How to Recondition a Soap Stone Carving

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Soap stone is 300-million year old stone used to create works of art for many centuries. Made from magnesium, talc and silicate, soap stone is non porous proving a soft smooth surface for carving. Although there are a number of varieties of soapstone, the treatment and maintenance of soap stone is very similar to slate.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Mineral oil
  • Wipe away any dust and debris using a soft cotton lint free cloth dipped in warm water. If the carving has washable stains, use a few drops of liquid detergent in the water. Choose mild detergent with as few chemicals as possible. Plant-based cleaners are best. Allow to air dry before proceeding.

  • Place a few drops of mineral oil onto a soft dry lint free cloth and rub it all over the surface of the carving. As soon as the cloth seems a little dry, add a few more drops of mineral oil and continuing rubbing. Purchase mineral oil at drug stores and mega stores. Be sure to cover the entire carving.

  • Take another dry clean cloth and wipe off the excess mineral oil. This will not completely wipe away the oil but will skim the excess off the top of the carving and aid the drying process.

  • Use a fine-grade sandpaper for repairing minor surface scratches. Be sure to gently rub the sandpaper onto the carving at the exact location of the scratch to remove the thinnest layer of soapstone and buff out the scratches.

  • Go over the area when you sanded with a cloth dipped in warm water. Wipe away dust and debris, and allow the carving to air dry before proceeding.

  • Dip a cloth in mineral oil and then use that cloth to go over the repair patch in a circular motion using the tips of your fingers. This will create a surface coating and finalize the buffing out of the scratch. Repeat this process for all the scratches on the carving.

References

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