the creation of a piece.  They can sometimes also be used to display the finished item afterwards.

If a piece is to use an internal armature, then the construction of that armature will likely be the first step of the whole process after the concept and design are settled upon.  Internal armatures are often made from copper or aluminium wire, and are made by bending and twisting the wire to form a frame which will later be ‘fleshed out’ by the main material.  The malleability of metal wire means it is particularly suitable for fashioning organic shapes such as plants and animals; in the latter case, the armature effectively acts as a ‘skeleton’, supporting the body and each of the limbs.  Some modern materials allow the armature to remain inside as an integral part of the piece, but in the case of traditional clay sculpture the metal must be removed before firing, unless using Nichrome Wire which is especially designed for this purpose.

Please see the Alec Tiranti website for full details of all our studio furniture and armature supplies.

Ceramics & Pottery Overview

Pottery is it one of the oldest crafts in human history; ceramic artefacts are of key importance to archaeologists when determining the age and cultural identity of a given site.  This is because techniques and styles have developed progressively over time and in different parts of the world, to the end that each period and culture has its own identifying marks.

As with so many other crafts, the industrial revolution brought sweeping changes.  Mass production of crockery quickly supplanted the artisans who previously manufactured these items by hand.  At the same time, innovations in pottery equipment such as ceramic tools, dipping glazes and underglazes, as well as kiln accessories, made it much easier for amateur enthusiasts to pursue pottery as a hobby, and for artists to achieve greater levels of expression.

These days, it’s easier than it has ever been to enjoy this uniquely satisfying and practical craft.  The standard of readily available pottery materials has never been higher, and when shopping for pottery supplies UK hobbyists need look no further than Alec Tiranti.  Let’s take a look at some of the most popular pottery equipment available to buy from this famous London retailer.

Pottery Tools

The knives, needles and rollers in Alec Tiranti’s pottery tools section are similar to the traditional tools which have been used by craftspeople for centuries.  However, modern manufacturing allows for these essential items to be produced to consistently high standards using quality materials.   These are joined by more modern pottery equipment such as electric potters’ wheels and extrusion guns.  Learning to get the best from such a vast range of ceramic tools will always be a long process, but by insisting on quality pottery supplies every step of the way the journey will always be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Kilns and Kiln Accessories

The most important properties of clay as a material are that it can be easily worked in its raw state, then fired to produce a hard and resilient object.  Craftspeople of bygone times would marvel at how modern technology allows us to site powerful and reliable kilns right in our homes.  Alec Tiranti supply gas and electric powered kilns of various sizes, along with props, shelves, and various other kiln accessories for any kind of ceramic craft.

Glazes for Pottery

Pottery glazes are what really made ceramics practical and therefore useful in so many ancient civilizations.  Fired clay is porous, but adding a pottery glaze strengthens the surface of the piece and at the same time waterproofs it.  It’s no wonder that ceramic crockery has been used in kitchens all over the world for thousands of years.

Ceramics is a craft with many facets, and to get the best results, whether your piece is decorative or practical, the right pottery glaze must be used.  Tiranti offers a range of pottery glazes that artists can rely on; these include stoneware glazes; underglazes and glaze crystals for added sparkle; or underglaze pencils can be used to create unique decorative effects.

Sundries and Health & Safety

We love the artistic process; creating something new, beautiful and inspiring where there was nothing before; however, it’s important that no one should ever have to suffer for their art.  We all want to live long, healthy lives, and enjoy the fruits of our labours for many years to come.  That being so, we should always be conscious of the health risks associated with our chosen art, and how to avoid them.  There are various health and safety accessories available for sculptors and other craft enthusiasts, and as always, Alec Tiranti can supply quality products at exceptional prices.  Our health and safety products include:

Eye Protection

As the most delicate exposed parts of our bodies, our eyes need special protection in many different situations – we wear sunglasses when it’s sunny, swimming goggles when we go swimming, and so on.  We should pay particular attention to protecting our eyes when handling art materials as many crafting processes create dust, fumes, or bright light which could all damage our eyes in different ways.  For example, wood turning produces very fine dust and this can cause health problems which may not be immediately apparent; or when using a grinder on metal or stone, it is not unusual for chunks of the material to fly off at high speed.  It only takes a moment for what was a normal day to become a very serious situation if you have forgotten to use appropriate eye protection.


Respirators are also an essential item of safety equipment for many artists.  The damage done to your respiratory system by dust and fumes may take years to manifest itself, by which time the damage might be irreversible.  To return to our previous example concerning woodcraft, it has been shown that carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to suffer from asthma than other UK workers.  No matter how clean you keep your work area, it is almost impossible to keep the air clear of the tiny particles which result from sanding and finishing.  Breathing in this wood dust can cause allergic reactions and mucosal respiratory symptoms; this has been shown to cause cancer of the nose.  The fumes from some materials can also be very dangerous, leading to breathing problems or the build up of toxic substances in the blood and organs.  For example, Clear Guard resin lacquer is one of our most popular metal finishing products, but the hazard information on the side of the tin leads us to recommend it only be used with goggles and a mask or respirator.  Metal cleaner is another product which must be handled extremely carefully.


We also offer a selection of workroom equipment to facilitate tasks such as mixing materials and preparing resins.  Resin sundries include calibrated mixing beakers, mixing bowls, spatulas, syringes, aprons and digital scales.  As with all products offered by Alec Tiranti, we have taken care to source the best tools in each category and make them available to our customers.

Clear Cast Resin Paperweight

By Matt Passingham

I’ve worked with polyester resins in the past, but having never tried an embedding before I decided to try one out.

David, our new manager, asked if I would be willing to make a paperweight from sugar butterflies his wife was using on a cake for an upcoming wedding, as this would make a perfect accompanying gift.

I watched this video, got my materials together, and was ready to give it a go!

First of all I mixed up a small amount of Clear Cast resin with Liquid Hardener (I cut it down to just a few drops, as it was a hot day and I didn’t want the resin to get hot and warp).

I poured this into the mold to form a first layer.

In this case, I then inserted the first sugar butterfly into the resin, carefully positioning it to give the impression of floating. This would become the ‘top’ butterfly once the piece was finished.

I then allowed the resin to gel.

After around 45 minutes I was ready to mix up another small amount of resin and add the second layer. This time I allowed the resin to gel fully before positioning the second small butterfly.

I then mixed up a third batch, poured it, and allowed it to gel again. I then carefully positioned the large butterfly.

I then poured a fourth layer of resin to give some space between the large butterfly and the base, giving this layer plenty of time to gel before preparing the final base layer.

To make the base, I mixed up one small amount of resin with our Marble Filler Powder, and another with our Marble Filler Coarse. I poured the powder mixture into the mold first, then poured the course mixture directly into the center of the mold above it; the heavier course marble was then able to sink through the powder marble, creating a two-tone effect.

I wanted to make sure that the resin had fully set before de-molding the final piece. Two days later the moment of truth arrived!

I was very happy with the result. There were a few air bubbles but nothing major- very good for a first try!

Here is the final piece given a good polishing and the base given a beveled edge, ready to be given as a gift…

And the cake that it is an accompaniment to…

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