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Stone Craft of Jodhpur “Rajasthan”


Years old distinctive craftmenship that give history a new dimension.........


Mehrangarh Fort,Jodhpur’ Rajasthan, India



Stone Craft of Jodhpur “Rajasthan”

Guided by: Shilpa Das Associate Senior Faculty Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Design Studies Coordinator, Science and Liberal Arts Head, NID Publications, NID, Paldi. Designed & Edited by: Raghvendra Singh, Lifestyle Accessory Design


Digital publication of student document for private circulation only. PGDPD Lifestyle Accessory Design National Institute of Design, India Text @ Raghvendra Singh National Institute of Design Photographs @ Raghvendra Singh Source: Mentioned under the photograph unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved under international copyright convention. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. KMC No. Edited by: Raghvendra Singh Designed by: Raghvendra Singh Processed at National institute of design Digitally printed by: Cover page Image front: Stone carving Cover page Image inside:Sandstone flower Vass Hotel Umaid Bhavan, Jodhpur, Rajasthan Courtesy:Dan Lundberg


From the storyteller of history - “THE STONE” comes the “SANDSTONE EPICS”


Garden statues for decoration


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS As students of Lifestyle Accessory Design (National Institute of Design) I had been asked to compile data on a topic of our choice. A great deal of hard work and concentration has gone into the research. I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all those people who extended their wholehearted co-operation and have helped me in completing this project successfully. I would like to dedicate this project to the artisans whose heritage and wisdom is recorded on these pages. It has been a mature experience and would like to thank Ms. Shilpa Das for support and guideline and making this project feasible. I express a deep sense of gratitude and thanks to Mr. Virendra Singh and Narpat Singh Sankhla for providing valuable guidance and suggestions at every stage of this project. I also like to thank my Faculty Anuj Sharma for his guidance and support through local contact person.

Thank you Raghvendra Singh


About NID The National Institute of Design is internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research. The Business Week, USA has listed NID as one of the top 25 European & Asian programmes in the world. The institute functions as an autonomous body under the department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. NID is recognized by the Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) under Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, as a scientific and industrial design research organization. NID has been a pioneer in industrial design education after Bauhaus and Ulm in Germany and is known for its pursuit of design excellence to make Designed in India, Made for the World a reality. NID’s graduates have made a mark in key sectors of commerce, industry and social development by taking role of catalysts and through thought leadership. Today the institute offers postgraduate diploma programmes in specific areas of sectoral Specialization in 16 designs disciplines under the five faculties. Also, a 4-year intensive professional UG programme is offered in three Faculty streams, viz. industrial design, communication design and textile and apparel design. The Industrial Policy Resolution of 1953 articulated concerns regarding the pattern and pace of growth in India after independence, and indicated broad guidelines. It was in this setting that the Government of India invited the renowned design team of Charles and Ray Eames to recommend a programme of design to serve as an aid to small industry. Charles Eames, American industrial designer and his wife and colleague Ray Eames, visited India for three months at the invitation of the Government, with the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation, to explore the problems of design and to make recommendations for a training programme. The Eameses toured throughout India, making a careful study of the many centres of design, handicrafts and general manufacture.


The Government of India asked for recommendations on a programme of training in design that would serve as an aid to the small industries; and that would resist the present rapid deterioration in design and quality of consumer goods. They talked with many persons, official and non-official, in the field of small and large industry, in design and architecture, and in education. On the basis of their remarkable document, ‘The India Report’, the Government of India set up the National Institute of Design in 1961 as an autonomous national institution for research, service and training in Industrial Design and Visual Communication. The aim was to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to design, to satisfy the complex problems of India’s changing environment. This year, NID completes 47 years of distinguished service in design education, design training and design practice. Today, it is internationally recognised for the quality of its programmes, which will always continue to be the hallmark of this premier national Institution.


Sandstone Artifact, Jodhpur, Rajasthan Courtesy: Virendra Singh


PREFACE After getting the brief about the craft documentation, my urge to explore different materials dragged my attention to Stone Craft. My course i.e. Lifestyle Accessory Design is so broad as a design module that the need for exploring different material is relevant. The brief included the study of craft with fieldwork experience. The project brought a new excitement in me as I got an opportunity to relate my knowledge from the books to the real life scenario. My interest and availability of resources helped me choose Sandstone craft from Jodhpur as the craft for documentation. The project was broadly divided into two parts, the first part included the research work on the existing data available in the market and the second part where I gained my own personal experience by living among the people close to the craft. It was an exciting exercise as I got to relate the scenario in my mind to the real life happenings. It was like a live visual image forming with the data I read in the books. I had lot of fun exploring the craft and living with the people. The project helped me understand the perspective of people related to the craft, which helped me form the foundation for further scope of work with the material. Jodhpur sandstones are available in all sizes and shapes in an exemplary range suitable for delicate carving and can be used in form of Cladding, Paving, Paneling, Beams, and Landscaping and of course for flooring that are more than a colored marble, all great options to break the monotony & enhance the aesthetics of any dÊcor. It offers connoisseurs fine shades of Pink, Brown and Red. The Exquisite carving, incredible durability truly makes it a treasure for lifetime. This meticulous documentation is an effort to bring together the knowledge and experience of a range of craftsmen. It is a concentrated effort of different people I met during my journey of documenting it. It has helped me generate a renewed understanding of stone craft as a resource for India’s cultural and economic future and I see a lot of potential for improving this dying craft and quality of life for the future generation who will be linked to it. After this documentation I can strongly say that Stone today has no limited area of scope. In the real life, it is now an indispensible raw material. I would conclude by saying that my experience with real people helped me bridge the gap between my virtual world of knowledge and the real world of experience.


The Blue city “JODHPUR” Courtesy: Steve Mccurry


Contents Introduction


About Jodhpur, Rajasthan


Understanding Stone About Sandstone Properties of Sandstone

34 35

Journey the beginning Process of Mining Process of Quarrying Processing of Stones

42 47 48

Visit to Craftsmen Workshop Production Procedure Tools Hand Tools Pneumatic tools Power tools Carving

61 63 68 72 76 80

Stone Today Generation Now Sandstone Application

102 112

Retrospection Glossery References Bilblography




Introduction The history of stone is the history of civilization.� To study the civilization I have been brought up in, studying stone seemed to me to be the best medium to connect to my roots. Given the task of doing the assignment of Craft Documentation, it was an opportunity for me to explore my hidden desire of understanding civilization in terms of a real life project. A very significant reason for the success of stone as a building material in India has been the identification and use of quality stone suited to carving. The study of stones suited to craftsmanship was scientific and was backed at the same time by tradition: a craftsmen craftsperson has access to the best material. But these traditions slowly withered .The solid bank of knowledge that stems from an unbroken tradition going back to the hoary past has been chipped away by apathy and ignorance. Stone is now a material relegated to charming souvenirs and fancy architectural facades.

Left:Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur Rajasthan, India Courtesy: Image Source


The original brief for the document was to cover Jodhpur, which is one of the prominent stone working states where stonework is done. This includes an understanding of the raw material, the people who practice the craft, its history and the existing product, tools and production methods. Stone craft was once inextricably linked to architecture, but no longer is .The craft is under siege and needs an urgent infusion of fresh thought and energy. It faces tremendous competition from new materials. Its strength and solidity are invaluable assets, which need to be fashioned to suit modern requirements. Expensive technology like computerized water jet etching and tungsten carbidetooling may be combined with the simple chisel to churn out products which compete with the newer materials like ceramics and plastics. This documentation recurrently explores and discusses the possibility of charting out new dimensions of the existing craft, so that new horizons could be sought. It gathers information and data on the craft through a designer’s perspective. It has helped me understand the current social and economic scenario of the craft and what craft development is required. My understanding of the stone behavior and methodology of using it has made me more comfortable with the material than before.

Top- Left: “Jharokha” Airy windows, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India Below-Left: Pebble Stone , Rajasthan, India


About Jodhpur

Traditional men playing musical instrument Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India



Blue city Jodhpur

Map Of India

Left: Detailed map of Rajastan, India Top : Location of Rajasthan in India

Rajasthan is the largest state of India in terms of area. Most of its area is occupied by the Great Indian Desert (Thar Desert). The borders of Rajasthan are shared with Pakistan in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the southeast, Gujarat in the southwest, Punjab in the north, and Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast. Total area of Rajasthan is about 342,239 square kilometers, occupying 11 percent of the total geographical area of India. Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan. The main features of geography of Rajasthan include the Thar desert and the Aravali range. The Aravalli range runs from the southwest to the northeast of the state, covering more than 850 km of area. Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer are the three cities of Rajasthan, in close proximity to the desert. At one side of the Aravali range, there is the desert and the forest belt is on the other side. Jodhpur is set at the edge of the Thar Desert. This imperial city echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. In the past, it was the capital of the Marwar state, founded in 1459 A.D. by Rao Jodha - the chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs. A high wall -10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions encompasses the city. It was once a major trade center. Jodhpur is now the second largest city of Rajasthan.


Jodhpur Weather Jodhpur Climate is of an extreme type, with the variations in temperature range being very high. Weather in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is dry and hot, a typical desert weather. In summer, the maximum temperature is around 42 deg . In winters, the maximum temperature is around 27.5 deg C .Jodhpur is bright and sunny throughout the year.

Topography The geography of Rajasthan is enriched with variable topographic features. The dry and the parched region is predominant in the major portions of the state. The main features of topography are rolling sand dunes, river-drained plains, rocky terrain, wetlands, plateaus, barren tracks or land filled with the thorny shrubs, wooded regions and ravines. The topography of Rajasthan is divided into the following regions: • The Aravali /the hilly regions • The Thar and other arid regions • The plateaus including the Malwa and Vindhya • The fertile plains such as the Mewar • The forest regions • The water bodies such as rivers and salt lakes


Soil and Vegetation The soil and vegetation alters, depending upon the topography and the availability of water. The soils in Rajasthan are mostly sandy, alkaline, chalky and saline. Other types of soils found in Rajasthan are loamy, clay, nitrogenous soil and the black lava soil. Due to very less rainfall, the seasonal vegetation includes a few grass species, dwarf trees and shrubs. The black lava soil in the hilly tracks of the Aravali is ideal for the growth of sugarcane and cotton. The food crops are grown in the plains, which are drained by the streamlets and rivers.

