When It Comes to Creating Beautiful Sculptures and Pieces from Stone, It All Starts with The Right Set of Tools.
Stonemasonry is a traditional form of sculpting that has existed for centuries. While it remains a timeless art, the tools used in this work have become refined and perfected, and finding the right tools for you is one of the most important steps. Here at Alec Tiranti, we stock a variety of stone carving supplies, ranging from tools, to kits, to materials, and to cleaning equipment. Today, we will be taking a look at our set of stone carving tools, their uses, and how they will help you in your stonemasonry activities.
Stone carving kit
Our stone carving kits equip you with all the basic essentials needed for stone carving and stone work. All of the tools included come in a brown suede tool roll, to keep them pristine and as sharp as possible by protecting them from external damage. In here, you will find a diamond whetstone, essential to keeping your marking in the stone precise and in the desired depth. As well as this, you will find claw bits, a claw bit holder, a marble point, a light stone chisel, heavy stone chisel, bullnose chisel, and a medium dummy mallet.
Stone carving chisels
While our sets of stone carving chisels are sold within the aforementioned kits, we also sell them individually as separate items. The type of chisel you choose will depend on several factors, including your preferred style of working and the desired effect on the stone surface. Our straight edge Europ TCT Chisel, for instance, will allow you to effectively chip away and cut off large surface areas of the stone face.
With the TCT Lettering Chisels, you can delicately and precisely carve lettering into the face of the stone you are working with. Alternatively, the bullnose chisels we offer will allow you to cut internally curved mouldings, such as cavettos. These come in a number of different head sizes, depending on the area you wish to mould, and come in heavy or soft varieties, dependent on the type of stone you are working with.
Other stone carving materials
Besides stocking a wide array of stonemasonry tools, we also provide a variety of stone carving materials that can assist you in creating beautiful pieces of stonework. Our range of rubbing blocks allow you to smooth stone down after you have finished carving, and for shaping smoother bends and dips in the stone. The softer the texture, the lighter the smoothing finish will be.
Get in touch
If you have any remaining questions on the stone carving tools we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us. A member of our team here at Alec Tiranti will be happy to provide you with any information you may require, when assessing the necessary tools and equipment for your stone masonry. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you prefer to speak to someone directly, you can call on +44 (0)1635 587430.
All About Our Ceramics and Pottery
Here at Alec Tiranti, we are pleased to provide ceramists and potters with a wide array of tools and glazes. We provide our products to professionals, as well as dedicated hobbyists, so you can only expect the best when it comes to ceramics and pottery materials. We maintain an inventory of all the pottery supplies that UK sculptors require to carry out their practice, the history of which stretches all the way back to ancient, and even pre-historic, times.
We offer a great range of pottery tools to our customers, including rolling pins, strip tools, wooden ribs, coiler tool sets, handle makers, knives, hole cutters, needles, clay extruders and guns, slip trailers, pallet knives, bow harps, clay cutters, pottery turning tools, stainless steel turning tools and other related tools. Other pottery tools include a deep cleaning tool, sponge, bamboo brushes, twin point spears and fettling tools. We also stock a pottery tool set, which includes a wooden potter’s rib, modelling tool, ribbon tool, sponge, needle tool, loop tool, metal scraper and wire clay cutter.
Once you have formed the desired shape of your ceramic creation, your attention will turn to the glaze. At Alec Tiranti, we have a plethora of different glazes to choose from. The right finish will not only offer the best aesthetic to the finished product, but it will also preserve the quality of your piece. Whatever your medium of sculpting, we offer a large range of glaze colours and types. Within each choice, you will be met with even more options, for example, our range of Spectrum Stoneware Glaze is available in 83 different colours. Additionally, we stock Underglaze Pencils and Spectrum Underglazes. Furthermore, we can provide you with related products such as body stains, wax resists and more.
Here at Alec Tiranti, we can also help you with any ceramic restoration project you may be undertaking. In order to restore an antique pottery piece to its original glory, you will need to use the best materials. We are able to provide everything from the raw materials to the finishing glazes to aid you in your restoration project.
