Sandstone is a durable sedimentary rock composed of bits of stone and minerals, typically compacted over centuries. Sandstone is an ideal raw material for carving. Typical sandstone colours are tan, white, red, yellow, grey, and sometimes a combination. The Dremel power-rotating carving tool is a good match when it comes to working with sandstone. A Dremel uses a variety of cutting, sanding and engraving attachments that allow sculptors to create entire sculpting projects without ever touching another tool.
Choose a piece of sandstone to work with. You can find sandstone at online speciality shops and some hardware stores. If you have access to a quarry, you can have sandstone delivered in bulk. How much sandstone you purchase and in what size depends upon the project you are working on. If you are just beginning to work with sandstone, start with a smaller piece to get the hang of working with it.
Sketch a basic design for your sculpture, or work from a reference photograph. Some professional sculptors may be able to work from memory, but a reference can help keep you on track. If you happen to be able to draw, try rendering as detailed a sketch as you can, capturing your subject from all angles.
Use a #545 diamond wheel cutter to rough out the shape of your sculpture. This cutter is ideal for cutting hard material. You can remove larger chunks of your sandstone with the wheel cutter to bring out the initial shape of your sculpture.
Detail your sculpture with a #9933 carbide cutter. Be careful to use the sides of this cutter as you define the shape of your sculpture. The tip can break easily. You can use this in conjunction with a #116 or #134 high speed cutter. These attachments are ideal for detail work. Switch between attachments and work slowly as you cut away the rough edges to bring your sculpture's shape to the surface.
Sand your sculpture with a #412 sanding wheel, 220 grit, to smooth out the sandstone. Go around the outline of your sculpture to shape the lines, then work your way inward. The sanding process can be time consuming. Take care not to apply too much pressure to your sculpture because you don't want to sand away too much sandstone. You can apply pressure if you come across areas that need to be removed. The sanding wheel works effectively as a removal tool.
Always wear gloves and protective goggles when working with sandstone and cutting tools.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear gloves and protective goggles when working with sandstone and cutting tools.