Flora and Fauna

Top: Local men of Rajasthan, India

The flora and fauna in Rajasthan are specifically endemic to the dry region and they are adapted to survive in Rajasthan’s waterless and arid regions. The forest vegetation includes the grasses, shrubs and thorny trees. The commonly found tree species in Rajasthan are bamboo, khejri, teak and varied species of acacia. Some of the national parks have several species of plants and herbs, having great medicinal value. The fauna of Rajasthan contains about 25 species of serpents and 23 species of lizards. The wildlife in Rajasthan includes species like Indian gazelles or chinkaras, antelopes, black bucks, silver foxes, great Indian bustard, the nilgai or the blue bull, and wild cats.


Jodhpur Cuisine A number of Indian delicacies have originated in Jodhpur. Following are some of the famous Jodhpur cuisines. • • • •

Makhaniya Lassi Mawa Kachori Pyaaz Kachori Hot & Spicy Mirchibada (A preparation made with potato, onion, chili and gram flour) • Panchkuta. Jodhpur is also famous for its sweets. It is like a tradition in Jodhpur to first have something sweet and then proceed on to the main course. The sweet hospitality of Jodhpur is known as Mithi Manuhar. Some of the popular sweets of Jodhpur are: • Mave ki Kachori • Besan ki Chaaki • Maakhan Vade

Right: Different delicious traditional food of Rajasthan courtesy : WillGoTo



Tourist Attractions Jodhpur Located on the foothill of a sandstone hillock, the city of Jodhpur seems like an oasis in the vast desert. Jodhpur is one of the favorite tourist destinations in Rajasthan. Jodhpur tourist spots stand as a living proof of the splendor, traditions and culture of the Jodhpur. The glorious past of Jodhpur is personified through the various forts, palaces and other monuments of Jodhpur. The main places to see in Jodhpur Rajasthan are: • • • • • • • • • •

Mandore Ossian Balsammand Palace Guda Bishnoi Jaswant Sagar Dam Machiya Safari Park Pali Sojat City Nimaj Nagaur City

Jodhpur Forts and Monuments Jodhpur has a rich architectural and historical legacy. Dotting the city and its landscape are various forts and monuments.Some of the popular tourist attractions of Jodhpur are: • The Mehrangarh Fort • The Jaswant Thada • The Umaid Bhawan Palace • The Rai ka Baag Palace Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India Courtesy: Nitin “thekingofgudtimes”/ la.souveraine / nikhilesh haval




Costumes The costumes of Rajasthan shows a wonderful cultural legacy of weather-proof designing, and also exhibit the colourful exuberance of its animated people. The Rajasthan costumes are loose and flowing; comfortable and conservative. They prevent the sunburns that result from the direct exposure to the harsh sun-rays. The textile used for these cloths is mainly soft cotton. It provides comfort during the scorching summer months. The winters in Rajasthan are extremely cold. Hence, the men and women cover themselves with the woolen shawls, cloaks and scarves to protect them from the low temperature. Overall, in Rajasthan, people like to adorn themselves in brightly coloured cloths, perhaps to compensate for the dry barrenness of the environment in general. Women’s costume

and lehengas are being worn for the formal occasions. They wear the matching blouses like choli, kunchuki or kancholi, depending on the length of the blouse. The women’s Rajasthan costume like ghagras and lehengas are tightly tied around the waist and have increasing width at the base. The ghaghras are generally short; extended up to the calf. The lehengas are longer; reaching up to the ankles. In Rajasthan, the ghaghras and lehengas are also decorated just like the sari. The odhni is a very important part of the costumes in Rajasthan. It is a long piece of cloth teamed up with the lehenga or ghaghra choli. It can also be worn with the sari on the special occasion. The odhani is a mark of respect and conformity among women. The bridal odhani is an exquisite piece of handembroidered attire. The Mulsim women in the state wear the burkhas or the traditional black veil, in place of odhni.

The sari and the ghaghra choli are the most common women’s costumes in Rajasthan. The coloured stones, silken threads and tinsels are used to develop the charming floral patterns and traditional themes, and to promote the rich look of the sari. Depending upon the economic condition of the family, the zari work or embroidery is done by using the silver or golden threads, and the semi-precious gems or coloured stones. Tie & dye Bandhani and the block printed textiles are commonly preferred. In the rural corners of the state, the women prefer to wear the short or long frilly and flowing skirts. Generally, their daily wear is the ghaghra,

Left: The traditional women of Rajasthan, India Courtesy: Shreyans Bhansali


Men’s attire The traditional men’s costumes in Rajasthan comprises of as the upper garment, dhoti or pyjamas as lower garments, and a majestic turban, which lends gravity to the personality. The Pagri is the most popular and commonly used headgear among menfolk of Rajasthan. Achkans and kurtas also comprise Rajasthan’s traditional male attire. Sometimes in the winter, dhabla or a shawl is being worn. Music and dance reverberates across the long golden stretches of sand of Rajasthan, and also is infused in the blood of its hearty people. Here the lively people probably have a song and dance for every little occasion, for they have the capacity to colour the mundane activities of life with the hues of festivity. People in Rajasthan know how to celebrate life and this very fact is possibly reflected in its many folk song and dance forms, which exude an innate earthy charm.

Left: Tradional Rajasthan Men Attire Courtesy Rajasthan Blog Right: “Colors of Rajasthan” courtesy : viagemdossentidos / anupama kinari / Claude Renault



Understanding Stone No material other than stone has withstood the ravages of time to tell the story of what came before. All across the country, stone monuments, temples, and forts bring to life bygone eras. It has proved to be invincible as neither the climate nor war could mar it but could only alter its uses. The history of stone dates back as early as the Stone Age where the only source human had for their living was stone. The utility of stone changed with time and from being a mere tool for killing animals, it was used to construct huge palaces, which became a sign of royalty. India being a rich country for stone resources, I decided to study the craft of Sandstone from the city of royal warriors, Jodhpur. Jodhpur Sandstone is particularly popular because of its multiple physical and chemical properties, long lastingness and the beautiful colors that it is available in. They are cream colored and are mined using natural cracks.

Left: Quarrying Site, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


About Sandstone

Sandstone is basically a sedimentary rock, which derives its name from the sand-sized minerals or grains that account for its composition. It consists of sand, cemented by silica, iron and lime. The degree of compaction and the strength of the cementing medium determine the strength of the stone. The porosity of sandstone varies from less than one percent to as much as 15 per cent. Well-cemented sandstones with angular and graded grains are very compact and strong; but those with high porosity are not suitable for building purposes. Some large blocks can be easily dressed into small rectangular pieces or comparatively thin flags. The type of material depends on the spacing of bedding planes and joints. The bedding planes for Pink Sandstone are found in the main Rajasthan. This sandstone contains sizeable quantities of fine grains. Others have coarse grains in silica and are hard and abrasive.


Top: Different colors of Sandstone in India Below: Sandstone in natural form.

Properties of Sandstone Sandstone Composition-Sandstones are classified on the basis of the composition of their grains. Three components are considered: • Quartz grains - These quartz grains are large enough to show textural features in a clear enough contexts for reliable source rock identification and widely used in various applications. These grains are available in various colors, sizes, shapes, durable and Well Polished • Feldspar grains -Feldspars are found in many types of rock. It is derived from the German Feld, “field”, and Spath, “a rock that does not contain ore”. Feldspar is a common raw material in the production of ceramics and geopolymers. • Rock fragment grains Based on the percentage composition of these components, the color and the physical properties of the different varieties of sand stone vary. Physical- Mechanical Properties: -It is not only easy availability of the sandstone in the area which prompted massive use of the material but the physical mechanical properties of Jodhpur sandstone, which attracted people’s attention for its broader use. Sandstone is resistant to acid, alkali, salinity and thermal variance, which makes it suitable for construction building, landscaping, paving, cladding, cobbles etc. Due to its acid and thermal resistance and zero effect saline winds, it is widely suitable for multi storied buildings,

swimming pools, churches, mosques, temples, tombs, seashore buildings and any where in extreme climatic conditions. It is commonly used as roofing material, for making pillars, arches, wall facings and other exteriors. Its masonry use in the form of natural stone bricks is quite popular. Its use in producing fine art work can be seen in building of different types.

Top: Pink Sandstone in a Quarrying Site.


The physical properties of sandstone in-

clude the following: • Color-The color varies from red, green, yellow, gray and white. The variation is a result of the binding material and its percentage constituent. • Water Absorption -The capacity of water absorption is not more than 1.0% • Hardness-Lies between 6 to 7 on Moh’s Scale Density 2.32 to 2.42 Kg/m3 • Porosity -The porosity varies from low to very low. • Compressive Strength -Varies from 365 to 460 Kg/m2

Sandstone Chemical Properties: -The

chemical constitution of sandstone is the same as that of sand; the rock is thus composed essentially of quartz. The natural cementing material that binds the sand together as rock is usually composed of silica, calcium carbonate, or iron oxide. Chemically sandstone is a very resistant mono-mineralic rock, with silica as the principal. The percentage of each constituent is as follows: SiO2 93-94% Iron (Fe2O3) 1.5%-1.6% Alumina (Al2O3) 1.4 to 1.5% Soda (Na2O) & Potash (Kro) 1.0% to 1.2% Lime (CaO) 0.8% to 0.9% Magnesia (MgO) 0.2 to 0.25% Loss on Ignition (LOI) 1.0% to 1.2% They are highly resistant to acids, alkalis and thermal impact Texture and Shades-Jodhpur sandstone varies in texture and is fine to medium and even coarse grained, massive hard and compact at places


Different Sandstone in India Courtesy: Virendra Singh

and is porous at other places. It is available in different shades and can be easily dressed, chiseled, honed, flamed, shot blasted and mirror polished. Its most commonly available shades, pink, multicolor, brown, cherry and red are exquisite and attractive looking shades Jodhpur Sandstone is available for works such as dimension stone blocks for monumental and building purposes, sculptures and artifacts with various kinds of carvings and handcrafted designs.


