Granite is one of the hardest types of igneous rock. The most common color of granite is gray, but pink, green and even yellow shades exist. When speaking about sculpting, granite is sometimes called "monumental stone," as many monuments are made from it. Because of the hard composition of granite, it is one of the most difficult stones to carve.
Protect yourself from the harmful effects of flying granite chips and dust by putting on goggles and a dust mask. Granite dust contains silica, which can do great damage to your lungs if inhaled.
Wear ear plugs if you will be using pneumatic tools, such as a hammer or chisel. Although these power tools are not necessary to carve granite, they speed up the process. The noise from these tools can lead to hearing loss if you do not protect yourself.
Purchase a good pair of work gloves, a hard hat and heavy boots to wear when using heavy granite stone. Wrist guards may prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and should be worn as well.
Use a pencil or crayon to lightly mark the excess areas of stone that you want to remove.
Remove large slabs of granite with a grinder saw. Common blades to use are a diamond or masonry blade. You can either saw off whole sections, or make some cuts at spaced intervals to later hammer out.
Use a carbide-tipped chisel and a heavy hammer to remove smaller chunks of rock. A steel stone hammer usually weighs 2 to 4 pounds, sometimes heavier for heavier rock. A pneumatic hammer or chisel may also be used for this step.
Shape the granite as desired once you have discarded the waste areas of stone. Claws, rasps and files are used respectively for this job.
Sand your sculpture after completing the shaping. Start with coarser grades of sand paper and work your way up to the finer paper. Each grade will eliminate the marks and scratches made by the previous one.
Things You'll Need:
- Carbide tipped chisels
- Hard hat
- Dust mask
- Pencil or crayon
- Grinder saw
- Steel stone hammer
- Pneumatic chisels
- Heavy boots
- Wrist guards
- Ear plugs
The harder the stone, the sharper the angle you should use to hold the chisel when working. For most stone, a 45 degree angle is sufficient. Granite requires using your chisel at a 90 degree angle to provide enough leverage to shape the stone.
Granite has pieces of crystal in it, which makes it very sharp. A cut section of granite can be as sharp as glass. Using protective gear such as leather gloves and boots will help prevent injury. Make sure your work area is well ventilated when working with granite.