Sandstone Carvings By Bruce R. Colbert
When Barb and I moved to Oberlin, Ohio about 40 years ago, I started to notice the beautiful buildings of Oberlin College. The stone carvings on the buildings caught my attention right away. Who were these people that chiseled out these images in stone? I found out that most were stone quarry workers who labored hard and were paid little for their art, and probably died at 55 from breathing stone dust.
So, I found a crude chisel and a hammer and hacked out a stone for my mother’s dog who passed away. Working in manufacturing at the time I did have access to better material to use for chisels and I am still using the same type of chisel today. I re-use old building material as there is plenty to be found in this area with the largest sandstone deposit in the world here in north central Ohio.
I have been influenced by ancient Central America. What these people did with crude tools amazes me every day
I am not purist when it come to hand carving. I have used an angle grinder to smooth an area before detailing. I have used a drill to drill holes for attaching metal to the stone. Most of my chisels are high speed steel. I use a bench grinder to sharpen my chisels. I use different grades of broken pieces of bench grinder wheels to smooth or remove chisel marks along with a hand held sprayer filled with rain water to wash and keep the dust down
Thanks to Buddy Miller of Miller Nature Preserve I have recently competed a stone circle.