Tina and I were asked to make copper chisels for a television show about Ancient Egypt (here is the show; oddly, I haven't seen it yet so I don't know where the chisels play. We also built a lot of the sets and props for the reenactment parts and the Pharaoh statue was molded off my mug!!!
:). The premise was that they wanted to test to see if pure copper (very soft) chisels could chip away at granite. Our good friend Steve at Bazay Blacksmithing
helped us out. We spent an evening at his smithy and poured molten copper into ingots and then hammered them out into the shape of chisels. They tried the chisels out and it turns out that you CAN split rocks with them (they just have to be re-sharpened often!!). I'm going to plagiarize some tech spec info from Wikipedia to help explain the science behind the processes.
Also - I'm entering this in the INDESTRUCTIBLES contest, if you like it please vote and I will appreciate it muchly (I'm after that silver sparkly motorcycle helmet!!!!!!)! I figure we're still finding tools the ancient Egyptians made (pretty indestructible stuff there, fellas) and I'm hoping my chisels will also be found thousands of years from now (and some archaeologist will try to figure out why and how they were used... :)