Polishing Soapstone

This information is from
Sandy Cline
and is reprinted with her permission.


Having completed the carving of your soapstone, you can put a glossy finish on the stone by following the steps outlined below.

  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 can be rinsed off in the container of water. Hold on to your carving as wet, smooth soapstone can be very slippery.
  2. Wet sanding is done until all the file marks are removed. File marks show as white lines on your green stone.
  3. After completion of the wet sanding, rinse the carving and allow to dry. The carving will turn gray when it is dry.
*For a higher polish, additional sanding can be done using a 400, 600 or 1500 wet/dry sandpaper


Polishing Soapstone with oil

  1. 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 to dry.
  2. When the oil has dried, buff with a cotton or flannel cloth to polish.
Other Oils that have been used are; Boiled Linseed Oil, Double Boiled Linseed Oil, Goddards Marble Wax, Danish Oil and Tung Oil.


Polishing Soapstone with wax

  1. Place the carving in a oven and heat to 250 F. Try not to heat over 300 F. High temperatures will not hurt the stone, (Soapstone can take temperatures of 1700 F without any adverse effect) but the beeswax will evaporate at 300 F.
  2. 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.
  3. As the carving cools, the surface of the carving will turn from shiny to dull. At this point, the wax has turned from liquid to a soft solid. This is the time to begin wiping down the carving and remove the excess wax on the surface of the stone.
  4. 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.