How to Use Chisel and Mallet Sculpture Tools

How to Use Chisel and Mallet Sculpture Tools image by All images taken by the author

From these instructions, you will learn the best materials to start sculpting, and techniques for how to use a chisel and a mallet.


How to Use Chisel and Mallet Sculpture Tools

Step 1

Purchase supplies. There are a variety of chisels available in different sizes and shapes. To get started, you will want at least a wide, flat chisel, a smaller, flat chisel, and a rounded chisel with a pointed tip. Select a material to carve. Alabaster and soapstone are the softest rocks to carve. As a beginner, you might practice on plaster molds to gain confidence with the tools and techniques.

Step 2

Secure the rock or plaster so that it will not move while carving. A vice is preferred, either attached to a table, or a board. Cover the area around the work station to maintain the mess and prevent damage from flying rock. Be sure to put on the face mask and goggles before beginning to carve.

Step 3

To remove large sections of rock or plaster from the sculpture, use a wide, flat chisel. For finer detailing, use a smaller chisel with a flat tip or a small point. Place the sharp tip of the chisel against the sculpture at the top of the section you want to remove.

Step 4

Angle the chisel so that the handle is pointed towards you. Hold the chisel in the middle of the handle. Use the mallet to strike the top of the handle. Begin with soft taps to determine how much pressure is needed. Be careful not to remove too much rock at once.

Step 5

Continue working with the chisels to remove the material from the sculpture. Files will also come in handy for shaping the material.

Tips and Warnings

When carving, always wear goggles and the safety mask. Rock will chip off of the sculpture. Also, the dust from filing and carving is harmful to breathe.

Things You'll Need

Mallet, Chisels, Material to carve, Vice, Safety goggles, Face mask

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