Having completed the carving of your soapstone, you can put a glossy finish on the stone by the following the steps outlined below. Keep in mind that you are still removing stone when you are sanding. Indiscriminate sanding will result in you losing all the lines that you worked so hard at creating.
1. Remove the file marks by sanding, using 220 or 240-wet/dry sandpaper. This sanding is done wet. Hold the carving in one hand, wet the carving and the sandpaper in a container of water and begin sanding the carving with the sandpaper. The white mud that develops should be rinsed off in the container of water regularly, as it slows down the sanding process. Hold on to your carving as wet, smooth soapstone can be very slippery.
2. Wet sanding is done until all the file marks have been removed. File marks show as white lines on your green stone.
3. For a high polish, additional sanding can be done using a 1000 or greater wet/dry sandpaper. The way to judge if you have missed an area is by feel, the missed areas will feel rough. After completion of the wet sanding, rinse the carving and allow to dry. The carving will turn gray when it is dry.
Polishing Soapstone with wax
4. Place the carving in a oven and heat to 250 º F. Try not to heat over 300 º F. High temperatures will not hurt the stone, (Soapstone can take temperatures of 1700 º F without any ill effect) but the beeswax will evaporate at 300 º F.
5. Remove the
carving from the oven using gloves. Melt the bee's wax onto the
carving by holding it against the hot stone. Spread the wax over
the carving with a small soft piece of cloth. When the carving
has been fully waxed, allow the carving to cool.
7. After the excess wax has been wiped off, allow the carving to fully cool. You may now polish the carving with a soft cloth sprayed with Pledge; this will bring up a high shine on the carving.
Polishing Soapstone with oil
4. Using a soft cloth, wipe on a light coat of boiled linseed oil. Tung oil or Danish oil can also be used. Do not apply heavy coats or the oil will become gummy and hard to polish. Wipe off the excess oil and allow drying. A new product for polishing is Howard Feed-N-Wax (available at Home Depot).
5. When the oil has dried, buff with a cotton or flannel cloth to polish.
*For a higher polish, additional sanding can be done using a 400, 600 or 1500 wet/dry sandpaper
Other oils that can be used
Howard Feed-N-Wax (available at Home Depot), Boiled Linseed Oil, Double Boiled Linseed Oil, Goddards Marble Wax, Danish Oil, Tung Oil