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Using Sandstone or Alabaster for turnings


WeekendMiniaturist

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miraclechicken

Absolutely beautiful! I can only imagine how it great really looks as I agree pictures so no real justice. I had to get out my little ruler to see just how incredibly small this wonderful piece is :)

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Yeah I was going to say Woodcraft sells them.    Here are some things I've made from stone. I made this floor lamp and turned the "marble" base from Italian Evergreen soapstone.   And this hearth I c

Gisele, I believe that the tagua nut would be pretty translucent if it were thin.  This shows a 12V GOR bulb stuck inside a tagua nut vessel, which isn't particularly thin (since I see it has a crack

Tamra, here is a link that mentions mopane's hardness. http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/mopane/ I tried another vase and was able to go quite thin with the wall of the vase

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miraclechicken

This forum software is very strange...I replied to Elga right below her post of the wonderful little Kisii stone square and next thing I knew I was on a page I've never seen.....so this is completely out of context... ho hum.....sorry.....

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miraclechicken

Chris-- this is a beautiful lampshade, sorry this is all out of context....Next time I go to Woodcraft I will have to look into getting some tagua nuts.

Tamra-- as I said I used Italian Evergreen soapstone and Brazillian soapstone. I own no Alabaster.

Elga-- you've got me wanting to get some of this Kisii Soapstone :)

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Frances Peterson

I used to do stone sculpting, then I got into miniatures. My sculpting table collects dust, my pile of rocks sits there. It's been 10 years since I did a sculpture and it was a miniature. I tell myself I'm going to do some again someday. Tamra and Elga, if you'd like I could bring you some small rocks to Chicago, various soapstones and alabaster. Let me know if you want any.

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WeekendMiniaturist

Oh, yes Frances, I would enjoy receiving some rocks... more to look forward to in Chicago! Instead of a fabric exchange that quilters frequently participate in, we need to meet up for a rock and nut exchange.

 

But as Chris says... the rock or nut tells us what it wants to be?   I've gone over to the dark side; I never anticipated purchasing rocks that were not gemstones.

 

Frances, what did you sculpt and did you use chisels? I haven't found any rock shops locally... we do not have the stores that Karin C mentioned in her post, and when I called the sculpture guy in Michigan, just north of Toledo, he said the gem show isn't likely to have the kind of stone that I would need to turn.  I'm still dreaming of miniaturized (granite) kind of columns.  I wonder how much I can slow my lathe down... will have to find the instructions or specs online.

 

Karin, you are right... I'll be chasing down some carbide insert tools for the alabaster soon. 

 

 

 

Chris, Tagua nut has a wonderful translucent quality!  If you use a satin lacquer over the nut, can you paint it?  Or does the nut melt when it comes into contact with the lacquer.   I wonder if we could make tagua plates...

 

 

Tamra

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Frances Peterson

Tamra, I did RL sculptures, not huge but not miniature. Yes, I used chisels and a hammer, then files. Like Linda said, when you hit a vein and your pieces flies off is not fun. I learned to look for those veins before I started. I sculpted people, animals and abstracts. I'll bring some smaller rocks to Chicago for you and Elga.

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karincorbin

Dick Blick art supplies will mail order alabaster.

http://www.dickblick.com/products/sculpture-house-alabaster/

 

If you want small pieces of soapstone see if there is a company in your area that is fabricating soapstone countertops and ask for the small scrap. Those counterops have become fairly popular in homes. Used to be they were used for the countertops in all the chemistry labs so salvage yards are another possibility.

 

I have been known to go on vacation and haul back a boxes of rocks from roadside quarries :)

http://www.karincorbin.blogspot.com/2009/10/rock-hound.html

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WeekendMiniaturist

We do have dickblick stores in the Chicago area, I may call prior to Chicago trip and see what I can collect on my journey back.   They will probably know where I can source rocks in the Chicago area.  I would love to pick out my own rocks.  It is also my understanding that there are importers in NY, but I haven't tried to track any down.  I remember on one of my bus trips into NYC from the Guild's Teaneck show, that I sat next to a woman that did sculpture... 

 

We have a lot of corian in the area.  I have a stack of corian scrap in my magic basement - I can easily get sink corian cutouts but I've never asked for soapstone - will have to call around.

