These past few weeks I carved a family coat of arms in stone for a customer.
It was a top quality piece of stone, as I found out soon enough: I never encountered such a rock hard piece of Belgian blue stone (arduin) in my previous works. This piece therefore more than deserved its name of ‘petit granit‘ by right then. It tested my skills to the limit, I have to say, and also my chisels; frequently the tungsten carbide chisel chipped at its cutting edge.
The relief is 60 x 70 cm wide and in total 5 cms thick; what remains as background is more than a centimeter thick, so the relief itself was carved a little over 3 ½ cms deep. The reason it was all made so thin is because it will be suspended from an interior wall, and for that reason the customer did not want it all to become too heavy. At the back I made two holes to hang it on the wall with two slanted pins.
Below is a slideshow that gives a glimpse of the process, a timelapse of a coat of arms so.
As you can see I started with the already mentioned method of first defining the contours, “jig sawing“, as I like to call it. I have learned that when I started carving wood and it is still the most efficient method by far. It saves a lot of searching for the place where everything should go. Oftentimes I'll drill many holes between the mantling right up to the background, but in this case, that was not really practical.
At the customer's request I left visible chisel stroke instead of grating and sanding everything smooth ; only the helmet's bars were filed smooth for contrast. The sides were finished with a chisel stroke. Also see this post with a video on this process.