stone crab

Archives: Stone Carving

I was going through my old photos and came across a project I did in stonecarving class at Skyline College a couple years ago, so I thought I’d post some pictures up.

The class was combined with the students taking a Sculpture class, so the teacher actually gave us a choice of doing either a stonecarving or sculpting (plaster) project. I have lofty goals of carving my own set of foo dogs out of stone one day (and stonecarving is obviously cooler), so I chose stonecarving.

Step 1: Find a stone.

Drove to a place in Oakland (I don’t remember the name of the place anymore) and picked up this potential-filled 40-lb. chunk of limestone (I think it was limestone) to create my masterpiece from. It was expensive (or more than I expected to pay for a rock), like $100 or $200? It looks gray, but if you put water on it you can see the color that it’ll be after you polish it — a light green in this case which you can see towards the bottom middle of the picture.


Step 2: Decide what you’re going to carve.

Spent some time looking at the rock from different angles and sketching some possible ideas out first. Finally settled on carving a crab. Here be my miniature clay model that I made as a guide.

crab clay model

 Step 3: Carve, carve, polish, polish.

This is the progression over the course of the class. You start with a bigger chisel first to create the general shape, then move to a smaller chisel to get the detail in there. After you’ve done that, you start with course sandpaper and then go to finer sandpaper and water to polish it. It’s a dirty, dusty process so wear old clothes.

carving progress

Step 4: Finishing touches.

I wasn’t sure what kind of face I wanted to put on him to give him more personality, so I photoshopped some choices and polled some friends.

face options


Here’s the final result, etched in stone forever.

finished crab statue


All in all, stonecarving was a fun experience. I wasn’t wowed by my final sculpture, so I ended up leaving it outside on the grounds of my mom’s condo complex — it was nicely tucked away in the foliage, overlooking a small running stream. Apparently somebody liked it and decided to take it though, because it’s no longer there. Crab, wherever you are, I hope you are making people happy.

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