 

I enjoyed Tom Small's film shorts...  the bench that he carved out of the rock, and the magic saws that are cutting without a person holding the saws, are quite creative.... makes me want to make a miniature bench seat from a local rock.

 

Winter has returned and the ground is white - it would be good day to play with rocks...  

 

Husband:  Why is there a rock missing from our fountain?

Wife:  I dug it out so I could make a mini bench seat.   ;) 

 

Well, I doubt that our local farming rocks found in fields are the right stuff, but it does bring happy thoughts to a cold day in February.

 

Tamra

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WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks Karin for this resource.

 

Artist & Craftsman - Chicago

828 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, Illinois
US, 60605
877-784-9990
312-583-9990

 

I called to confirm and they do have alabaster & soapstone at this location.  $2.60 lb... Good to know there is an option, where I don't have to ship.

 

Tamra

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WeekendMiniaturist

This location of this store is about 25 minutes in a car from the Bishop Show and 53 minutes on public transportation.

 

The retailer is west of Grant Park.  The Chicago Art Institute neighbors Grant Park a few streets towards Lake Michigan.  The Art Store is about 7 blocks south of the Art Institute.    So, if you are going to the Thorne Rooms, I would try to include this stop at that time.

 

I do think the soapstone that you received from your local resource looks great.

 

Tamra

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WeekendMiniaturist

post-45-0-40237500-1455652988_thumb.jpg

 

Here are the pieces of Alabaster received from Stan at Colorado Alabaster Supply. 

A couple of miniature petitpoint pillows and ordinary spool of thread to show you the size of the pieces.  How much alabaster can you get in a flat rate priority mail box?

 

http://coloradoalabaster.com/

 

This stuff is going to be messy and I can see that it would be easy to use a chisel & hammer; ice is much, much harder then alabaster.  I will wait until I can move the lathe outdoors to play with this, as I know I'm going to have fine alabaster dust everwhere in the shop.... 

 

Waiting for the weather to warm up will give me some time to acquire / find some carbide turning tools.

 

It appears a bit pinker to me in real life then in my photo.

 

Tamra

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  • 9 months later...
miraclechicken
1 hour ago, MeezerMama said:

I have a small piece of soapstone.  With what kind of tools would I cut/turn it?

I have nice sized chunks of Italian Evergreen and Brazilian soapstone, and I cut pieces off on the band saw. I've turned it with just regular wood turning tools. It is very soft. 

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WeekendMiniaturist

When I read other forums (Saw Creek Mill) they indicate scrapers, HS Steel, HS Steel inserts and carbide.  My first choice is carbide because it appears you don't have to sharpen as much, and sharpening my lathe tools is an adventure...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Linda mentioned in

On 2/5/2016 at 0:42 AM, miraclechicken said:

Of course it's not so fun when you are carving way and come to a vein running through and half of it falls off! Same with turning.

Max Krimmel mentions in his tutorial that he gives his alabaster a Weld-Bond bath... He is turning full size vessels and it has helped him decrease the loss ratio.  I think I only found weld-bond in small bottles at Michaels- so a larger qty will require mail order for me. 

 

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

No... unfortunately, life is complex right now.  Sadly, I haven't done anything productive in 1/12th scale this year.   I am looking forward to a new year!

I am determined and will post a picture - next summer! 

Tamra

 

 

 

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ElgaKoster

I finished turnng some table legs today Frances and thought I would try sme of the alabaster before I set the lathe up for new furniture turnings.

I rough cut one of the smallest pieces you gave me on my bandsaw and put it in my four jaw chuck and turned some if it round and then put the round part in the chuck. Next time I will try turning it so that I can put it in my biggest collet, just worried that might be too small for a big bowl.

image_zpslwhmhoah.jpeg

I used my normal cutters and gravers to do the turning, it turns much easier and quicker than the hard woods that I use. A vein did appear so I didn't go too thin as I didn't want it to break.

image_zpszveseplx.jpeg

This was just a practise piece and I didn't go to too much trouble with it, I would advise using a mask as there was lots of fine dust floating around. I will definitely try this again when I have something that I want to make.

 image_zpseljnckbo.jpeg

image_zpstloeb24c.jpeg

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