How to Chisel Granite

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Chisels can be used to cut granite.
Chisels can be used to cut granite. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Granite is a common stone used for statues, monuments, countertops and dozens of other projects. This particular stone is especially hard when compared to other stones, so working with it tends to be more difficult. Due to the hardness, specialty diamond-encrusted tools are used for commercial uses; however, chisels can be used for home products. Granite typically has layers which allows it to break apart with moderately clean, smooth results.

Things You'll Need

  • Pitching tool
  • Chiseling hammer
  • Point chisel
  • Pneumatic tool
  • 9-point bushing chisel

Determine which way the grain of the granite runs. Like wood, granite has noticeable parallel growth lines that run across the cut surface. Granite should always be cut along the grain to ensure clean cuts.

Knock off large chunks along the edges of the granite to get it close to the desired shape and size. Hold a pitching tool 1 to 2 inches from the edge of the granite and strike it with a chiseling hammer. Hold the pitching tool at an 80- to 85-degree angle, with the point facing the edge of the granite.

Hold a point chisel at a 55-degree angle at one end of the granite. Strike the chisel just hard enough that the point goes no more than 1/2 inch into the surface. Repeat the process along the surface to make a straight line. Make a series of parallel chiseled lines on the granite, with each line spaced 1 inch apart.

Hold the chisel at a 45-degree angle with the point perpendicular to the grain. Strike the chisel just hard enough to remove a small chunk of granite. The chiseled guidelines should cause the granite to break with straight edges.

Repeat this process over the entire surface of the granite to give it an even surface. Use this technique to shape the granite to the desired size and design. Once it comes to shaping the granite, it may not be necessary to chisel the guidelines on the entire surface; however, the guidelines should be used on any area being worked on.

Smooth the surface with a 9-point bushing chisel in a pneumatic tool. Hold the chisel flat against the surface and turn on the tool. Run the chisel across the entire surface of the granite. If desired, smooth the surface even more with a diamond cup attachment for the pneumatic tool, using the same process as with the 9-point bushing chisel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective gloves and glasses when chiseling granite.

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