How to carve stone with a dremel

carved face with tears image by Stephen Orsillo from

Carving stone has historically been a job for a hammer and chisel. As artists have begun to embrace technology in order to streamline their work, the Dremel rotary tool is becoming a popular option for carving stone, replacing the hammer and chisel in many cases.

By learning how to carefully manipulate a Dremel tool, you can save hours of carving time while producing an end result that rivals some of the best stonework ever created.

Set your workbench up in a way that is comfortable and allows ample room for you to move around the stone piece. Lay out all of your materials in a manner so that they are easily accessible; this will be your workspace. Remember that a cramped workspace can disrupt concentration and make reaching certain spots in the stone difficult; the more open your space, the better.

Put on the safety glasses. Carving stone with a Dremel can create a fair amount of debris, and should never be attempted without wearing proper safety gear.

Use your fingers to determine the grain of the stone. Ideally, the grain will run lengthwise with the piece, as carving across the grain can result in the stone cracking and splitting.

Sketch out a rough outline of the carving you will be doing with a pencil. This is especially important if you will be carving a relief.

Carve the stone slowly and carefully using your Dremel. Rather than beginning at either end, start in the centre and strive to work outward the entire way around the stone, as this will help to prevent cracking. Remember to take it slowly, as being overzealous will almost always result in unwanted chips or cracks in the stone.

Sand down your finished carving with silicon carbide sandpaper. Focus first on any obvious rough spots, eventually working to sand down the entire piece. The coarser the grit of the sandpaper, the more smooth and polished the stone will look when it is finished.