Textures- Sandstones have different surface textures, which vary according to their formation. However, now a day the stones are fabricated as per the desired texture and usage. There are six main types of surfaces that are in use: 1.Natural - The natural surface texture is achieved by ripping along its line of cleavage to reveal the natural grain and texture. This texture gives an undulating surface with great character. The surface comes with natural clefts giving a very natural look. 2.Flamed - The texture provides a rough surface. The roughness in the surface is a result of bursting of crystals when the stone is heated. Such a surface gives an irregular textured finish. 3.Polished - The polished surface texture is a reflection of polished crystals. Such a texture brings out the brilliant colors and grains of natural stones. The shine on stone surface


comes from polishing bricks and powders used during fabrication and not from any coating. 4.Honed - The honed texture is produced by grinding a surface with high grit material to a uniform specification, such that it does not produce a reflective surface. Thus, honed stone colors are not as vibrant as polished stones. A smooth finish with a slight sheen is produced by using a polishing head. This surface is very smooth, but often very porous. 5.Bush hammered - A pounding action that develops a textured surface. The top surface is pneumatically tooled to produce a pitted or grooved surface finish. 6.Sawn - Sawn surface is coarsely polished leaving a semi-smooth, regular finish. Using a gang saw does it. 7.Sand blasted - Producing a finish similar to cleft, sand blasting involves projecting highpressure airline coarse-grained grit, onto the top surface of the stone. It is characterized by a textured surface with a matte gloss.


Right: Sandstone Pebbles



Journey-the beginning



y journey through the stone city starts with my special love for sweets. I always see it as a precious art of creating it in vivid colors, forms and textures. While doing my research on the craft I wish to document for this project, my love for sweets and guidance by our visiting faculty, Anuj Sharma helped me see a new perspective to the art of stone, better known as stone craft. I saw the need for detailed study of what was and what exists in this craft. The


idea of exploring this craft gave a new dimension to my imagination, as I had never explored stone as a material before. After a secondary research on stones available in Rajasthan, I decided to explore sandstone craft. Keeping in mind the brief for the document, which was to cover sandstone craft in Jodhpur including an understanding of the raw material, the people who practice the craft, its history the existing product, tools and production methods then I started planning my journey.

The first step to documenting this craft was to find the right people who could show me the right path. Anuj introduced me to a family friend Mr.Sudhanshu Tak, a local resident of Jodhpur and a businessman by profession. He guided me to the places where I could find craftsmen working on sandstone craft, mentioned about the local markets where I could find the final products. His most precious advice to me was to explore the architecture, monuments and temples in Jodhpur, which were a live example of this craft standing strong for years. I planned my itenary as discussed with Sudhanshu and de-

cided to stay in a Youth hostel in Jodhpur. My first evening at the youth hostel proved to be very fruitful as I got to meet Mr. Narpat Singh Sankhla, Warden Youth Hostel. During an evening tea conversation with him, I learnt about his family business of mining, processing and exports of sandstone, marble, and granite. He was of great help as he took me to the stone park, which is the industrial area for stone mining and carving in Mandore, Jodhpur. I came to know about the whole process from stone quarrying to the finished product. The Blue City, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India Courtesy: Alexandre Duret-Lutz


The following day, he introduced me to the man behind the Stone Park, Mr. Virendra Singh. He owns a company by the name of Sheoji Stone International, and is also the President of Stone Industries & Mining Development Society. I got a chance to visit the Library of SIMDS (Stone Industries & Mining Development Society) where I found documentaries on stone craft from the time it had evolved. The material and craft dates back from 800 BC, the Mandore Fort itself stands strong from the 8th Century AD. I realized that one important thing which I was missing out was the plan of action for the whole documentation. I had fifteen days for the field visit and documenting of craft, for which I was required to plan my time for productive results and make sure I don’t miss out on any important detail. With the help of Mr. Narpat, I made a plan of action for the coming days. The plan of action was as follows: Process of quarrying and mining: 2 days Processing of stones: 2 days Workshops: 2 days Craftsmen interaction: 3 days Market study: 2 days Documentation: 4 days

Left: Desert Women,Rajasthan,India Courtesy:Steve Mccurry Right: Cities of Rajasthan, India Courtesy: /Robert Harding/ alina_seghedi/ roha





Mining is an industry involving the locating, opening up, extraction and preparation of useable natural resources, such as rocks. One of the most important raw materials is sandstone, which is extracted through this process. This raw material exists in nature in hard form. The extraction of this raw material is dependent on the geological situation and the depth at which it is found. Sandstone is found on the top layer of the earth’s crust, so the process used for its extraction is surface mining. Quarry operations are often impaired and delayed by rock stresses, which do not become noticeable till men stab the rock. Rock bursts and rock bombs, the closing of saw cuts should be ascribed to residual stresses, caused by pre stressing of rock masses. The pre- stressed stone slowly expands, distresses after mining and increases in volume. Increase in porosity along with increase of compressive strength maybe the result, but there may also be deterioration of tensile and sheer strength.

Left: Mining Site, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India


Sheeting Sheeting stress relief develops along distinct horizontal joints, which lie approximately parallel to the original land surface. This is an effect of unloading of the burden by erosion, which begins sometime in the geologic past and is called sheeting. Here, the rock comes apart in sheets. Occasional horizontal stress relief may cause considerable compression forces leading to bumps and rock burst. The slabs are only a few inches thick and are often of considerable length; the height of the roof-like bumps is up to two feet in the centre. Sheeting eases quarrying but also permits the entry of weathering agents.

Process of Quarrying Quarrying is a science, which studies the extraction and exploitation of stone. It guides not only the method of extraction, but also the emerging size and shape which in turn decides the future of the raw material and the level of craftsmanship. Most rocks have been exposed to stresses in the earth’s crust in the geologic past. Jointing, faulting, and folding are the result of the former compression, tension and shear forces. These form natural lines of stone separation in the quarry. Quarrying must yield blocks or slabs of specified shapes and sizes, termed ‘dimension stone’. In order to get proper ‘dimension stone’ the rock should be of a uniform texture and color, free from closely spaced cracks and joints and devoid of any impurities.


Sandstone Quarrying Sandstone is usually quarried in slabs, and blocks are not common. This makes it suitable for flat, relief work like jalis. Sculptural work as in large benches, or architectural elements is not possible with such slabs. Sandstone deposits occur in two different varieties: splittable, and non-splittable. In some cases, the latter lies over the former. Nonsplittable sandstone is generally coarse, and the splittable version is medium to fine- grained. The natural lines of the laminated deposit are studied and exploited while quarrying. The thickness between two cleavage planes varies from half a meters to one and a half meters’. The splittability of the stone is decided by the presence of the weaker zone. One block may have five to seven such zones. The spacing between such zones decides the thickness of the individual dimensional stones. Often uneven bedding planes are also encountered at a number of places. Block sizes are one to one and a half meters by three or four meters with a thickness dependent on the particular quarry. At the time of quarrying, any exposure of Rock must be in well-spaced beddings and the joint planes must be very clean, clear-cut and pronounced so that it becomes easier to break the blocks into one or more flat surfaces. If not, the rock may have to be dressed on all sides. The following rock structures aid quarrying:

Sketch of a mining site for sandstone Courtesy: virendra Singh


Jointing is the fracture in the rock, generally more or less vertical, along which no appreciable movement has occurred. Joints determine the minimum size of the stone, which can be recovered. Joints may aid the economic feasibility of hard rock quarrying. Joints can be classified as systematic, non systematic and cross joints. Nonsystematic joints are usually curved and terminate at systematic joints.

charges of gunpowder are used. Operational efficiency, slope, rapid and safe cutting without generation on vibrations, and the close observation of stone structures and rock stresses deserve much attention. Stone quarrying can range from cutting up large fieldstones, e.g. glacial erratics and residue granite boulders to the most elaborate underground mining techniques.

Faulting is a fracture or a fracture zone along which displacement of one side has occurred relative to the other. The displacement may be of a few inches or of many miles. Faults may have a variety of effects on stone and stone production, depending on the size of fault, the kind of fault fill in and the degree of rock shattering in the immediate vicinity of the faults. Crushing along a fault from movement along a fault plain, results in slickenside. In quarrying, slickensides provide unnatural line of separation and a specially patterned surface for dimension and flagstones. Weathering processes readily enter along faults and deteriorate the rock rapidly towards both sides of the fault. Clay fillings along fault zones form a distinct line of separation, a great danger or nuisance in quarry operation. Bedding embedded rocks like sandstone and slate, the easiest direction for splitting is parallel to the bedding. Thus, layered blocks can be quarried often without explosives. Sometimes small


Natural texture of sandstone in it natural environment.

Processing of Stone Careful stone cutting and blasting should separate the stone without micro cracking. Advantage is taken of natural lines of stones separation such as bedding planes, joint surfaces and internal rock structures.

Today, the method is primarily applied to igneous rock where channels are cut by flaking and spalling, and by rock melting. Torch cutting is only possible in area where stress relief occurs. Fire in quarrying operation for granite.

Wedging : - Ancient wooden wedges are now replaced by steel wedges with ‘feathers’, widely spaced and well aligned for splitting large blocks, wedges are driven by hammer to a certain pitch till the block splits along pre determined lines through tensile forces.

Simple edge cutting machines with single and double cutters have been used near the deposits or even in the processing centre where the exporters have their own factories. During the last few years the trend had been to calibrate these tiles in thickness of 10 or 12 mm with one side natural and the other calibrated. Some traditional machines for calibration have also been developed recently; they are very cheap and are mostly used for reducing the thickness of tile.