Ceramics and Pottery Experts
When you buy your ceramics and pottery materials from us, you will also benefit from our expertise in the field, as we are able to provide you with any information and advice about the products we sell. If there is a particular product you’re looking for, or you need some tips on your restoration project, we can lend a helping hand.
For more information about our products for ceramics and pottery, or any other items, please get in touch with us by completing our online contact form, or by emailing us at email@example.com. Additionally, you can find out more details about how to contact us in either Thatcham or London from this contact page. A member of our team will be pleased to help you with any queries you may have for us.
Providing you with the Tools for Effective Health and Safety Compliance
Here at Alec Tiranti, we are committed to ensuring you are provided with both the finest and most essential items and materials for your studio, and the necessary information and advice regarding your health and safety when using them. In this way, you can keep your artist’s studio or workshop fully stocked, while also making sure you are prepared and equipped to respond to any potential hazards that may arise while you work. Today, we will be taking a look at the health and safety products and services we provide at Alec Tiranti.
Health and safety equipment
We stock a wide range of equipment designed to protect you and your health while you work. The nature of sculpting and professions working with materials brings a number of potential risks that while easy to avoid, are even easier to stay properly protected against. Our eye protection goggles, for instance, are a central form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will shield your eyes from any dangerous contact with airborne substances. These include wrap-around eye protection glasses, anti-mist glasses, and goggles for molten metal; these will provide you with a protective barrier from dust, small airborne particles, sparks, and anything else that could cause harm to your eyes.
For those working around substances and materials that expel airborne particles such as dust, toxic chemical gas, or smoke, a respirator will filter contaminated air for you to breathe while you work.
We are equipped and trained to advise you on how to best use your respirator to ensure you use it properly, safely, and get the most out of it as possible. For instance, when using a respirator, there are several signs one can be aware of in order to know exactly when their breathing has becoming unsafe. Laboured breathing, for instance, is a sign of a build-up of particle residue on the filter and tells that the respirator needs to be disposed of and replaced.
Further, should you be able to detect any odours or tastes, this is a warning sign from your respirator that it is damaged and must be disposed of immediately. Ultimately, a respirator should be adequate for the hazard at hand, reducing the exposure to a level that is required to protect your health as the wearer. It should also be suitable, in that it is the right fit for you as the wearer, the task, and the environment.
At Alec Tiranti, we are able to advise you on the right choice of health and safety equipment for your needs. To do so, we take into consideration the type of hazardous substance you are dealing with, the amount of this substance, the form of the substance, the type of work you are carrying out, and any other variables that may influence the type of respirator required.
Get in touch
If you have any remaining questions on our health and safety equipment products and services, please do not hesitate to contact us. A member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information. You can call us on +44 (0)20 7380 0808 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional Grade Restoration and Finishing Products
After a century of supplying artists and craftspeople in London, across the UK, and throughout the world with the finest sculpting and finishing tools and materials, we have come to realise a fundamental truth: that the value we as humans place on an object depends on far more than just its utility. Rather, when an item affects us on an emotional level, we can form a deeper connection with it. It is to this end that so much attention is paid to the colour, the texture, the fit and finish of manufactured products. It is also a key consideration for sculptors, restorers, and other artists, who seek to stir the emotions by their work.
We are Alec Tiranti, and it is our goal to offer our customers the most comprehensive range of professional grade restoration and finishing products available anywhere. From basic tools to ground breaking and innovative chemical treatments, we are the only contact you need for the finest sculpting materials.
Brushes and knives are among the most fundamental items for restoration, and many other crafts too. Squirrel hair is stiff enough to maintain a point, but not so elastic as to cause unwanted ‘spring’ when completing delicate work. Therefore, we carry a full range of squirrel brushes. Basic flat nylon brushes are another best seller. Cutting tools are also essentials for most crafts, so take the time to browse our full range of craft knives, including surgical scalpel blades of various profiles.
