Introduction: Whiskey Stones From Soapstone

Picture of Whiskey Stones From Soapstone

Need a manly craft to pass the time?

Stone working? Check. Getting a good use out of your investment of power and hand tools? Check!

Whiskey stones are made out of either granite or soapstone and are used in place of ice cubes to cool down your quality liquer. After cooling the stone in the freezer they are invaluable to cool your drink to a perfect sipping temperature. Enjoy your whiskey, rum, or any other favorite drink...on the rocks :)

I'm hoping to be able to add homemade ice tongs and storage crate to this instrucatble soon....

Supplies for whiskey stones:
-Soap stone
-Chop saw or hack saw
-Baking Soda

I made mine out of soapstone that I ordered off Ebay for a pretty fair price. Other options are to try construction surplus stores, or scraps from countertop factories.

UPDATE WARNING! : Use a respirator or face mask when using power tools to cut and shape the stone. The fine particles from soapstone, or any other type of stone, are terrible to have in your lungs.

Step 1: Cut Your Stone

Picture of Cut Your Stone

I measured out 1'' squares that I would cut and turn into cubes. I used a sharpie to be able to see the line well when cutting, you'll sand it off later so you don't have to worry about it marking the stone.

Soapstone is very soft so its easy to cut, but unfortunately it can also break easily. I experiented and took a chance using a metal-cutting blade in the chop saw and it worked very well. If you decide to follow my example, know to cut slowly and let it eat the stone away to avoid chipping and breaking. It does make a dusty mess the cut it with the chop saw, remember your face mask! You could also use a stone cutting blade.

Update: I have successfully used a regular wood-cutting blade to cut a brick of soapstone, so that provides another option.

If you don't have a chop saw, the stone is soft enough to be be cut by hand using a jewelers saw or hack saw.

I cut them into sticks and then into cubes, it was amazingly quick and easy. My brick I bought had some chips but they should work just as well as cubes, and they have some natural character :)

Step 2: Sanding, Sanding and More Sanding

Picture of Sanding, Sanding and More Sanding

Soapstone comes in two different qualities: artist and construction. The artist stone is softer and more fragile while construction soapstone is used for countertops and is a bit more durable. I had artsit grade soapstone so I could do all my shaping with sandpaper. If you find you have construction grade you may need files and a sander to assist in shaping it.

I did use a belt sander to square out the cubes that I didn't cut quite straight.

-First I laid the sandpaper down on the workbench (400grit) and sanded each face of the cube until all the cut marks were smooth.

-Then I folded the sandpaper and took to the edges to round them, this step is optional is you like clean sharp edges.

-Finally, I gave the stones a baking soda scrub to remove the dust and give it a soft and abrasive polish.

Step 3: Drink Up and Enjoy!

Picture of Drink Up and Enjoy!

Throw the stones in the freezer for about 4 hours and you have delightfully chilly stones to cool your drink without diluting it. It doesn't get as cold as ice, but they work well. I use 3 at a time. They work in any drink, they are especially great to keeping wines chilled.

After you are done drinking: rinse off the stones, let them dry, and throw them back into the freezer for the next time.

Warning!: Avoid dropping them! I dropped them a couple of times and you can either escape with a small chip or they will split in half.

Enjoy and grab some stones the next time you find youself with a warm drink in hand :)


alzie (author)2015-06-21

How bout those plastic cooling cubes that have water ice in them?

The cooling power of ice w/o the dilution!

juancsequeira112 (author)alzie2017-02-20

The conductivity or thermal exchange of plastic is really really bad, thats why it covers elevtrical wires. It woukd cool even worst.

tonyyoung (author)2014-01-18

There is a thermodynamics issue with whiskey stones.

One cubic inch of whiskey stones at 0 degrees F will absorb 900 Joules of energy to get to 33 degrees F.

One cubic inch of ice will absorb 5000 Joules.

So, you need 5.5 stone cubes for each ice cube of the same size.

apsteinmetz (author)tonyyoung2015-06-25

Thanks for that info. I learned that by experience when someone gave me some soapstone cubes. No dilution but scant chilling. I went back to ice.

Johnfisch (author)tonyyoung2014-01-18

There is a phase change issue with ice. One cubic inch of ice will dilute your whiskey with about .5 ounces of water. The choice, then, is between a bigger glass for your whiskey, or gradually deteriorating quality as you drink.

tpeterson1959 (author)Johnfisch2015-06-21

Thank you, too! Makes me think the real way to go is to just keep it in the whiskey in the refridgerator!

tpeterson1959 (author)tonyyoung2015-06-21

Thank you! I couldn't figure out why my whiskey stones just weren't cooling my drink at all. Now it makes perfect sense.

jscanlan (author)2015-06-22

Hey guys, Be careful with soapstone, a lot of it has heavy metals in it. See if you can find some that has had a chemical analysis, and is proved nontoxic.

Insomnus (author)2015-06-22

I agree. Why kill the taste with coldness?

The Lightning Stalker (author)2014-01-18

Make sure your stone is nonporous and doesn't contain heavy metals or other poisonous contaminants before serving to others. Don't use galena (lead) or pitchblende (radioactive) for instance. Personally, I would refuse any drink served like that because so few people actually know just what the hell they're doing.

Just freeze a bunch of grapes. Works just as well without any risks.

tpeterson1959 (author)2015-06-21

Nice project. The whiskey stones I use are naturally polished river rocks. Their inconsistent size is the biggest problem, but the good memories they bring back are well worth it. And thanks to tonyyoung and johnfisch with their quick thermodynamics and phase change explanations, I now know why they don't work as well as I thought they should.