Drilling : - Closely spaced drill holes, with often less than one inch of rock substance left between the drill holes is a popular method of cutting large blocks when helpful joints are not available. Rapid pneumatic or electric drills make this method economical, especially in location where wire saws cannot be placed. Wire saw cutting : - Endless braided steel wires are an inexpensive cutting tool in continuous operation both in soft and in hard rock. Diamond cable saw : - These are continuous steel cables with some diamond bits attached at periodic intervals to make the process of cutting more efficient. Flame cutting / Jet cutting : - Cutting with a torch using a mixture of kerosene and oxygen was believed to be the most inexpensive method of quarry cutting in the early 1960s. Not all rock; however, respond equally well to flame cutting.


Sandstone edges : The finish and the smoothness of the tiles and the slabs made of sandstone depend on the edges, which is further dependent on the way they are cut. The edges play a major role in the overall appearance of the architecture they are used in. The fine edges of a stone can enhance the overall look of ceiling, flooring or any other exterior or interior looks. The edges are available in three different finishes. These are - Machine cut/sawn, Hand chiseled/hand dressed or Chamfered/beveled.

interior. These slabs most commonly find a place in kitchen tops or on tabletops. Chamfering the edges is achieved by following the two processes of first sawing and then polishing. Chamfering removes the shine and whiteness of sawn edges.

“The craftsman is the

Machine cut / Sawn Edges : - such tiles or slabs are the commonly used types of edges. Using machine lends the fine edges, which simplifies the work of the fitter as these slabs or tiles fit perfectly. The machine cut/ sawn edges slabs are subjected to a high speed rolling cutter blade to get a very smooth edge surface with a complementary (90°) angle at the vertices of the tiles/slabs. Hand Chiseled Edges : - Hand chiseled edges, as the name suggests are smoothened by the professional workers. Hand chiseled or hand dressed edges are best suited for exterior walls and pavements. These types of tiles are first cut into different sizes and then, they are worked upon to achieve smoothness. This edge finish is very much similar to natural surface finish and hand dressed edges are a good combination with natural surface finish. Chamfered Edges : - The chamfered edge slabs look classic on exterior walls or any part of the Detailed views of mining site.



Craftmen Chiseling on a sandstone piece


Visit to Craftsmen’s Workshop


A craftman carving out the design


“Unbroken link in the tradition embracing both the producer and the consumer, within the social fabric. Art and aesthetics are deeply rooted in function. Ornamentation and decoration are not divorced from utility.�


The concept of a workshop is to support small craftsmen who explore this material and take it to imaginable creative limits They make products that cater to local visitors who tend to place small orders, which are customer specific. The product line can broadly be distributed under balcony designs, cladding, cobbles and Linton, fire place, flooring, fountain, furniture, gate design, lamp, Jharokha, temples, etc. They use simple and local available machines to work on the products. There is a revolutionary change that can be noticed in designs i.e. the smart designing concept where they use the craft on specific areas so that the product looks aesthetically appealing and is very cost effective. The motifs used are still very Indian like that from the time of the Mughal era but the form has much variety and interesting cuts to it. The planters that are made by these artisans are the best example of smart designing that one can observe and see.

the Hindu and Islamic traditions work together. Over the centuries, some fundamental attitudes and basic values of Indian culture and craft have been preserved, but the tide of industrialization has had an effect on production methods. Craft is up against the great leveling forces of industry and the market, and traditional methods are erased, changed or amalgamated. In only a few cases, they remain unchanged.

I was keen on finding out how these craftsmen process their designs. I aimed to have personal interaction with the artisans and the best way to do that was to start from their homes. The difference between the two groups- the highly trained and traditional stone workers and the self- taught village stone workers – is becoming diffused. In areas where there is a need for more stone workers, these simple village workers are encouraged to evolve into craftsmen of merit. Caste distinctions are overcome this way. In Rajasthan, craftsmen from Right:The machiney used by the craftmen for the carving on stone



Laethe Turning machine


Production Procedures The primary activity in stone craft, prior to more evolved procedures such as engraving, carving, perforating is basic dressing. This essentially involves the planning of stone into a flat surface or into basic shapes such as rectangular or cuboid blocks for masonry, construction etc. Thus, on the ladder of skills, this is the lowest and the most essential rung, which every craftsman has to climb before developing his skills for more intricate work, and is essential for granite, marble and sandstone. There are lakhs of craftsmen in the country who are skilled only at basic dressing, working at quarry sites to even out rough quarried blocks prior to export or before being cut into slabs, tiles etc.

tool is used for removing very large chunks. But, by and large, flat tipped tools are very popular on sandstones of Gujarat as compared to stone of Rajasthan since the material is not very hard and allows for the working of a flatter tip. For the fine work, pointed tools are used

Top: pitching Courtesy: Walter S. Arnold Below: Polishing Machine

Basic dressing involves, chipping the stone to a relatively even surface using a thick pointed tool with a hammer to remove uneven pieces. After this, a flat chisel is used to even out the smaller irregularities. Sandstone is a material of the greatest contradiction because of the vast variety in the kind of stone available. Good sandstone skills are dependent on the quality of material. Sandstone is not as hard as it is brittle, and depending on the quality of grain bonding, it may crumble easily or take on details. A pointed



Handtools Used for Stone crafting Courtesy: Trowandholden Right : hand tools picture Courtesy: thesculpturestudio

Tools The essential gradients for forging tools are fire, hammer, tongs and a stone trough of water. Most of the tools used by forgers are from within the stone working community itself. In areas where hard stones such as granite, marble and sandstone are worked upon, every unit has a tool-forging workshop. The wandering blacksmith communities of Lohars forge tools for the crafts people. But they are not to be found everywhere. Hence, most crafts units have craftsmen doubling as tool forgers. The sandstone tools are in great contrast to granite and marble tools because of the nature of the material. Broad faced chisel are used to flatten out surfaces prior to chiseling. Flat chisel of a maximum width of 1 or 2 cm can be used in these materials, whereas in sandstone some chisels are 5 cm wide. In certain parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the scoop chisel is also used. This is a chisel with a broad, scooped, shaped tip. It is very much like the curved wooden chisel, which is used to scoop out portions in semi circular sections. Sandstone tools used for finishing are extremely fine. In sandstone, there are hardly any examples of the use of mechanical tools anywhere in the country. Work done on sandstone does not require a great force for hammering, it requires great care instead. Pneumatic tools with less power can be used in sandstone, but no example of this has been noticed anywhere in the country. Apart from the chisel, hammers and tongs for forging are common tools used by stone craftsmen. The hammer varies from stone to


stone. In the hammer for sandstone, only one side is used for hammering while the other tapers to a flat chisel shape and is used for knocking away material. Sandstone is sometimes even carved with wooden mallets where the fine details of the sandstone are etched with gentle hammering.

Top-Left: Craftmen chiseling out front elevation Left: Cutting out a whole in the stone Right: Crafmen creating markings for the design to be chiseled out.



The tools are broadly divided into three categories 1. Hand Tools 2. Pneumatic Tools 3. Power Tools

Tools Description

Before the carving process, the most important is the safety equipments. They play an important role, as the user safety is the top priority .The safety kit includes the mentioned below equipments a. Safety Glasses b. Respirator c. Gloves d. Ear protection The most important safety rule is to always wear safety glasses. Wearing a respirator is advised when working around stone dust, and is absolutely required when working with stones containing silica (like granite) or other toxic materials. Ear protection should be worn when using pneumatic tools and diamond saws. Shock resistant gloves protect hands from the pneumatic tool vibration and abrasions from sharp stone chips. The irony is that none of this is actually followed in the real scenario. The craftsmen tend to use just a piece of cloth on their faces as an alternate to respirator. The Safety glasses is rarely used. The craftsmen don’t use any gloves as half of the time it is not provided to them by the employer, they are worn out or they have no time to use them. They are more of showcase items than a necessary product.


Top: Safety gadgets used while carving Courtesy: thesculpturestudio Below:Hand Chiseling Right: Machine tool used for cutting


Hand Tools 1.


Chisels: Chisels are available in two broad categories i.e. tooth chisels and Flat/Rondel Chisels. It is used for roughing out and removing material quickly. They are hardened steel, which work well on softer stones and marble. For harder stones like granite, carbide tipped chisels are required. On soft stone, the point chisel can leave a ‘stone bruise’, or white mark, when it has gone deeper into the stone than your intended surface. Care must be taken not to ‘bury’ the chisel into the stone. These unintended white marks will show up when the stone is polished. These bruises can only be removed by carving or filing down into the stone past the depth of the bruise. The tooth chisel is used after the point chisel has roughed out the basic shape. It further refines the forms and removes the peaks and valleys left by the point chisel. The flat and rondel chisels come into play for smoothing out the texture left by the tooth chisel and prepares the stone for finishing. Any stone bruises left by the point or tooth chisels can be removed with a flat chisel or a riffler file.

Hammers: They come in a variety of weights for doing different jobs. The small hammer is used for carving small details. The medium ones are good for general carving. Few hammer are designed for use on granite and has a hardened steel head. It is used with chisels with untempered ends and will cause the chisel to mushroom over. The lump Different Handtools and other accessories used for carving Courtesy: thesculpturestudio


hammer is with a soft steel head. It can be used with chisels that have tempered ends, and in this combination, the hammerhead will mushroom over. The heavy hammer has sufficient weight to effectively drive a point chisel or pitching tool in removing large chunks of stone. The ‘rock buster’ has a carbide edge, which can be placed on the edge of a stone, similar to a pitching tool, and struck with another hammer to bust off large chunks of stone. 3.

: The handset or pitching tool is used for knocking large chunks of stone off the edge of a square block. It can be very effective in removing a lot of stone quickly. The tracing tool is used for creating a more precise line along the edge of a block.

