How to Carve Names in Stone

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Carving a name in stone takes time, but it is a beautiful work of art in the end. If you enjoy creating unique pieces using natural materials for yourself or others, you will find stone carving challenging, but rewarding at the same time.

Things You'll Need

  • Stone
  • Chisels
  • Mallet
  • Stone files
  • Sandbags
  • Safety glasses
  • Leather gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Wax crayon
  • Sand paper

Determine the type of stone you want to carve. Popular stones used for carving include granite, sandstone, marble, alabaster and limestone. Stones and carving supplies can be found in art stores and college art departments, and through online vendors.

Use sandbags to hold the stone in place. You may need to cut sandbags in half depending on the size of the stone or you may need to empty the sand into a tray to keep the stone from moving as you carve.

Using a wax crayon, draw each letter of the name you want to carve in stone. Choose a style in which to create the letters. Block lettering, flowery script or graffiti style letters are common.

Put on safety glasses, a dust mask and leather gloves before carving the stone. Use a small-point chisel and mallet to begin carving out the stone. A small-point chisel allows you to remove the top layer of stone. Hold the chisel at a 45-degree angle to remove small stone pieces.

Use a claw chisel to contour the letters and remove rough spots left by the small-point chisel. Claw chisels allow you to enhance the shape of the letters.

Use a toothed chisel to remove rough spots left by the claw chisel. After using each chisel, you will notice the letters are cleaner and more uniform. Use a flat chisel to smooth out any spots that still appear rough.

Use a stone file to finish. The letters of the name you carved in stone should be visible at this point. Use the file to remove any rough edges.

Sand and polish the stone using sandpaper. Begin with 200 grit and increase the grit until you reach the desired polish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time when carving stone. Granite is the most difficult stone to carve, so be prepared to spend more time carving granite than carving other types of stone.
  • Always wear safety equipment when carving stone to avoid injury.
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