One of the most difficult aspects of carving any material is the possibility of taking off too much, so stone artists have worked out a variety of ways to help them keep their material intact. Sharp tools are one important facet of their work, and an experienced artist takes time whenever necessary to sharpen their tools. Knowing that one bad hit will turn their creation from an work in progress into a ruin is good incentive.
Many artists talk about choosing the right stone for the job, and this comes from their knowledge of the art of cutting stone. No matter what size a rock is when they begin, it will have its own composition that includes veining and grain. Artists who can choose a piece that will allow them to cut with the grain and along veins know their finished piece will be complete, and they will not have to worry about pieces in other areas breaking off as they carve.
Vibration is a known hazard familiar to stone carvers, and they must work to avoid it. Whenever they strike any piece of the stone with a chisel or power tool, it sets up vibrations that travel to all other parts of the rock. When they reach a part of the rock where grain changes or veining occurs, it can chip off or separate internally. They can destroy their sculpture with just one wrong move, and many of them have found it best to surrounded parts of the stone with sand to dampen this effect.
There are many different ways to destroy a stone carving before it ever turns into a work of art, and it takes experience and knowledge to know how to avoid the issues. Taking extra time to fix breaks and chips is just another part of the art of stone carving, but most artists would rather avoid it.