Montoya Stone Carving

Montoya Sculpture & Supply has been serving stone carvers and sculptors since 1973. We stock Italian and domestic hand and power tools for stone carving along with tons and tons of soapstone, alabaster, wonderstone, marble and limestone. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Please visit my website for tools and supplies. MontoyaSculpture.com

Saturday, March 19, 2005

New Soapstone Arrived This Week

We just got several tons of Eskimo Soapstone. We have not carried it for several years (we only can fit 32 tons in the Rock Room). This is of course a soft stone as soapstones are rated a 1 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (invented by Austrian minerologist Dr. Frederick Mohs in 1822). It's a brownish stone mostly but it has short black and yellow veining in it. You can carve it with a pen knife. You can't get real fine details in it since it is so soft. It polishes up very nice and usually, using over a 600 grit finish is a waist of time. Simple steel wool can do the job.

A few years ago I did some experiments with this stone in finishing it with clear varnishes. One varnish did not change the color at all but of course gave it a protective layer, which is a good idea for soapstones. But most of the varnishes (Minwax had some good ones) gave it a wet look and that really helped it stand out. Anyway its an nice looking stone from the northwest. We restored an Inuit sculpture of a 16" bear a few years ago and it looked like it was this type of stone. Interesting thing about the restoration was it was older and the carver had used walrus tusk to carve out little bear teeth. As one was missing we had to buy some ivory off of an Eskimo in Alaska, who are the only people authorized to gather and sell the tusk. Let me know if you can add to this.

You can read more about the Mohs Hardness Scale in Technical Bulletin #2, Stone Hardness- What is Hard?, (it's free) which is available by calling Montoya Sculpture & Supply at 561-832-4401, or by going to the website (www.MontoyaSculpture.com) and printing it out from the PDF file under Technical Bulletins, which will be posted by March 25, 2005.