4. Rasps and Rifflers
: The final shaping of the softer stones can be done with rasps. Power tools for finishing can sometimes be hard to control and give a mechanical look. The use of rasps provides a more natural, flowing finish. The rasp’s scratch marks can be left as a textural element, or removed with sandpaper. 5. Sand Paper: Usually the last thing to work the stone is wet/dry Silicone Carbide sandpaper. Grits run from coarse (40-80 grit), medium (150, 220, 320 grit), to fine (400, 600, 800, 1,500 grit). Water is applied over the stone

while sanding to remove the sheared-off dust particles. Marble begins to show a



Left: Different Chisel Effect on stone Right: Different surface textures created through hand tools Courtesy: Dona Z Meilach


Pneumatic Tools Pneumatic tools are those, which have power-driving tools supplied by compressed air generated by a gasoline or electric motor. Few artists work solely with either hand methods or power methods, but combine the two. They use the tool that does the best job and that they enjoy using. Some sculptors do prefer to work with hand tools only believing that the slower development; but for larger, monumental sculpture. When carving with pneumatic tools one should remember that any blow to a piece of stone makes a fracture mark depending upon the stone, tool used, and the force of the blow. The fracture may extend into the stone as far as 1/4th inch and be seen as a light spot. The best advice is to understand that each piece of stone is unique and must be handled accordingly. The pneumatic tool is held with both hands, the bottom hand is giving support and direction. The top hand helps attain steadiness and guide the tool. Wearing work gloves will help avoiding blistering that often results from the rapid action of the tool. The following are the pneumatic tools used: 1. Chisels: The chisels used with pneumatic hammers are basically the same as the hand tools. The difference is the round shank (usually 1/2�) that goes into the pneumatic hammer. The chisel types include: point, tooth, rondel, gouge, and flat. They can be either all steel or, as in this case, carbide tipped. Carbide is much harder (and more brittle) than tempered steel, so it will Variety of Pneumatic tools used for carving Courtesy: thesculpturestudio


keep an edge much longer. A carbide chisel is sharpened with a green wheel on a grinder, and is never quenched. 2. Hammers : Pneumatic hammers (from Trow and Holden) work on an internal piston driven by compressed air. They impart many rapid strikes per second. Hammers come in varying sizes from the pen size (like the Barre Bantum), 1/2”, 3/4”,1”, and 1 1/4”. The 3/4” and 1” hammers are used for general carving. The more powerful 1 1/4” hammer is used for heavy material removal. With continuous use, the constant vibration of the hammer can cause numbness in the hands. Anti-vibration gloves with padded palms reduce this impact. 3. Bushing tools : There is also specialty tools such as bushing chisel, frosting chisels, cup chisel, and criss-cross chisel. The 4-point and 9 point bushing tools are used to pulverize granite crystals when doing the final shaping of the stone. The criss-cross tool can create interesting textures. The cup tool is used for shaping concave surfaces. The frosting tool is used for texturing marble. 4. Compressor : Each size hammer requires a particular amount of air consumption to work properly. A 5 HP compressor with a 60-gallon tank should provide enough air pressure to easily run the 3/4” hammer. The 1” hammer keeps my 5HP compressor running continuously. Use a 3/8” hose to provide an adequate airflow. A stopcock on the hose near the hammer is used to regulate the airflow. Quick connect attachments allow you to easily remove the hammers form the hose.



5. Banker : The banker, or workbench, should be strong enough to hold the weight of the stone and be stable enough to take the abuse of the pushing and pounding of stone carving. 
Sand bags can be made from the cut off legs of an old pair of jeans, filled with sand, and tied off. Sand bags hold the work in place while you are carving and polishing. These tools are electricity driven and are machine-based tool. Power tools are used for a variety of reasons when carving stone.

Left: Tool Details Top -Right: Work Bench Below-Right: Attachments for Pneumatic Tools Courtesy :Trowandholden


Power Tools

Power tool used for cutting Right: Power tools and its attachments. courtesy : thesculpturestudio


Power tools are faster, stronger and require less effort. While power tools may not always be ideal for detailed work or work on softer stones, they are essential tools for any stonemason or stone sculptor. Power tools run on either electricity or air pressure. Pneumatic power tools require compressors to function. Some power tools that carve or cut at high RPM use a center water-feed system to cool down their blades, discs or bits. 1. Grinder : The mini grinder with a 4 1/2� blade is an extremely useful tool for stone carving. On the softer stones, inexpensive carbide masonry cutting and grinding discs can be used. Diamond blades are required for the harder stones like granite, but can also be used on the softer stones. A flush mount adapter increases the versatility of the tool, but will have to be used without the safety guard. You must cut in a perfectly straight line with these blades. Any torque could cause the blade to bind and kick back or damage the blade. An effective way to remove stone quickly is to make a series of parallel cuts about an inch apart, then break them off with a hammer and chisel. The diamond cup wheel is very effective at smoothing rough surfaces on granite before polishing. 2. Die Grinder
: A die grinder can be useful when carving softer stones like soapstone and alabaster. Equipped with diamondcoated burs, it can make the job of carving small details or getting into holes and crevices much easier.

3. Saws : Saws can cut through stone quickly but release a lot of stone dust. To limit the dust, wet saws can be used. For harder stones, such as granite, electroplated diamond blades are used that can handle the hardness of the stone. Saws can be hand-held or mounted into tables or sliding rail systems. 4. Drill
 : Drills can be used with many attachments to carve stone. Core drill bits make holes in the stone. The impact ‘hammer’ action of a hammer drill is necessary when drilling stone. A regular drill will just spin and not cut into the stone. Carbide-tipped (masonry) drill bits must be used. Caution must be taken when drilling a hole completely through the stone. As you near the other side, the impact of the drill will blow out the stone surrounding the exit hole. The impact of a larger hammer drill may be required for drilling into harder stones like granite. It uses carbide tipped drill bits. For larger holes, a pneumatic rock drill and carbide-tipped drill bits with air running down the center of the bit to the tip (to blow out the dust) are used. 5. Polisher : When I polish intricate or organic shapes on softer stones, I do it by hand with wet/dry sandpaper. For polishing large, fairly flat surfaces on harder stones, I use a pneumatic, center water feed polisher. The polisher has a Velcro head that accepts pads containing diamonds of different grits held in a hard resin, from 40 grit (coarse) to 3000 grit (very fine). The water helps wash away the dust particles removed by the diamonds. 6. Angle Grinders: Angle grinders use blades,


discs and wheels to cut and carve the stone. Softer stones can be cut with carbide masonry blades. Harder stones require diamond blades or bowl-shaped wheels to remove materials. Grinders come in electric- and air-powered versions. Pneumatic power tools are often preferred because they stay cooler during use. 7. Routers: Routers are used to carve into the stone’s face or around its corners. They work with a variety of shaped routing or profiling bits that spin and cut or grind away the stone. Routers can be used to write characters and create decorative edges on the stone.

Top left: Tool to cut stone Centre Left: Method of holding the machine Below Left: Tool for smoothning surface Right: Tool for drill with multiple attachment courtesy : Thesculpturestudio



Carving Direct carving is accomplished by chipping, scraping, fracturing, flaking, or, in some cases crushing and pulverizing the stone to be removed. Chipping consists of breaking away small pieces a little at a time to reduce the shape of the stone mass. To, Scrape, one rubs over the stone with a sharp instrument. A fracture refers to breaking off large chunks or through an entire thickness.


Flaking occurs in some stones where thin layers rather than chips break away. Pulverizing means hitting the stone repeatedly until a powdery, granular material results and disintegrates excess stone. One begins to carve by placing the raw stone on a suitable working surface, and then applies tools until the stone is developed into the desired shapes and forms. The tools are shaped much like those used by primitive man, but (tempered check!) steel and modern sharpening devices make them more efficient. There is no single standardized way to approach stone carving. One may work indoors

or outdoors in any improvised area. One sculptor uses half of a garage; another works in lean- to shed in a backyard, another out in the open. One insists that only hand tools should be used; another combines hand and power tools. About the only thing on which there is agreement is that no matter what the tool, material, or technique, one needs the inspiration of a dream, a myth, a fantasy, or something uniquely human.

Right Below: Sandstone Block in raw form Right Centre: Craftsmen Carving out texture Right Top: Craftsmen Carving out the form Below: Carving of the piller



For a quick introduction to the use of hand, pneumatic, and industrial tools for stone carving, a visit to a stonecutting company was relevant. There, I saw huge saws with running water to reduce friction, cutting through large slabs of stones as effortlessly as one would cut a slice of bread. Stonecutters use tools as an extension of their hands. Most important to observe is the amount of stone dust in the air, on the workers, everywhere, which should convince the beginning carver of how important it is to wear respirators and safety masks.

Material hand cutting tools used for all soft stones include: • Iron hammers made in weight from ¼ pound to 4 pounds • Bush hammer • Points • Flat chisels • Toothed chisels • Riffler • Rasps and files in varying sizes and shapes

The workers use a work stand with a comfortable height, usually lower than your elbows so the forearm drops below the elbow with the hammer. It should be sturdy enough to keep the stone from falling or wobbling when hammering. A tree trunk, a barrel weighted with rocks, a wooden box lined with a heavy cloth, a modeling stand with a rotating top, or a stationary table are suitable. Any stone over a foot or so is heavy to move about, but you can shift its position more easily by placing an old bath rug or layers of burlap beneath it. Then by twisting the fabric, you manipulate the stone. Canvas sandbags are used to prop the stone in different positions for working comfort, and until one decides where the actual base of the sculpture will be. These materials and bags also cushion the stone from the shock of the hammer blows.

Left: Cutting of huge sandstone blocks Above: Carving of an intricate design


How to hold tools The book “ Contemporary Stone Sculpture” by Dona Z Meilach mentions the technique of holding the tool, which I wanted to document for it to be accessible to other people. The point is the first tool usually used for general roughing out of the shape and removing large and small masses of stone, although each artist insists his way of holding the tool is best, there are basically four different positions. These positions apply to all tools held that are to be driven by the hammer. Tools you work without a hammer, such as rasps, bush hammers, files, and so on, should be held in any way comfortable. Hammer driven points and chisels should be held firmly but not clutched too tightly. This allows enough freedom so the point can bite into the stone accepting the full impact of the hammer blows. Never force point into a stone or it may wedge, break off the tip, and fracture the stone. At first, the point is held at about a 75-degree angle to the stone, but after the block has been roughed out, the angle becomes more oblique. They avoid working on 90-degree angle. Besides possibly breaking the point, such an impact “stuns” the sandstone, that is, it causes a serious disruption of the crystalline structure around the chisel stroke. This is seen as a frosty, opaque area radiating from the point of impact. This “stunning” can go an inch or so into the stone and will always be evident on the surface even if the stunned areas does not flake out.


