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.