What’s the Best Abrasive for Stone Carving?

When choosing a blast media for stone carving, it’s generally best to choose the fastest abrasive available to you, which has historically been some form of aluminum oxide or ceramic. Many manufacturers also choose garnet because of its hardness.

However, new blast abrasive media — such as superoxalloy — are giving carvers significant advantages over older abrasive blasting options. Keep reading to discover why superoxalloy is the best abrasive for carving stone.

Should You Use Garnet for Stone Carving?

Garnet is a hard abrasive blast media that is well-suited for stone carvings. It’s popular among artists who do work on stone, marble, and granite. It’s also a standard in the grave marker industry.

Garnet blasting applications include:

  • Hard stone buildings, brick restoration, and masonry
  • Monument and statue restoration work
  • Paint, rust, and mill scale removal from steel substrates

Garnet is fast-cutting and produces moderate dust. It also permits precise feathering control and is excellent for removing tough coatings. While garnet seems like a great choice for your next project, it has some downsides that should be considered.

Although garnet is sharp and good for tough materials like stone, it’s not the fastest abrasive available. In a time test, garnet took 60% longer to remove a layer of epoxy when compared to superoxalloy abrasives. In addition, garnet breaks down faster than some other options.

Should You Use Aluminum Oxide for Carving?

Before starting any blasting project, you need to consider the grit size of the abrasive media you’re going to use. With a standard 80 mesh, you can etch a stencil design into any stone surface. This fine grit size is actually appropriate for most abrasive blasting projects carving into stone.

However, grit can be problematic because it changes as the medium is used. Abrasives break down during blasting, so grit becomes finer and finer with each use. That 80 grit you put in your blasting cabinet becomes a 160, and eventually, even finer.

That’s the downside of using something like aluminum oxide. It has a tendancy to break down quickly which makes the particles susceptible to breakage, and ultimately, lots of dust. There’s a perfect alternative for aluminum oxide, though, an alternative with a high resistance to particle breakage.

Benefits of Superoxalloy Abrasives for Carving

A newer type of blast media, superoxalloy, is the best option for carving stone. Superoxalloy abrasives are made of polymorphous particles, so they resist breakage much longer than other types of blast media. This means you can reuse them for longer and allocate your budget elsewhere.

This kind of abrasive is tough and able to carve hard materials quickly. Its molecular structure means that no embedded particles will be left behind, so the finished piece will have a smooth profile.

Superoxalloy abrasives are also safer for blasters to use because they are biosoluble, unlike competing abrasives. They also create less dust, making it easier to protect workers. Of course, employees should always wear a respirator and follow all OSHA regulations for safety while sandblasting, regardless of the media chosen.

Choose Superoxalloy Abrasives From 10X Engineered Materials

At 10X Engineered Materials, we’ve designed three lines of powerful superoxalloy abrasives — EpiX, DynamiX, and KinetiX. These blast media are ideal for stone carving because they’re tough, work quickly and are safer for carvers to use.

To find out more about these media, contact us at 260-253-2278 or fill out our online form. You can find these products from U.S. distributors, or order EpiX directly from our website.