Flat chisels also are worked at an oblique angle to the stone. Toothed chisel working angles differ depending upon the number of teeth and the effect to be achieved. Until you get enough practice hitting the chisel end with the middle of the hammer, craftsmen may wish to wear a heavy work glove with fingers cut out, except for the thumb and possibly the second finger where a knuckle, often impedes the hammer’s progress. Wrist straps also help keep wrist muscles from tiring until they become accustomed to use.

Top-left: Image representation of holding the tool rigtly Below- left: Old carving tools Below: Machine to harpen tool Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio

Sharpening tools New tools generally are sharpened. Used tools are reedged as often as needed, and usually only a quick touching is required. Steel tool edges may be reground with a bench grinder mounted with an aluminum oxide silicone carbide or Carborundum wheel, but a belt sander mounted with a fine grit aluminum oxide belt is the most accurate, quick, and safe method. They are supposed to always wear safety goggles when grinding. Craftsmen always attempt to retain the original shape of the tool edge. With a bench grinder, they hold the tools firmly but not too tightly using the small grinder shelf for a tool rest and guide. They use the edge of the straight wheel only. (Grinding on one side might groove the wheel and weaken it.) To grind on one side of the wheel, one uses steel reinforced wheel or cup wheels. They use a coarse wheel for wearing metal down quickly, then a finer wheel for a smoother surface. Work and cut or applying so much pressure that blue spots appears on the metal. Spots indicate that the temper of the metal is being drawn. Friction produced by grinding causes the steel to heat up so it is essential to dip tool edge in water frequently so tempering will not be lost. The sharpness of tools depends on personal preferences, use of tool, and stone to be hit. Toothed tool edges are touched, and then a knife file is used for sharpening edges of teeth.


Tungsten carbide tools are usually returned to the manufacturer for sharpening; however. A vitrified silicone carbide wheel works. Tungsten carbide tools are sharpened slowly or they chip.

Tempering tools After repeated regrinding, tools may lose some of their tempering or hardness. They may be retempered with an oxyacetylene torch or sent to a commercial sharpener. To retemper, they heat the point of the tool about two inches up until it turns a cherry red; then quench or dip in water only about three quarter of an inch up. Immediately run a file along the tool, making a narrow path in hammer. If a soft end mushrooms from hammering, it may be filed off. Eventually becomes too short to be used.

Making Tools Tools are relatively easy to make when one has access to a forge or an oxyacetylene flame. Round or octagonal rods of tools steel are cut to eight-inch lengths with a hacksaw. Heat the end until it glows, then hammer on an anvil to a rough point. Grind to desired shape on a grinding wheel: point, flat chisel, and so on, as in the sharping instructions. Then temper. Many sculptors fashion toothed chisels for special effects. Octagonal or square shaped rods are usually easier to grip than round rods.


Top: Cleaning tool in water Bottom: Filing the small edges Right Top: Sharpning the tool Right Below: Safety Equipments set Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio

Safety and Health The greatest dangers to the carver are injuries to eyes and face from flying bits of stone and lungs ailments from stone dust. For protection, one is to always wear a plastic safety mask or goggles and respirators available from sculpture suppliers and industrial equipment suppliers. The full-face mask (a) straps around the head and protects the entire face from flying chips. This is especially important during the initials roughing out stages when tools are hit with enough force to send particles of stone flying at high speeds and great impact. Goggles (b) are important when carving all stones, but especially igneous varieties that are harder and sharper than others. Facemasks and goggles may be worn over eyeglasses. Most have replaceable plastic lenses. The workroom is equipped with eyewash and cotton swabs for removing particles from the eye. Telephone numbers and addresses of emergency medical services are available for if eye injury occurs.Respirators are worn to prevent stone inhalation, which may cause pneumoconiosis. Granite and rocks containing silica and quartz produce a fine dust that lodges in the lungs and may cause silicosis. Respirators have replaceable filters that are changed frequently. Closed rooms are properly vented with exhaust systems to remove stone dust, or a dust collecting system. A shop vacuum cleans dust and chips more efficiently than a broom and dustpan. Because wood handles


expand and contract with humid and dry weather conditions, hammerheads will loosen and tend to fly off when swung. For a temporary cure, they soak the wood handle in water to expand it so it fits more tightly in the hammer. Fit in a steel wedge, and then soak in linseed oil to tighten permanently. When using pneumatic equipment, power saws, drills, sanders, and so on, they always follow manufacturer’s instructions. Never wear clothes or articles that dangle such as long neckties, scarves, loose sleeves, long hair, or jewellery that might catch in moving blades and drill bits. Don’t reach across machines while they are running. Never touch a moving part to slow it down.

Top: Smoohing the surface of stone Below: Actual mask use by craftsmen in India Right Top: Drawring of the sculpture Right below: Framework rendering of the Sculpture Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio


General carving procedures Carving procedures are sometimes categorized as ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’. Both involve carving stone directly, but the approach is different and does affect the final result. “Indirect” carving means the artist has developed a small model of his sculpture from wax, plaster, soap, or clay. This model is then reproduced on a large scale by the “pointing” method. Using a pointing device or a caliper, the model is mechanically enlarged by a stonecutter. It is usually brought to within a thin skin of what the final surface is to be. Then either the stonecutter under the sculptor’s direction, or the sculptor, will work the stone to the skin, duplicating the final touches as in the model, perhaps adding individual textures and nuances. This indirect approach has advantages and disadvantages. It reduces the time and effort required by the craftsman to produce his work. It eliminates the roughing out process. The craftsman really doesn’t have to know how to carve. The disadvantage is often the nature of stone is lost. The sculptor, working in clay or wax, is actually modeling, not carving. He is unaware of “time” as an element of creating a stone sculpture. He is concerned only with the material of his model; he may not be designing for a particular piece of stone, and much of the stone may be wasted. Because the model originates in another material, the vitality and life that seem


to emanate from a direct carving are lost. When reproducing a model and a flaw occurs in the stone, one may have to discard the stone. The spontaneity of working into and around a flaw is lost. Another disadvantage is caused by the natural play of light on stone and how it reacts as the work is being carved. In a model, one cannot anticipate the effect of light on areas of specific stones. Nor can one anticipate the directions of veining that may distort the direction of a shape. ‘Direct’ carving then really has two meanings: the artist is directly involved in the creation of his sculpture from beginning to end directly in the stone. He visualizes the form within and removes the unwanted stone. He is able to change direction, revise, and take advantage of inherent vicissitudes of the material and forms. He may make sketches on paper, in clay, wax, or plaster, but these are only sketches not models. They may help him think in the threedimensional manner required for stone carving, but the finished sculpture may have only some resemblance to the sketch. Even if someone else helped with the roughing out, the sculptor is always in control of his work. A three-dimensional sketch, or drawing, is recommended so the craftsmen avoid a tendency to chip away the stone until little material remains. He is encouraged to sketch on the stone so he can integrate the form on all sides. He habitually observes objects and


how they exist in three-dimensional space. Items on a desk, in kitchens, and in nature, such as flowers, trees, and so on, exist in space in three dimensions. Carving soft stones may be broken down into five procedures: • Roughing out • Shaping with toothed chisels • Refining • Final smoothing • Polishing All carving develops along these procedures with one or both of the last two eliminated, depending upon the roughness of the stone or the texture desired. Any tools may be substituted. Power tools may be used, but the procedures remain the same. The tool to use is the one that will do the job. Techniques are applicable to any stone carving, with necessary revisions depending upon the problems to be solved. Regardless of the size of the sculpture or the stone, these photographs emphasize that the procedures are the same. Mechanical methods and the working environment may impose different problems.

Extreme Left-top: Tools required to start carving. Extreme Left-centre: First phase of sculpture making Extreme Left-below: Carving out the shape Left above: rshing away the powder and extra articles Left: Marking for the next stage Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio


Shaping with toothed chisels Toothed chisels are made in several widths and numbers of teeth. They are used with the same iron hammers as the points. In addition to the flat toothed chisels, there are square – headed tools with as many as nine teeth. Teeth may vary from widely spaced to finely spaced depending upon the amount of stone to be removed and texture desired.


From Left to Right: Basic tools required for Sculpture making Chiseling to give texture Sculpture Chiseling to give surface texture Background: Application of chiseling Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio


Refining Cabinet rasps, riffler rasps, and files in assorted sizes and shapes are used to further wear down the stone. The coarser rasps are for initial refining when a good amount of stone can still be removed and sections changed. Finer rasps and files are for further smoothing. This procedure often is most satisfying because it involves the subtle, gentle, working of the stone without harsh blows from the hammer to develop the forms being sought. Soft bristle brushes are used to clean loose particles and dust from stone. A small wire brush is essential for removing stone chips and dust from clogged teeth and grits of the tools. Rasps and files are used in order that progresses from coarse to smooth, rasps have points that form prominences for cutting; they are coarser than files. Files have raised parallel lines for a more abrasive smoothing operation. Small riffler rasps are used for working around smaller areas and getting into crevices. These same procedures with personal variations are used for wearing down stone. With this stage of smoothness, natural swirls in the stone begin to appear. Now it is ready for final smoothing. The riffler file is used for further finishing and for very fine detail work. Because wonder stone is comparatively soft, files are used in spots for cleaning up shapes along edges and for fine de-


tails. Steel wool may also be used. Harder stones often require more filing. Carborundum stones are also used to bring the stone to a smooth surface. They are available in coarse to fine grits and may be used on any stones from marbles to granites. Pieces of scrap stone being carved are also good for smoothing. Also boons to the sculptor are drills with Carborundum wheel attachments in a variety of grits. They are invaluable for working interior cuts and hard to reach areas.