Our inventory includes materials for restoring and finishing a wide variety of materials, from metals and ceramics to wood and stone. At each stage of the process, we will only supply products which have been proved to provide the highest standard of results, time and time again. For example, the first step in restoring an antique metal item to its former glory will usually be to remove any unwanted build up from he surface. This can be achieved by applying an appropriate metal cleaner.
Once the item has been thoroughly cleaned and reassembled, a range of metal finishing products can be used to make it look brand new, or old, or whatever suits the needs of the artist. Adorning new and vintage items alike with a traditional patina is currently very fashionable, and at Alec Tiranti we stock some of the finest patina paints and treatments available.
We are proud to be the sole UK distributor for Sculpt Nouveau products. A company of artists specializing in sculpture maintenance, their chemical treatments are easy to use to create a variety of effects which will stand the test of time. We especially like the Birchwood Casey patina products, which allow repaired metalwork to be artificially aged to match the piece as a whole.
Once the piece is completed and the surface is treated as desired, it can be protected and preserved by using an appropriate metal oil or clear guard product. For more information on these or any other products, please contact our team today.
Alec Tiranti have been suppliers of superior quality sculptors and model makers equipment for over one hundred years, and during that time we have established a reputation as the dealer of choice for discerning artists and professionals. Our current range of modelling tools is second to none, and includes general sculpting tools as well as more specialized items for specific materials and disciplines.
The modelling tools UK sculptors most often shop online for are the traditional clay sculpting implements which have been used by masters for generations. We therefore spare no expense when it comes to assembling an inventory of clay modelling tools using only the finest and most reputable brands in the business. As a complete solution, we can happily supply you with tools, modelling clay, a sculpture modelling stand, and a range of other accessories all specially selected to compliment your latest project. Feel free to contact us and ask questions about products, techniques, or just about the art of modelmaking in general.
Crafting on a small scale necessitates tools which are fine enough to achieve the desired degree of detail, yet have the robustness to tackle hard materials when required. It is therefore small wonder that many model makers and miniaturists turned to dentistry equipment to find thee flexibility they needed. Our range of dental modelling tools incorporate all the stainless steel items you would expect to find in such a kit. These can be used in conjunction with other stainless steel modelling tools, as well as those made from wood, plastic and wire, to work in extremely fine detail.
An additional advantage of wire modelling tools is that they can be heated to achieve certain effects on different modelling materials. As a result, they are very effective as wax modelling tools and can be used for cutting, sculpting and welding. Those who like to work with modelling wax may also like to peruse our selection of purpose designed wax modelling tools, which include hand tools and also burners for melting the material. As always, Alec Tiranti has you covered for raw materials as well as high quality tools: find supplies of white modelling wax here.
Modelling plaster for decorative applications is a time honoured craft, and one which requires many hours of dedication and the finest modelling equipment to do it justice. It is the consistency of modelling plaster which sets it apart from clay modelling materials in terms of the tools used, while modern materials like Newplast modelling clay and Milliput modelling clay may be better suited to traditional clay modelling tools.
Don’t forget, besides our tools Alec Tiranti can also supply other items of modelmakers equipment such as modelling stands, modelling castings and latex modelling supplies. We aim to provide a full tools and materials supply service, so always get in touch with us first for all your sculpting and modelmaking needs. And with a friendly and experienced team ready to give you advice on your latest project, make the call to Alec Tiranti today!
Mouldmaking – Relying on your Supplier
When it comes to art, the materials have to compliment the skill and expertise of the artist.
It is not always a fair or reasonable proverb to suggest that ‘a bad workman always blames his tools’. Sometimes a good workman, and even a professional expert can rightly blame the tools and materials, if they are not professional expert materials themselves to match the quality of his work.
Alec Tiranti proudly supplies the modern-day sculptor with excellent materials and customer service. We offer a range of products, tools, services, plus help and advice on how to best use them.
Our staff at both Thatcham and London shops have a wealth of experience and practical knowledge to call upon and are always willing to try and help.
