Stone masons differ from brick masons because they work with stone rather than brick. Often they have blueprints so detailed it even numbers the particular stones used in the project. Some stone masons are actually artists that create elaborate designs in stone. In order to cut the stone to the appropriate shape they use chisels. There are a variety of stone mason chisels and each does a different job.
Stone mason chisels are a great deal like sculpting chisels. Carvers and bankers are types of stone masons. The carvers often produce animals and figures from stone for the outside of a building. A stone mason carves the appropriate shape for a floor or wall from granite and just like the sculptor; he uses a chisel and a heavy mallet to do the job. Pitching chisels or chippers are heavy metal chisels used with the aid of a masonry hammer, remove large chunks of stone from square blocks. They're large so they reduce the amount of stone rapidly.
Tracing tools are actually chisels that create lines on the edge of block with more precision than the pitching chisels. It usually is solid metal and the blade is much narrower than the pitching chisel.
There are various type and sizes of point chisels. They are the main type of chisel used for roughing out material quickly. Most of the point chisels are made of hardened steel when the stone mason works on softer stone. A carbide tipped chisel is the tool of choice for harder stones like granite. The wider the shaft on the point chisel, the more stone it roughs out but with less precision and detail.
Once the stone mason roughs out the basic shape of the stone, he needs to remove any burrs or peaks left by the point chisel. At this point, a tooth chisel is important. Toothed chisels come with differing numbers of teeth. The four tooth chisel does light roughing and defines the contour while the eight toothed chisel is for heavier roughing jobs and contouring. The fewer number of teeth, the more precise job it does.
A chisel that has a rounded blade, either a fan shape or finger nail shape is the rondel chisel. Another name for this chisel is the bullnose chisel. Use it if you want to smooth an area. It's useful to smooth round bottoms or hollows. While the rondel smoothes the rounded area after you use the toothed chisel, the flat chisel smoothes flat surfaces. The flat stone mason chisel also removes tooth marks left by the toothed chisel or point chisel.
A cape chisel cuts narrow grooves on the surface of stone. It has a narrow blade that widens dramatically as the blade goes toward the handle. This gives the cape chisel, more strength. These chisels also sell by the name splitters. The gouge stone mason chisel has a semicircular blade or U blade. It tends to find its best use with softer stone or architectural designs. Soft stones are marble, onyx, limestone, slate and sandstone. Granite, malamite, basalt and tracite are hard stone.
The best chisels to purchase are those created for hardstone since they're universal and cut softstone as well. Carbide tipped chisels are durable enough for both types of stone.