Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed mostly of calcium carbonate. It is found all over the world and can be used in architecture of buildings, creation of art, glass-making, ground up for road-building, toothpaste and added to other materials as well. Carving limestone can be a full-time job or a hobby, but having the proper tools is essential in being safe and efficient.
Chisels and handsets
Chisels are a metal rod object with various pointed bottoms to achieve different degrees of carving. The most common types of chisels are pointed, tooth, flat and rondel. The point of the chisel is the workhorse of the operation. It is able to rough out and remove the material quickly. Chisels are manufactured out of hardened steel with carbide tips for harder limestone. A point chisel is used with primarily harder limestones as it can leave a stone bruise that is difficult to remove. Once a point chisel has roughed out the basic shape, a tooth chisel is brought in to remove peaks and valleys left by the point chisel and further refine the limestone. The flat and rondel chisels are brought in to prepare the stone for finishing by smoothing out all the textures and removing all the stone bruises.
In addition to chisels, handsets are very effective in knocking large chunks of stone off of square blocks or creating more precise and defined lines.
The hammer is the second-most important tool because you will need this to drive the chisel into the limestone. Different sizes and weights on hammers are needed to effectively carve the rock depending on its hardness and size. A 1-lb hammer is acceptable for carving out small details with the flat and rondel chisels while something bigger such as a 3-lb hammer can effectively drive the chisel deep into the rock.
Rasps and sandpaper
These tools come into play when the stone is ready for finishing. The rasps and sandpaper are used to file away harsh edges or angles left on the limestone and provide a flowing finish.
While many tend to overlook this step, it's important to stay safe. It's recommended that participants wear goggles, mask, gloves, and ear buds to protect against injuries.