When making moulds it is important to choose the best method to take an accurate register from a pattern. For example, during the process of casting a mother mould, you might need a thickening agent to create a thick enough skin layer to pick up fine detail. This in turn will allow for a smooth easy removal of first the pattern when the silicone or latex has cured and then the cast component with minimal sprues or air bubbles over the surface of that casting, this will also give longer lasting moulds with good repeatability. Choosing the wrong product to manufacture your mould can cause a waste of resources, not to mention frustration and ultimately increase costs too.
There is sometimes a need for experimentation but if others have already experienced those pitfalls, Tiranti staff can help you avoid making the same mistakes as others in the past.
Alec Tiranti not only take care to provide you with the correct materials of the highest quality, but to hold a suitable variety of necessary tools and supplies that work alongside your chosen materials.
A fine example of how thorough Alec Tiranti are in supplying and supporting their many expert and skilled clients, is the descriptive content given when purchasing your mouldmaking equipment from the website, which highlights the materials that work together to create your mould.
To make this even simpler, you can browse and choose from a whole range of mouldmaking products including latex’s, silicone’s, plasters, vinyl plus our staff can give help and advice on using these to their best effect.
Latex is a natural rubber, derived from tree sap, pre vulcanised Liquid Latex is refined and used for a range of mouldmaking applications, most especially within the special effects world because the latex can be peeled off easily, also it tends not to cause adverse reactions when applied direct to the skin (except in cases where the person is allergic to latex).
Latex can be brushed over a pattern, or the pattern can be dipped into the liquid latex to build thicker layers, we also supply a specialist Latex Thickener to speed up the product buildup over a pattern surface.
Latex is economical way of building strong and durable strip off moulds for casting plasters, cements and waxes in particular.
Silicone is a man-made synthetic rubber compound developed to mimic natural rubbers, yet have more development potential. Over the years there have been many developments of silicones to give better heat resistance, better mouldmaking properties, softer and more compliant.
Condensation cure silicone rubber is available in a range of viscosities’ and strengths depending on duty, from free flowing silicone rubbers suitable for cold casting resins, to the stiffer harder silicone suitable for higher temperature casting applications such as white metals casting.
Putty Silicone is used for making simple moulds of components which are difficult to access or move. Ideal for taking moulds from a vertical or horizontal surface, Putty Silicone is more commonly used for ornamental or foundry type repairs of larger pieces. Putty Silicone is also commonly used for ceramics repairs too.
Addition Cure silicones are a group of faster setting products designed for mouldmaking applications such as polyester and polyurethane resins and also for body moulding. The faster setting times and smaller kit sizes make these products ideal for smaller moulds in particular.
Tiranti Vinamold is a hot melt vinyl rubber based product developed for mouldmaking, the product is soft, compliant and also re-usable. Once finished with, old moulds can be re-melted and re-cast to make new moulds.
Alec Tiranti ltd. were one of the first to develop cold metal resin casting opening up a way to cast highly detailed model that looks like a convincing metal cast object. Once polished and finished the only thing that gives the product away as resin, is the overall weight – resin components are much lighter. We can supply a variety of resin products including Polyurethane’s, Polyesters and Epoxy’s all of which have their own particular attributes for high quality finish.
Alec Tiranti Ltd is proud to supply the modern sculptor and model maker with the best quality products, services and advice from the 1800’s to the present day.
Mallets and Hammers
The hammer is a much maligned tool, perceived by many as simply a blunt instrument. Here at Alec Tiranti, we know nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being a simple tool, in the right hands a sculptors mallet and hammers can be compared to the instrument of a musician or the pen of a poet. Such a conduit of expression, it is critical that a sculptor has access to the right tool for each task. After all, you wouldn’t present a pianist with a violin. To this end, our range of carving mallets and hammers are specially selected to offer every artist the widest possible choice of tools of different sizes and materials, all manufactured to the highest standards.
Scopas lump hammers are made from malleable iron for the safety of the user – less inclined to chip or splinter. These are not just basic tools in the vein of a workman’s hammer, they are designed to be balanced and durable to yield consistent performance for an extended period. The high quality ash handle provides a slight compliance which improves comfort and reduces fatigue. They make great stone hammers as they are ideal for use with steel chisels.
