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Six factors to consider in selecting a stone for statue sculpture carving


Stone sculpturing is an old and classic form of art, with a history started back in the prehistoric age. One of the world's most famous sculptures, Michelangelo's David, was completed in 1504. That wonderful life size statue was carved in marble. In addition to marble, alabaster, granite, limestone, sandstone and soapstone are also among the most popular natural stones suitable for carving and sculpting. So, how to select a stone for carving a specific sculpture? Several factors should be taken into considerations, depending on the experience and skill level of the sculptor as well as size and requirements of the project.

Factor 1

Understand physical and chemical properties of different stone types. There are three types of natural stones in general, they are sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks respectively. Not every rock category or stone type can be used for carving. Each stone has its specific hardness, durability and polishing degree, which may or may not suitable for carving your project. 


Factor 2

How detail and intricate are intended for the finished sculpture. In general, the softer the stones, the more detailed carvings can be achieved. For example, it is very difficult to carve a statue requiring detailed facial expression in granite. On the other hand, soft stones are much easier to work with than hard rocks, great for carving by novice sculptors. The soft varieties of stones include soapstone and alabaster.

Factor 3

For those learning DIY carvings, you may want to check your local college or university to see whether they offer sculpting classes. The professor may be able to recommend materials that will suit your project and where you can purchase them locally. Having stone raw blocks being shipped to you from a remote source can be expensive.

Factor 4

Be aware of your budget for stone. Price differences between different types of stones can be significant. Some stones with similar colors and textures but quarried in different countries may have completely different costs. It is quite possible to find a cost-effective stone that well meets project requirements. You may have to look hard sometimes to avoid unnecessary expenses. 

Factor 5

Before deciding the stone for carving the project, you may want to first determine color range and finish option. Selecting a color is of no tricks. But choosing a finish might take some considerations. In general, there are three finish options for stone sculptures: polished, honed and antiqued. The polished finish has glassy or shining surface while the honed tends to be matte and the antiqued finish, done through acid washing, is the roughest among all. You need to keep in mind that not every stone can have good polishing effects and acid washing can only be effectively applied to certain rocks.

Factor 6

In selecting a stone type for carving, you also need to decide whether the sculpture is to be placed indoor or outdoors. Certain types of stone have much stronger resistances against weathering than others. For example, comparing to marble, travertine and limestone, granite and sandstone are better choices for sculpting outdoor garden statues.




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