Top-Left: Refining Tools Left: Refining the Sculpture Right-Top: Smoothing the surface Right-: Machine tools for Refining sculpture Courtesy: Thesculptutrestudio


Final Smoothing For stones that are to be worked to a smooth, highly polished finish, they need garnet paper or waterproof silicone carbide coated paper usually called wet/dry paper. Grit numbers range from coarse to fine. Final high gloss polishing is done with a pumice powder such as tin oxide or seltex. Clean up is easy if you place a piece of plastic over the burlap cushion, work over a sink, a drain, or outside. For wonder-stone, wet/dry paper beginning with 220 grade is worked with water. Rubber gloves protect hands. They wet the stone in small areas at a time with the sponge. Use plenty of water and work each grade paper to its fullest capacity, removing all scratches remaining from rougher papers with the next finer grit. Use sponge to wipe away particles. dry occasionally. Check surface under good lighting. Tear or cut wet/dry paper into convenientsized pieces, dip into water, and with sufficient pressure rub over stone, generally moving in a circular motion until you have to the finest abrasive. Putty powder, tin oxide, or other polishing powder will polish off? A white felt pad, pick up some putty powder, apply to stone and rub. Powder should be applied generously using only a very soft cloth for rubbing. Rinse thoroughly with water and allow stone to dry. Buff with a soft cloth. Wonder stone now should have a satiny smooth polish.


Waxing To protect the finish and heighten the polish, they apply a thin coat of wax. Depending upon the stone and the gloss required one may use furniture and automobile waxes available commercially-beeswax, silicone, oil stains, and so on. On marbles avoid waxes with oil bases; the pores tend to absorb oil and discolor the stone. As the density of a stone varies, its absorption of wax will vary the color. Apply wax with a soft cloth. Allow drying, or following the directions of the specific product being used. Almost all protective coatings affect the color of stone so it is wise to experiment earlier on a “scrap� piece. Color may be applied with enamel, lacquer, epoxy, or vinyl, but it will tend to chip off if struck. Buff to a high gloss with soft, lint less cloth. If no base is to be used cut a piece of funnel to the shape of the bottom of the stone and glue. Or design a base that fits the sculpture. Felt may be glued on the bottom of the base for furniture protection.

Left:Accesories used for washing the sculpture for final smoothing. Left Below: Procedure for smooting Right : Images for final waxing and shining to the sculpture. Courtesy: Thesculpturestudio


Bases for sculpture The evolution of the base for a sculpture has a history all its own. Bases in the past were often pretrial’s designed mainly to hold a sculpture at viewing level. Monumental bases till the 1900’s was often so baroque and decorative as to be lucrative by today’s standards. Noiguchi, the great sculptor believes a base forms a “friction horizon”; therefore, he also attempts an integration of sculpture and bases: “bases that bite into a sculpture, sculpture that rises from the earth.” The base serves the same purpose as a frame for a picture. It is meant to set off and enhance the sculpture. Its size, color, texture and material must be considered. Sometime a stone is developed so the base is included in the overall design. They may be the same kind of stone as the sculpture or they maybe wood, metal, rough one, plastic and so on. When a small stone is placed on a base, it should be mounded either permanently or made movable for easy transporting. A connecting rod is used. Drill a hole in the stone with carbide tipped masonry drill bit or an electric hand drill. The diameter of the hole will depend on the size of the stone. Drill for very short times, removing the bit from the hole and brushing the dust out to assess your progress .Do not force the drill into the stone or let it overheat, pour water constantly into the hole while drilling. Work slowly and patiently so as not to fracture the stone at this final point.


Drill a similar hole into a wood or stone base. Cut a steel rod the same diameter as the drill bit to fit into the holes. Cut it the combined length of the holes in the stone and base, cement the rod firmly in the base with epoxy. For transporting, do not cement the stone itself, so it can be lifted off the base. Small stones should have both base and stone peroxide to rod. Larger sculpture may be removable from the rod for easier handling. More than two rods, one sturdy one for support and a lighter one to prevent the piece from turning. Metal, wood, or other bases are handled in the same way. Plastic bases require special adhesives available from a plastic dealer.

Repairing fractures, cracks etc. Damaged stone sometimes can be salvaged. Small cracks or soft veins may be made homogenous with the rest of the stone by pulverizing scrap chips of stone and mixing them with clear epoxy. Make a pasty mix and apply with a palette knife or putty knife. The epoxy dries clear, hard, and waterproof; it may be sanded and polished. Epoxy cements may be used successfully when a stone breaks clean.

Left: Carcks in the sandstone Background: Base on which the whole sculpture stands.


The Heritage City Jodhpur,Rajasthan, India


Stone Today 101

Generation Now Examples of stone products in Jodhpur range from the most regal to the most rudimentary. While royal patronage encouraged the use of stone in architecture as seen in the numerous majestic examples left behind, it also served ordinary inhabitants in and around the house. Studies on Indian craft classify these two facets as classical and folk. The latter includes everyday objects made by the simple village weaver, potter, blacksmith or stone cutter, while classical work in associated with more stylized and richly decorated forms found in sculpture, temple jewellery, ritual vessels and the like . In sandstone, we clearly see both the work of traditional guilds, which operate by virtue of castes in the Hindu tradition, along with the extremely skilled stone craftsmen from the Islamic tradition. Though the latter have no recorded tradition as in the Shastras, they nevertheless follow an extremely schooled method of designing and carving their building and products. There are also the stone workers from neither of these traditions who craft simple products and architectural elements. Traditional stone skills were showcased in iconic buildings such as temples, palaces, mosques and forts. But these sculpturally complex buildings when broken down into their constituent elements reveal the use of carving on simple structural elements such as pillars, beams, brackets, arches, copings, etc. These elements put together in a smaller scale, emerged as ornate havelis, and those with simpler carvings, into roadside places of worship and simple village homes.

Right: Different kind of stones available in Jodhpur, Rajasthan Background: Interiors of Heritage city, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India Images Courtesy: Virendra Singh


FORMS OF SANDSTONE Sandstone Slabs: - These slabs are flat broad molds of sand stone, available in various shapes like square, rectangular, round, and oval. The sizes of the slabs vary from normal random size of 1.5 meter x 0.75 meters to 2.5 meter x 1.2 meters. The thickness supplied ranges from 10mm to 50mm. They are available in wide variation in the composition and colors - Because of wide variation in the composition and colors of sand stone, the slabs made from sandstone are also available in a vast variety, which serves different purposes. All the sandstone artifacts are available in different finishes and dimensions. The stone can be both rough surfaced or one surface polish or both surface sawn in desired thickness. The slabs are put in further use when creating a large variety of things useful in a garden, kitchen, living room walls, bathroom, etc. Sandstone finds many other applications such as making tables, benches, as gravestone and so on.










Sandstone Tiles: The tiles are small four sided flat pieces of sandstone that vary in their thickness. The tiles can have both surfaces rough, or one surface sawn (polish), or both surfaces sawn. Sand stone tiles are available in a range of colors and combinations that serves different purposes and are widely applicable. The sand stone tiles are mostly used for flooring and for walls cladding. However, tiles can be suitable to create a large variety of artifacts and things of use in a household.


Sandstone Cobbles:

A cobblestone is smaller than a boulder and larger than a pebble. Cobbles are fireproof, require little maintenance and need not be painted. They are available in different sizes and colors. The cobbles made of sandstone are available in shades of maroon, pink, green, yellow and gray. The sizes in which cobblestones are available are 10x10x8cm, 20x10x8cm, 14x14x6cm, 14x14x8cm, and 14x20x8cm.Sand stone cobbles are widely used for their architectural properties and decorative purposes, because of their natural beauty.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Description Desert pink Multicolor Desert brown Imperial brown yellow marfi flowerygold crema cehegin

Above: Sandstone tiles available in India Right: Different types of Sndstone Blocks for different purposes. Courtesy: Virendra Singh


Sandstone Pebbles :

Pebbles are small roundish stones, which could be either machined or natural. The sandstone pebbles are either roundish or square in shape. They vary in size from 2575 mm (2�), 75-125 mm (4�) and 125-175 (6�) mm. The pebble stones are available in various colors based on which they are named such as - pink sandstone pebble silver gray sandstones pebbles; beige sandstone pebbles; mica white pebbles; rainbow sandstone pebbles; red sandstone pebbles; chocolate sandstone pebbles and brown sandstone pebbles. Pebble Sandstone are used as decorative stones and come in various hues and sizes and find usage in homes, artificial ponds, fountains, posh lounges, open air theaters, aquaria, parks, out houses and gardens.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Description Red mix Desert brown yellow Black redish brown rainbow grey

Sandstone Raw Blocks

: Sandstone raw blocks are available in all colors. The blocks are huge masses of sandstone that are further modified for different purposes. The raw block is often used for: Carving to make statues and monuments, and for sawing into slabs or tiles by cutter or gang saw. Out of the quality raw blocks, an array of beautifully chiseled artifacts are crafted out which are unparalleled in their styles, design and finishing. These crafted stone artifacts have magnificent charisma. The exotic carving done on them further creates an aura, which is truly unique. Manufacturers are adept at providing custom designs to suit different applications.

Below: Sandstone blocks available in different sizes for different purposes Left: Stones available in pebble form and lovely colors for decorative purpose Courtesy: Virendra Singh


Sandstone Strips: A sandstone strip is a long narrow piece usually of uniform width. Due to its natural beauty and resistance power, sandstone has been widely used in the construction industry, worldwide. The strips made of sandstone are available in different colors of sandstone such as red, pink, white, yellow, brown, green, and gray. These can be custom designed and made in different dimensions for varied applications. The sand stone strips have also become important components of any construction project that uses sandstone. The strips are made by cutting sandstone into strips of varying lengths and widths as per the requirement. The highly durable strips are used for wall cladding, roofing and flooring purposes. These strips are used to make different designs on the walls and when combined with strips of other colors, it can be used to create varied patterns.