Just as a golfer will have their preferred club for a given shot, so different stone carving mallets can be used when working different materials, or on different parts of the same project. To complete an entire, complex sculpture with various levels of texture and detail using only a single stonemasons mallet is a project few artists would be prepared to commit to. Different stone mallets respond differently, and are suited to different techniques. And then of course, there is always the matter of personal preference.
Our five sizes of beech mallets are turned from kiln dried beech, perfect for woodcraft as they can be used without causing damage to materials or equipment. Ranging from three to five inches, these are a simple and practical design produced to the highest standard. A more heavy duty option are our hard wearing nylon mallets which come with a wooden handle in weights of up to 1.4kg.
Some stone and wood carving mallets are designed for a particular task or type of work. A good example of these specialist tools are dummy mallets (Scopas and Italian brands are available). The narrow malleable iron head concentrates the force and allows for excellent articulation in use. These qualities make dummy mallets ideal for intricate carving work, such as lettering.
Our Sculpt Nouveau Products
Patina is a word used to describe the effects of the process of ageing metals by, the change in the chemical composition of the surface of an object over time. These changes are identified by variations in the texture and colour of the surface material, and specifically, include layers of oxide which build up on that material. It could, therefore, be said that rust is probably the most widely recognized form of patina. The word is also used in connection with non-metallic materials, such as wood and leather; in these cases, ‘patina’ usually refers to a worn or distressed appearance, rather than a chemical state.
Patina type metal finishing products are used to intentionally initiate (or in some cases, simulate) the chemical reactions which cause corrosion and therefore patinate the surface of the metal. As a result, the kind of oxidation or discolouration which would usually build up over a great many years can be achieved in just a few hours.
At Alec Tiranti, we carry a wide range of Sculpt Nouveau metal finishing products which can add various patina finishes to steel, copper, aluminium, tin, and other metals. We offer Sculpt Nouveau products because they provide the artist with the means to control the patination process and achieve ageing effects of unparalleled quality.
Suitable for application by brush or spraying, simply select the shade which matches the material you are working in. Other finish colours from Sculpt Nouveau include blue, green and brown, with each product carefully formulated for superior results when applied to the recommended materials. If you can’t find just what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.
Sculpt Nouveau products, of which we are sole UK distributors, are also highly effective as antique restoration products. Restorers may prefer a patina effect to refinish a historic metal item, as it may often be more valuable in unrestored condition, despite being discoloured by patina. However, a damaged patina – where the oxidation has begun to flake off from the surface of the piece – may diminish its value further still. In these cases, refinish and restore products can be used to ‘repatinate’ the item, for an overall consistent finish.
Preparing your piece for patination, and preventing further reaction after the desired effect is attained, are key to successfully achieving these finishes. Sculpt Nouveau also produce metal preparation products such as degreasers, and top coats and lacquers.
We can always offer technical help and assistance with your application, if there is anything you are struggling to find, or have specific questions about Sculpt Nouveau or any of our other products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
An Overview of our Jesmonite Products
Jesmonite has become a firm favourite with users worldwide and with good reason: since the acrylic-modified gypsum composite was first formulated in the 1980s, the advantages which set Jesmonite apart as a sculpting medium have captured the imagination of artists and craftspeople in a wide range of fields.
Anecdotes indicate that many artists find using Jesmonite to be a convenient and rewarding process. The composite is smooth and easy to work and takes additives (such as pigments and metal powders) very well, which gives the user a wide range of options when it comes to colours and finishes. Popular finishes include several which mimic metal and stone.
A retarder can also be added to the mix, which will slow down the setting process and allow you more time to complete fine and intricate surface work.
Jesmonite also produce their own high grade quadaxial glass reinforcement material for additional strength when building mould supports and structural conditioning.
One of the best reasons to buy Jesmonite was that the products were conceived from the start as a low hazard material, therefore no harmful solvents are used during mixing and the finished composite gives off no toxic fumes. This makes it safer to work with than other resins. It is also much lighter than other alternatives such as cast concrete, or plaster.
Still not convinced? Since all products from this brand are water based, it is one of the most environmentally sound mediums around. This also means that cleaning up after Jesmonite casting is simply a matter of washing down your implements with water (although you might not want to flush it down the standard drains – we always recommend that you use a plaster trap).
Here at Alec Tiranti, our goal is to bring our customers the finest tools and materials available. After so many years of supplying professionals across a wide range of creative disciplines, we have learned to listen to what our clients need and react accordingly.
Jesmonite is a UK product which fits the brief perfectly in terms of quality and flexibility, and we are proudly offering it alongside our more traditional casting and mouldmaking mediums.
With over a century of history, we are determined to remain at the forefront of the sculpting and modelling supplies industry.
Our website is designed to offer help and assistance to our customers, as well as your first port of call for sculptors’ tools, materials and studio equipment for carving, modelling, mouldmaking, casting & restoration. You are sure to find all the tools and information for creating Jesmonite sculptures, including the mould making and casting processes. Still, if there is anything you are struggling to find, or have specific questions about Jesmonite or any of our other products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
When it comes to ceramics and pottery, Alec Tiranti have over 120 years of industry experience, supplying the best products to artists in the UK and beyond. We offer a wide variety of pottery clays and other materials, glazes, potters wheels, tools, kilns and other accessories.
Pottery Clays and Materials
Our range of pottery clays includes stoneware clays like our grey clay, terracotta clay, millennium white stoneware, crank stoneware, to the earthenware clays like, professional white earthenware, extra smooth earthstone, architectural eathstone, black chunky crank and black smooth. Then we have the more specialist clays like royal porcelain with its fine white finish. These clays can be used for a variety of modelling, building and throwing applications, we are constantly updating the range of clays to satisfy customer requirements.
TS Flax Paper Clays have fine fibres of flax and cellulose added through a range of clays to increase strength and flexibility while keeping weight down. Available in a range of body clay types including smooth stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, terracotta and chunky crank, flax paper clays will accept a range of firing types and glazes.
There are a range of options when it comes to casting slips, ideal for making thin walled cast clay pieces. The casting slip is poured into a plaster mould and slush moulded by turning the mould as the slip dries, additional layers can be poured into the mould until the desired thickness is attained and the piece then removed from the mould prior to firing.
We also offer a range of nylon reinforced clays like Newclay, Claydium and Super Sculpey, these clays are designed for building a range of models and decorative pottery, they are ideal for some users because often they can be air dried (no kiln) or even fired in a domestic oven.
Our glazes will ensure that your product will be finished to a high professional standard, offering striking good finish and a range of vivid colours and effects. We offer a wide range of different types of glazes, underglazes and lustres, in an array of finishes, including gloss, matt, metallic, crystal and crackle.
Pottery Tools and Equipment
We offer a large selection of pottery tools and equipment. These tools refer to smaller products for use with clay such as rolling pins, strip tools, wooden ribs, coiler tools, handle makers, knives, hole cutters, needles, clay extruders and guns, slip trailers, pallet knives, bow harps, clay cutters, turning tools, and more. We also supply pottery tool sets, which includes ribs, hardwood and stainless-steel modelling tools, ribbon tools, knives, sponges, needle tools, and loop tools. Our equipment also includes larger items like potters’ wheels, pug-mills, manual extruders, spray booths and clay rollers.
Kilns and Accessories
At Alec Tiranti, we supply a range of different kilns, including L&L kilns and Nabertherm kilns, as well as a selection of kiln accessories. Available in a range of sizes and types to suit a variety of requirements from the occasional small modeller to the professional pottery.
Our selection of kiln accessories includes, kiln batts, props, stilts and cones. Kiln Batts are the support or shelf that the workpiece sits on while it is in the kiln, Props support the Batts off the base of the kiln floor and allow heat to be distributed equally around the piece. Stilts are placed between the shelf
If you would like more information about our ceramics and pottery products, or if you can’t find the exact products you’re looking for, please get in touch with us through our online contact form, or by emailing us at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can also call us on +44 (0)1635 587430 in order to speak to a member of the team directly. We will be happy to help you with any questions you may have for us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.