Stone Chisels For Oamaru Stone Sculpture

Here's the good news! You don't need specialized stone chisels for carving New Zealand Oamaru stone.

Any range of standard wood carving chisels will do the job, They are ideal for such an easy stone, it is not until you choose to sculpt much harder stone like marble that you will need to purchase professional masonry chisels. If you are very new to stone sculpture I recommend buying the standard wood chisels, the sizes shown in this picture are 6mm, 12mm, 18mm, and 24m.

How to use a chisel

It is important to understand just how careful you have to be when you use this tool to carve. By applying good techniques and combining it with the portable workbench your carving experience will be both safe and satisfying.

The number one rule by far is always work with the blade facing away from you. You will find this easy to do if you use a fold-able bench as you can easily walk around your sculpture to carve it. Never have the sharp edge of the blade facing any part of your body, It is amazing just how much damage it can do if it slips and cuts you. Never hold your carving with one hand and try to use the blade with the other. Always use the bench clamps to hold your carving instead.

If you have never used a chisel before, the best way to hold it is in a fist like grip and as you look to the end tip, you should be able to see the beveled edge at the end.

This picture best illustrates the correct procedure.

Working with chisels is a big part of sculpting your stone carving. It is not until the general design is shaped out that you move on to other tools like the files and rasps  There a many techniques that you will use the chisels for and it helps to have a good range of sizes in your collection. 

Sculpting Process Using Chisels 

This video below is a great example of the whole stone carving process. You will see that working with the chisels is a major part of sculpting in stone. 

Shaugns Recommended Stone Carving Tools

Although the tools below are sold through Amazon. They are the same as the stone carving tools that I personally recommend to my students for carving with Oamaru stone.


Poratable Workbench

These benches are height adjustable which makes them perfect for stone carving. I own the Ryobi workbench and love it, but unfortunatlly it is only sold through Amazon's UK store for people that are wanting to buy it online.



Stanley: Surform Shaver

This is a must-have tool for shaping large areas of Oamaru stone


Riffler Files

These are smaller files that are designed for the parts of your sculpture that are difficult to get at. They are also an essential set of tools



Builders Pencils


Crosscut Hand Saw

This type of crosscut  hand saw is my recommendation for cutting Oamaru stone


Keyhole Handsaw

A very handy saw. Mosty used for sawing after a hole after it has been drilled into the stone.