Working with Stone

Most of you know that the silpis use a simple hammer and a special mild steel chisel to give the temple granite its soft, refined finish. They start with a rough chisel and move through 8 or 10 degrees of refinement, just like a woodworker takes rough sandpaper to begin, the more and more refined.

In this first photo, we see this process at work at our Bengaluru site.

But times do change, and this week we received photos from our site manager, Jiva Rajasankar, showing us a new tool that makes this work much faster. It is a pneumatic device, beautifully adapted by our team to the special need. Of course, it moves the work along much faster, and just in case anyone is wondering, no, it is not being used on Iraivan temple which is only carved by hand.

Here is Jiva's note sent with the photos today:

Aum Sivaya, Paramacharya!

We are now using a compressor driven hand tool that smoothens the larger surface area very much faster. The machine vibrates a lot and the silpi has to hold it tight and guide the machine.

A close up of the tool with crossed patterns which does the smoothening.

The third photo shows the working of the compressor driven tool and the use of the hand chisel side by side. For all  the edges and tricky areas, we still use the hand chisels.

Please take note that this machine is only used for the perimeter wall. Nandi Mandapam is totally hand carved, no comprise whatsoever.



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