Chisels for Cutting Letters in Stone
New chisels arrived at the workshop today, looking very smart in their own canvas tool roll. Actually I’m quite pleased with this, as I want to keep these chisels just for lettering stone and it holds them safe from being chinked together, and the cutting edges protected against knocks. Previously I’ve carved sculpture and cut letters in stone with the same chisels, but I’ve gone rather picky as I want super clean cutting, and precision in my lettering strokes.
In his Foreword to Tom Perkins’ book The Art of Letter Carving in Stone, John Neilson writes
‘When you look at a piece of lettering carved in stone by Perkins, the word ‘integrity’ comes to mind, in both its senses of ‘wholeness’ and ‘honesty’. Up close the chisel marks bear the same sense of purpose as the letters themselves ….’
In part this is due to the beautiful design of the lettering before it is cut, but his technical skill and craftsmanship in carving is outstanding and magnificently sensitive.
I can aim and strive towards this in my work.
The chisels are from Guillet, a make I haven’t used before, but the tungsten tips are set into the tool in a slightly different way to the chisels I have now, and are designed to make the cutting edge more visible as it is not obscured by the steel shank to the same extent. In theory this should be an advantage, and I look forward to practicing with them.