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BlackPearl's of Wisdom    

S.J. Foster - sculptor    

Gluing - Soapstone may be glued easily for repair or construction. Mix soapstone dust into an epoxy or polyester glue. After the glue has set, sand and polish the glued areas. Construction of unique shapes may be achieved by gluing several stones together. This can result in considerable savings compared to carving from a single piece of stone. For best results, the bond should be between flat surfaces. For added strength, pin stones with metal rods or pipes.

Hardness - Some soapstone is much too soft to hold good detail. BLACKPEARL, while it is still soft enough to carve easily, will hold sharp details and not scratch easily when polished. It has the structural strength to be carved with a hammer and chisel. BLACKPEARL has an even consistent hardness without hard spots and impurities, which are difficult to carve around or next to impossible to polish properly.

Weight of BLACKPEARL is 180-lbs per cubic foot. To determine the weight of any piece, divide the cubic Inches (length x width x thickness) by 9.6. For example, 6 x 8 x 12 = 576 cubic inches divided by 9.6 = 60-lbs. 

Outdoor Sculpture - The properties of BLACKPEARL make it ideal for outdoor sculpture or fountains. Unlike many stones, which deteriorate under outdoor conditions, BLACKPEARL is impervious to temperature changes and acid rain. 

Patina - BLACKPEARL can be heated to high temperatures without cracking. Therefore, it is possible to patina soapstone as you would patina bronze. Try heating a stone and brushing on a solution of water and cupric nitrate to produce a green color. 

Wax & Oil Sealer - Warm a spot on the stone with a propane torch until it is hot enough to melt wax. Apply beeswax or other hard wax to the heated area. Then, rub off excess wax and polish the surface using a soft cloth. Another technique is to apply artist grade linseed oil. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. 
Hammer and Chisel - BLACKPEARL can take the impact of a hammer and chisel. A wood chisel shape carves the best. You can hit it hard and carve it fast. 

Splitting - Any size stone may be split by this simple procedure. First, cut a saw kerf across the length or width of the stone by using a carborundurm masonry blade on any type of power saw. Second, wet the saw kerf and insert wedges approximately 1 inch deep every 6 Inches along the length of the kerf. Wetting the kerf provides lubrication for the wedges to slide more easily. Third, hit the wedges with a hammer evenly and lightly until enough pressure is built up to split the stone. If wedging is done properly, you should hear a musical ring and feel the wedges tighten in the kerf with each strike of the hammer. The wedges lose their effectiveness if they hit the bottom of the kerf before the stone splits. If this happens use a thicker wedge. Wedges can be made from tips of old car and truck leaf springs, These usually can be bought at an auto junkyard. Cut them off to about 6 inches in length. It is useful to have wedges of varied thickness

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