What is Colorado Alabaster?
Colorado Alabaster is a compact form of gypsum, of fine texture, usually gray, white or pink in color, somewhat translucent and sometimes beautifully banded. Iron, copper and other minerals native to this section were introduced in solution, giving the stone its exquisit colors which distinquish the Colorado Alabaster from other deposits. Each vein of alabaster has its own unique color and characteristics according to the area from which it is quarried.
Where does our alabaster come from?
Our quarry is in the foothills of the
front range of the Rockies, not far from Fort Collins. When quarried, our stone is bulldozed and not blasted. Alabaster should always be stored off the ground,covered and protected from the weather, with plenty of air circulation to prevent condensation. Improperly stored alabaster becomes cracked, chalky, and brittle to carve. Our alabaster is properly quarried and stored so it will retain its color and sculptural quality.
Is alabaster easy to carve?
Alabaster is quite easily worked. Small sculptures and detail work can be done with a knife or worked with most woodworking tools, such as rasps and hand chisels. Larger pieces require stone chisels and hammers which are designed to be more durable and effective.
Rifflers, rasps, and files that have coarse teeth work best. Power tools enable the artist to complete pieces in a relatively short time. A wide range of tools, including die grinders, sanders, hammers, and angle grinders, both electric and/or pneumatic, can be used from roughing out to final finishing. Colorado Alabaster is also excellent for turning on the lathe.
How can alabaster be finished?
When you get to the finishing stage, on a sculpture or a piece on the lathe, start by sanding with sanding screen, then continue by wet sanding with fine wet/dry sandpaper. This will leave the surface ready for a final application of a variety of products. For a satin to high gloss and protective finish we recommend using a polishing compound with a buffing wheel or applying several coats of a good clear paste wax or stone buffing fluid and buffing with a loose cotton buff or a soft cloth. A coat of poppy oil or a clear acrylic spray will enrich and deepen the color if applied before the waxing stage. The polished areas can be contrasted with various textures or inlays worked on the remaining portions of the stone piece.