How to Polish Soapstone Sculpture

In this article, we will go over the steps to polish a soapstone sculpture. There are several ways to do this, and you can choose which is best for your project. We’ll also go over some of the benefits of polishing soapstone sculptures that might help you decide if it’s right for you. 

How to Polish Soapstone Sculpture

Soapstone is an exciting material because it has natural soft colors and textures, but it becomes more valuable when polished, so its color becomes uniform with a glass-like finish. In addition, polished pieces often look better than unpolished ones in high traffic areas such as hallways or kitchens because there’s less chance of fingerprints showing upon them!  

The main types of polishing are wet, dry, and sand. There isn’t one best method that works for all projects. Each has its merits according to the soapstone’s color, design, and shape. First, you need to know how to polish soapstone sculptures.

7 Steps to Follow on How to Polish Soapstone Sculpture 

Step One: Gather Materials

Gather all necessary materials for polishing soapstone. If you are using a new set of abrasives, spread them out on the floor, so they are easy to access when you need them. Soak the sponge with clean water and wring it out well.

Step Two: Prepare Your Work Area

Cover your work area with newspaper or paper bags to help protect it. In addition, you may want to lay down something soft like a folded towel under the sculpture itself for extra protection if you are using an emery board instead of sandpaper.

Prepare Your Work Area

Step Three: Get Ready to Polish

If you are using a sponge, dip it into a small bowl or pan of water and squeeze out as much excess as possible. Next, rub the wet sponge over your first piece of sandpaper until it is almost dry. Make sure to use enough pressure as you polish not to reveal any orange peel texture from the soapstone underneath. For emery boards, skip this step and skip to Step Four.

Step Four: Start Polishing

Start with the lowest number grit on your sandpaper and rub in a circular motion until all orange peel texture is removed from the stone’s surface. Get into every nook and cranny that you can reach easily. Keep the sanding block as flat as you can to the stone’s surface by using your free hand to press down on top of it.

Step Five: Move on to a Higher Number Grit

If you have coarse sandpaper, move up to the next number if the orange peel texture is still visible. For example, suppose you are using an emery board, switchboards and start polishing with your next lowest level of abrasive. Keep moving up in grits until no more orange peel texture remains.

Step Six: Finish With Your Finest Grit

Use your finest grit (or the highest number if you only have one level of abrasive) to do a final polish. First, rub in a circular motion until all scratches from earlier steps are removed. Then, move over every bit of the surface to make sure it’s as polished as possible. You should now have a smooth, glossy surface.

Step Seven: Check the Surface

Once an entire side has been polished, do a final check to be sure all sides are as shiny as the first one you finished. If not, go back and repeat the polishing process until they are even.

Check the Surface

If you are sanding with sandpaper, make sure to use a wet sponge and run it over the sandpaper often as you work. It will clog and lose its effectiveness if not cleaned off regularly! Also, make sure to wipe your sanding block clean before switching grits or moving on to a different section of soapstone.

Can I Use Tung Oil on Soapstone Sculpture?

Tung Oil is actually made for wood, not soapstone.  Soapstone isn’t porous like wood, but rather it’s a non-porous (and thus waterproof) stone. For polishing soapstone, you can use sandpaper, sanding sponges, or sanding tools. You could also try using another natural oil like walnut or flax oils.

Try a small area first and see how it works, as some people have reported that this has worked for them. Please note that none of these oils will make your soapstone sculpture impervious to water. It’s best not to let water sit on the surface for a long time. You can protect the finish from possible damage by repeatedly applying mineral oil or beeswax–rub it in and polish off any excess.

Conclusion

Soapstone sculpture is a unique art form that can be enhanced by polishing the stone. The process of polishing soapstone requires patience and an understanding of how to work with this type of material. When you polish your soapstone, it will take on a natural sheen like never before!

Read more about these steps for achieving polished perfection here in our blog post, or reach out if you want help getting started today. In contrast, this article was mainly about how to polish soapstone sculptures.

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