Day 1 - The Beginning
Here is a 30 kilogram (65 pound) piece of "pink coral" alabaster just as I received it from the quarry.
One of the problems encountered in the planning stages is deciding how to get the largest carving possible from a stone. In this case I decided the best choice was to cut the stone in half and make two carvings.
Here you can see the pencil line near the top of the stone which I will use to guide my saw cut.
At this point, the only 'work' I've done is planning.
Day 1 + 20 minutes
Here the rock is laying on its 'side', and I've sawn about half way through.
This picture was take from about five feet away, so the wide angle lens makes the rock appear rather small.
Alabaster is considered to be a 'soft stone', but that is of course
relative. Sawing though a large stone with a saw like this is hard
Day 1 + 30 Minutes
This is the 'top' of the original stone. It weighs almost 7 kilograms (15 pounds).
Most of my planning until this point was in deciding what I would carve out of this Matterhorn-shaped stone. It's an awkward shape, but I could envision a sitting bear within the stone. (Of course I could have carved anything at all out of this piece, but I wanted to get the largest carving possible out of it so as to waste as little stone as possible).
If you use your imagination you can picture a sitting
bear within this shape. His butt is on the left, His head is at the top;
his paws are at the bottom of the dark side on the right.
Day 1 + 1.5 Hours
This is the progress after one hour of carving. The bear is now facing to the left. His back is on the right, and his paws are at the bottom left.
The notch between his head and his paws (at the left of the stone) was sawn out using the same saw that I used earlier. In the early stages of carving, a saw is a big time-saver.
The overall smoothness of the shape was achieved with a rasp. (A rasp is something like a file, but with 'bumps' instead of 'grooves'). It's a rather slow tool, but it produces very little airborne dust and is fun to use. Besides, I need the exercise.