Soapstone like any other stone can be damaged.
But unlike other stone, the damage to a soapstone sculpture is
more obvious. This is because of the fact that the basic component
of soapstone is talc. The green colour of the soapstone is derived
from impurities mixed into the talc that gives its hardness and
colour. Depending on the impurities, the stone can be a variety
of colours and hardness.
Dolomite is a factor of the hardness of the
stone of the Madoc, Ontario soapstone and magnetite is one of
the main constituents of the hardness of the Virginia soapstone.
Chlorite I believe is one of the main reasons for the green of
the Quebec soapstone. The talc is what causes the white scratches
that appear on the polished soapstone sculpture when it gets
marked or damaged.
A sculpture can be scratched, bruised or chipped.
Each of these injuries to a sculpture requires a different method
A scratch is the simplest damage to repair.
Often the mark is very slight only discolouring the stone. This
can be repaired easily by rubbing oil into the scratch. If the
sculpture has a wax finish, setting the sculpture in a sunlit
area will cause the sculpture to heat up, allowing the wax to
remelt into the scratched area, returning it to the original
colour. Deeper scratches may require the sanding of the damaged
area of the sculpture before finishing.
A bruise occurs when a heavy object hits the
sculpture. This will cause a crushing of the stone in the contact
area to a depth, depending on the force of the blow. This can
not be repaired by the simple use of oil.
The bruised area must be sanded down to the
natural stone before oil or wax can be applied (See Sanding
Chips or Breaks
Sometimes a blow will cause a portion of the
sculpture to break off. If it is a clean break, the piece can
be glued back using 2-part epoxy. Be careful that you have the
broken piece in the correct position before the glue dries.
If it is a large piece broken, you may wish to pin the piece
in place. This is done by drilling two opposing holes in each
side of the break and epoxying a copper pin to hold the broken
I will harden the epoxy before finishing, by
heating the carving in an oven at about 100° for about a
half-hour. This cures the epoxy, hardening it so the repaired
area can be filed and sanded to reshape and remove the excess
glue before polishing.
Looking for someone to do repairs of Steatite (soapstone)