The joy of new tools


Carbide half round file

Tools do eventually wear out, their useful life comes to an end.  I feel disgruntled and out of sorts  when they do.  They’ve become shaped to my hand, I’ve got used to how they work, I’ve sharpened them and they have served me well.    Stone is a particularly punishing material on tools, especially the sandstone I work with, as it is so abrasive.

When a parcel is delivered, and I know the postman is bringing my new tool order,  I’m restored.

Half round file

As most of my sculpture is highly finished, with smooth surfaces, I get through a lot of sandpaper and files.  On my recent visit to  G Gibson & Co Ltd for new chisels, I noticed they had some large files with different grit surfaces,  from course to fine.  These metal files come in different shapes, but I like the half-round version – little sharp grains of carbide are fused onto the file surface making tough, course projections .  Carbide is especially hard, so lasts longer and impacts sandstone well.  I haven’t had one of these files before and as it was a bit expensive, and extra to my actual needs, I felt it really had to earn its keep.

File for stone

All morning I’ve been putting it through its paces, testing it, seeing where it is useful and what it can do.

This is a 36 grit file, which is fairly course, so is used for the initial round of filing and smoothing after I’ve got a reasonable surface with the chisel.  I’m loving it!  It is very satisfying to use, effectively ripping through the stone and quickly reducing the roughness.  It makes a lovely noise and arc of falling dust as it pushes and progresses over the stone surface.  Already I’m thinking about a second, finer grade file for the next stage.

Not sure why I haven’t had one of these before!





  1. Comment by Glenn McGovern:

    I just came across your blog. I love it an plan on following it. I have been stone carving as a hobby for about two years and have fallen head over heels for it. I even have my own blog about sculpting and art. Cheers and keep up the cool work.


    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Glenn – delighted you found my site and to know that you are carving. What are you working on at the moment? I’m popping round to explore your blog too.

  2. Comment by Glenn McGovern:

    Hello Jennifer – I am working on two pieces, a blue marble bust of a man with a mohawk, sort of a tribute to my youth. I am thinking of incorporating some metal into the piece. The other is a female figure out of translucent Italian alabaster.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Sounds interesting Glenn, never seen any blue marble, very exotic – do share when you have completed – I’d love to hear how you’re getting along

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *