Power tools are used for a variety of reasons when carving stone. Power tools are faster, stronger and require less effort. While power tools may not always be ideal for detailed work or work on softer stones, they are essential tools for any stonemason or stone sculptor. Power tools run on either electricity or air pressure. Pneumatic power tools require compressors to function. Some power tools that carve or cut at high RPM use a center water-feed system to cool down their blades, discs or bits.
Saws can cut through stone quickly but release a lot of stone dust. To limit the dust, wet saws can be used. For harder stones, such as granite, electroplated diamond blades are used that can handle the hardness of the stone. Saws can be hand-held or mounted into tables or sliding rail systems.
Drills can be used with many attachments to carve stone. Core drill bits make holes in the stone. Hammer drills combine a hammer-like action with drilling. Hammer drills use carbide- or diamond-tipped bits that can handle the powerful force of the tool. Air drills are powered by a compressor and can use many drill and core bits to work the stone.
Die grinders come in electric- and air-powered versions. They spin carbide- or diamond- coated burrs. These burrs are the bits that the die grinder spins to cut and carve into the stone. Die grinders are good for smaller areas, detail work and to carve sections of stone that might chip with the force of a chisel and hammer.
Angle grinders use blades, discs and wheels to cut and carve the stone. Softer stones can be cut with carbide masonry blades. Harder stones require diamond blades or bowl-shaped wheels to remove materials. Grinders come in electric- and air-powered versions. Pneumatic power tools are often preferred because they stay cooler during use.
Routers are used to carve into the stone's face or around its corners. They work with a variety of shaped routing or profiling bits that spin and cut or grind away the stone. Routers can be used to write characters and create decorative edges on the stone.
Pneumatic hammers carve the stone with an action similar to the jack hammer. They can be fitted with chisels, hammer-ends and bushing tools. Chisels need carbide tips to work on stones like marble and granite. Hammer-ends crush and remove large areas of stone with blunt blows. Bushing tools have pyramidal points at their ends that pulverize the stone's surface.
Pneumatic and electric polishers remove and polish the surface of stone quickly and effortlessly. Center water-feed systems can be used in conjunction with these tools to cut down on the heat and dust produced when working. Polishers and sanders use many attachments depending on the hardness of the stone and what work needs to be done to it.