Stone Letter Carving Techniques


One Day Stone Letter Carving Course

One Day Stone Letter Carving Course



One of the most important techniques of Stone Letter Carving is the V cut for incised letters. This is the simplest and quickest way to make a letter in stone.  There are three techniques which are most used : ‘Chasing’, ‘Chopping’ and ‘Stabbing’. When you first start Stone Letter Carving, the best method to use is ‘chasing’ and as you get better you will begin to use the other techniques.

For the V cut, there are two angles which are very important; the angle of the chisel to the stone’s surface, and the angle the cutting edge makes with the stone. This angle should be 45 degrees so that as the chisel cuts first one side and then the other, a V cut of approximately 90 degrees will be made. The depth of carving depends on the material being used and the size of the lettering. Holding the chisel lightly, you will need to use the dummy or hammer to drive the chisel gently into the stone using wrist movements. With practice, you as the stone carver, will start to interact with the chisel, the dummy and the stone and begin to sense when you are cutting too deeply.


Stone Letter Carving Techniques

Stone Letter Carving Techniques



The Chasing technique is when the chisel head is tapped lightly with the dummy or hammer. The chisel shank should be held at a shallow angle to the stone. This allows the chisel to cut the stone while moving slowly forward. The chisel should not get stuck and if it does, you are holding the chisel at the wrong angle. The angle of the the chisel edge to the surface of the stone should be approximately 45 degrees.


Once you have mastered the Chasing technique, you can then move onto Chopping which allows you to remove larger pieces of stone from the V cut. This time the chisel shank should be held at a steeper angle but the chisel edge to the surface of the stone should still be approximately at a 45 degree angle. The chisel should travel diagonally down into the bottom of the V cut.


The Stabbing technique is used for the initial stages of large scale letters in order to remove stone. The shank of the chisel is again held at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the stone. The dummy should drive the chisel into the stone moving it along with each stroke.



If you would like to learn more about Stone Letter Carving, why not join a course with Simon Burns-Cox at The Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Courses are held regularly throughout the year. The next One day Course is on Saturday 28th October and/or Saturday 4th November 2017 from 10.00 to 16.30. The course price is £60 and tools and stone can be borrowed or purchased. There is also a 5 week course on a Wednesday morning from the 15th November to 13th December 2017 from 10.00 to 13.00 at £160. For further information, please contact Simon at or visit his website at