Below: Sandstone in natural stripe texture


Sandstone Bricks:

Sand Stone Bricks are the molded rectangular blocks used as building material. Bricks are the best option to lay hard surface paving. Sandstone bricks are used for both walls as well as flooring. The walls of the sandstone bricks need not be painted and are quite hard, compact, fine, possess good compressive strength and low absorption property. Sandstone bricks are traditionally associated with the images of light browns and soft ochre’s that give a general impression of some cathedral or public building, but sandstone bricks are also available in various other colors. The availability in unusual color adds distinction to internal and external paved areas. Combination of various colors is also used to impart an altogether a different look.

Below: Different bricks available in sandstone for houses construction.


Sandstone Applications


Above: Different animal form available in Sandstone Left: Attractive designs on stone tiles Courtesy: Virendra Singh


Sandstone is used as a building stone, architectural aggregate, track & trail pathways, ornamental landscape stone, decorative riprap stone, and a source of economically valuable minerals.

1. Sandstone Wall : - Sandstone is also widely used in raising walls. Sandstone is found ideal for this purpose since it is fine-grained, compact, quite hard, has good compressive strength and low absorption property. Sandstone has been used for over hundreds and thousands of years for this very reason. The years old walls of the forts and great monuments of India like Fatehpur Sikri, and Red Fort that still stand unshaken were also made of sandstone. The fireproof, non-slip sandstone, is mostly used for wall cladding not only because of its strength


Above: House with sandstone bricks Left: Mosaic like Effect with Sandstone bricks on Walls Below left: Different wall textures Below: House made of Sandstoe bricks Right: Inside flooring in the house Below right: Stairs with Sandstone

but because of its decorative look also. The sand stonewall are mostly made of blocks or the slabs of sandstone and many a times the sand stone bricks are also used. Making the wall of sandstone lends a unique and antique look.

2. Sandstone Flooring : - Sandstone used for floorings adds a completely different and royal appearance. The availability in different colours, and finishes makes it more suitable for the use. Thus, the colour, finish and the polish of the sandstone can be easily matched with the wall and other things, before using it for the flooring finally. The sand stone flooring is done either using the large slabs of sandstone or by using the sandstone tiles that are comparatively smaller. Such sandstone floorings impart a decorative look.


3. Sandstone Pavement : - Bricks, strips, tiles and chips made of sandstone are widely used as paving material. Thus sandstone has become a popular medium for paving applications. The sand stone, is finding its application both commercially and for residential constructions. The sandstone bricks and tiles, produced by manufacturers, are available in various sizes to suit every requirement. The final product also varies in the colour, design and finish. The tiles and bricks used for paving are available in a multitude of shapes like rectangular, square, patterns, irregular and custom shapes. The custom size depends on factors like finish, design, and thickness of the selected stone. 114

Above: Different sandstoe tiles for pavements Right: Different arcitechtural sites build completely in Sandstone.

4. Sand Stone Landscaping : -The concept of landscaping offers substantial environmental benefits. Trees and vegetation control erosion, protect water supplies, provide food, create habitat for wildlife, and clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Creating a landscape requires some construction work using wood, and stones. For the same natural sandstone is being widely used. Because of its texture, aesthetic and rugged natural look, performance, availability in various colors, sandstone is gaining popularity as a medium for landscaping. Another positive aspect of sandstone is that it is weather proof, which makes it worth investing. The sand stone can be sawed, cut, polished and molded as per requirement and is far more durable than wood.


5. Garden Sandstone

: - Sandstone

finds many applications in making garden fountains, garden furniture, garden ornaments, planters, statues etc. This soft natural stone has been widely used for over ages to give an ornamental look to the garden. The garden fountains are unique accessories that lend an altogether different look and feel to the garden. Depending on the size of the garden, intricately carved fountains are available in almost all sizes varying from large estate sized fountains to quaint cherub fountains. Sandstone is also used in making garden lamps; when the electric bulbs are put inside them, it gives wonderful streaks of light through the holes. Sometimes the lamps are also made to put wicks on them and can be lit. The garden trough of sandstone is actually a long, narrow, generally shallow receptacle, which is being increasingly used to nurture small gardens. Garden troughs, made of sandstone are weather proof and capture the attention of the onlookers with their aesthetic, rugged look. The exquisite natural sandstone has been used to create garden furniture, in a wide range of styles, finishes, and colors. Yet another application of sandstone in garden decoration is formation of statues and creative pieces of art. The statues encompass a huge range of handcrafted figures of sandstone, which include human figurines, animals, birds, angels, and fairies. The blocks and slabs of the sandstone are used


to make the plinths, upon which - the pedestal, statue or a column can be placed. These plinths are mostly designed artistically to serve as a classical garden ornament. Sandstone has also been used to make the decorative containers for the plants and small trees. Sandstone is ideal for making the planters as it ages slowly, can withstand climatic variations, and gives a rugged and antique look. Besides, sandstone has many other applications in beautifying garden - making garden urns, garden obelisks, garden miniatures and many more.

Left: Garden accessories in Sandstone Top: Lights and lamps in sandstone for garden Right: Benches, Fountain and decoratives for house and house lawns


From Left to Right: Sculpture in sandstone, Installation for houses, Vases , Plant pots,Table for lawn, Balcony sitting space




Night View of Heritage City, Jodhpur, Rajasthan,India

“Experience is not always what you love to do but what you destined to do... but ..when you start loving what you do...that’s when you start exploring. I Loved to EXPLORE RAJASTHAN !”



Retrospection Stone craft as a word is not stiff or hard as a rock for me now. The characteristics of the material are now the key strengths for me. I feel a relationship I have built with the stone helps me communicate better with it. The documentation has widened my mind and was an eye opener. Whenever I see mountains, I see the strength it carries. I can relate closely to the stone properties as I see a reflection of it in myself. Just like stone I am strong, hard and everlasting but my stiffness still gives scope for form taking shape of the ideas of the creator. After studying the stone art in Jodhpur, I would say that the phrase ‘stone hearted’ is not true anymore, because I felt the touch, texture, color, variety, malleability, sturdiness and the subtlety of the stone and figured out how much value and warmth they have. To put it in the spiritual sense, when one enjoys one’s work thoroughly and immerses oneself deep in the work, the tool/material whether it’s a artists’ brush, a surgeons’ scissor, a writers pen or the sculptors tools and stone, it all becomes part of you and you in turn are liberated. Stone is one material, which leaves an historical mark as it lasts even after years of generation pass by. Commercially, the stone is like a one time investment, as when you have them with you, they will stay with you for eternity. To add to my learning, my experience with the craftsmen has given me a real status of what is the future of the craft. Living with the craftsmen I observed their problems and now can empathize with the them. I see a lot of scope for betterment and now that I analyze the two sides of the coin, I can take better design-influenced decision. It was an eye opener at the same time an inspirational project. Seeing the working of Muslim-Hindu community together in the craft, I can see a society building with a new approach to the diverse culture existing in India. The tools used by these crafts men depict great technology and reflect the need and demand of Improvisation. It was a beautiful sight to see the craftsmen immersed in the cutting work, each craftsmen reminded me of the one who is building a Taj out of whatever small piece or design he is working with. Even though they are not being paid much and they face a tough time competing with the fast paced technology, majority of craftsmen in India are involved in stone craft. And this craft like the stone will live long. Left: Sandstone Ceiling



ALABASTER A metamorphic stone,often with some translucence,color, and marbleized effect.



A cutting tool with parallel ridges used for smoothing stone.

A hammer-like tool used for wearing down stone surfaces.Two square ends have nine toothlike protuerances.



To break thin layers of stone away from the mass.

A rough surfaces stone used for an abrasive.



A crack, gap,soft spot,bruise,or other defect in a piece of stone usually caused by natural processes.

The process of subtracting or taking away parts of the stone or other material and leaving a shape or design. CASTING The process of using a shaped mold into which a liquid material is poured and allowed to harden. CHIPPING Breaking away small pieces of stone a little at a time to reduce the mass. CHISEL A tool with a cutting edge at the end of the blade.Available in varying widths, with straight edges and teeth.


The sculptor works directly with his materials and is directly involved in the creation of his sculpture from beginning to end as opposed to indirect carving.

FORGE To shape metal by preheating and then hammering,twisting, and bending. FORM In sculpture, the result of uniting many diverse elements, such as shape ,line ,texture,subject,mass,color,and so on,untill clear relationships exist and each element functions as a consistent whole. FRACTURE A break in a stone or rock usually resulting in a soft, crumbly layer.



Tools with sharp blade edges in a variety of shapes from shallow U’s to deep V’s usually made for wood but applicable to soft stone.

Those using air pressure for the driving power of the tool.


An excaveted area in the mountains or underground for exposing and securing stones for building and for sculpture.

In art,the appearance, or actual being , of a definite line or linear shape at the edge of a form or shape. INDIRECT CARVING The process of creating a form in a sketch material such as wax, plaster, or clay,and reproducing it on a larger scale by the pointing method.


ROUGHING OUT Blocking out a predetermined form from a mass to a rough shape before refining. SCRAPE To rub over a stone with a sharp instrument to smooth the surface.



A metal hammer-like tool for driving points and chisels into the material to be carved.

The surface quality of a material that one can feel or see.

MASS The total bulk of the stone or other material. NEGATIVE SPACE A term used in sculpture to define the open spaces or areas that allow “air” to penetrate the sculpture. ORGANIC FORMS Those inspired by shapes of natural, organic objects such as stone,algae,flower growths,roots formations,shells and so on.


REFERENCES 1. Stone Craft of India,Neelam Chhiber 2. The book “ Contemporary Stone Sculpture” by Dona Z Meilach 3. Dressed Stone,By Ludwig Steiger & Johann Weber 4. Stone craft manual of Rajasthan-Stone clusters 5. Stone Craft Manual of Rajasthan- Architectural Elements 6. Resource Directory - Stone Craft of Rajasthan






Stone Craft of Jodhpur,India  

Stone craft as a word is not stiff or hard as a rock ,the touch, texture, color, variety, malleability, sturdiness and the subtlety of the s...

Stone Craft of Jodhpur,India  

Stone craft as a word is not stiff or hard as a rock ,the touch, texture, color, variety, malleability, sturdiness and the subtlety of the s...