RobTurrentine (author)2015-06-21

I suspect that the stones are just as cold as ice but they don't cool the beverage down as fast as ice. if you use ice that isn't made with aerated water you'll notice that it takes a lot longer to cool the beverage down as well.

james.rasa (author)2014-01-17

carefull with granite fine dust, is really bad for the lungs. can i try using flint instead? quartz is supposed to hold temperatures for long times

ryanmercer (author)james.rasa2014-01-17

I'd just worry about the effective life of quartz, quartz tends to fracture easy and repeated freezing and thawing is going to spread even the most microscopic cracks rather swiftly, sanding or cutting it to shape is going to likely compromise a lot of it's strength and introduce tiny cracks. I for example have left small quartz obelisks outside as decoration and before 4 full seasons could pass several of them had fractured into multiple pieces (temps ranging from upper 90's to negative 5 to negative 10 Fahrenheit or so over 3 1/2 seasons)

james.rasa (author)ryanmercer2014-01-18

this what im using, i found them on the beach.

avocadostains (author)james.rasa2015-06-21

Yea, but that just works. Personally, I use a mixture of stone cubes and assorted diamonds and gems. Occasionally I'll throw a gold nugget in there. The drunk you will get...

Johnfisch (author)ryanmercer2014-01-18

Actually, quartz is pretty tough. On a small scale, quartz is used for its electrical properties. Upon being squeezed, and in some electronic products it can be squeezed repeatedly over long periods of time, it will conduct a voltage, and it (almost, I guess) never fractures. On a large scale, the Sierra Nevada mountains are mostly granite, which is essentially quartz. The granite in the Sierras undergoes freezing and thawing repeatedly throughout the eons without cracking. Eventually, it does flake off, but that is due to fracture lines created by the release of the unimaginable forces that are released within the granite as the pluton (dome) gradually rises to the surface of the Earth from deep within. The very toughest stone, and probably the best for whiskey stones, would be jade. It was used by some aboriginals to boil water in reed baskets - heat up the stones to red hot, throw them into a basket full of water, and the water will boil almost instantly, yet the jade will not shatter (though I would not stake my eyes or a good scalding on it!). But "true" jade (there are two different minerals known as jade and a lot of other greenish minerals passed off as jade) can be a little pricey. And like soap stone, minerals passing for jade can contain asbestos.

ryanmercer (author)ryanmercer2014-01-17

I imagine any largely crystalline structure is just going to be bad for freezing and thawing.

CrazyClever (author)james.rasa2014-01-17

Quartz sould work well, its just a bit harder to work with. I would love to see your results if you try it!

james.rasa (author)CrazyClever2014-01-17

i already use flint to cool down tea, i might shape into a cube when i have some time, thx for the idea :P

GeoffreyM2 (author)2015-06-21

Teetotaler: Is this a decent alternative to ice--generally? In a very small way, it may fill up the freezer (often a good thing). Ankle/knee injury, etc.: Better than ice--OK, maybe not--smaller chips, then? Chipping up broken Corian, etc.--then using medically? Fascinating.... Thanks!

alanjamesblair (author)2014-02-25

I admire your ingenuity and sticktoitiveness. I do. I also feel that if you have to chill your whiskey, you're drinking the wrong whiskey.

aoj211 (author)2014-01-18

Talcum powder is derived from soapstone.
Once talcum has entered in to your lungs, it will never leave. It is a very poisonous mineral and highly advise not to use these stones.
There are a gratuitous amount of studies on how negative talcum is...

jreindel (author)aoj2112014-01-22

yeah, but if you clean all of the dust off of them. then there isnt any talcum powder for you to inhale.

Besides, your drinking form them too.

Cups, plates, and various things which come in contact with spoons have been made of soap stone for thousands of years.

85rocco (author)aoj2112014-01-18

And yet you can still buy baby powder that's 100% talc! Go figure.

spark master (author)2014-01-19

you can even cut soapstone with a hack saw if no power tools are available to mangle!

nicely done


hamsammy (author)2014-01-19

Excellent choice of rum. Excellent write up.

ksymbal (author)2014-01-16

About how much did it cost to do?

CrazyClever (author)ksymbal2014-01-17

It cost me about $.30 a stone, so close to $2.50 for a set of nine. I was able to make 24 stones from a single 2x3x4 block

Johnfisch (author)CrazyClever2014-01-18

You can often get cutoffs of various materials from stone and tile suppliers, for very cheap or for free. Also, watch Craigs List and, depending on how active your CL community is, you will often see people giving away their busted counter tops from remodels (or major blunders). You can post a wanted item on CL as well. In many areas, it costs quite a bit to dump stone, so people would rather give it away rather than wrestle it to the dump and then pay for the privilage.

Johnfisch (author)2014-01-18

Hi Alaskantomboy -

thanks fo posting this. I have always intended to make some of these and maybe this article will get me going on it. A grinder with the proper wheel(s) for shaping stones will make pretty quick work of even construction grade soap stone. It really minimizes the time for harder materials as well.

Johnfisch (author)2014-01-18

Hmmm... Every whiskey stone I have seen has been made from granite. I would think marble would work just fine doing the cooling, but I would think it would have the potential to actually flavor your drink. Marble has a wide range of densities, hardnesses and porosities. Many drinks are quite acidic, and acid eats up calcium pretty effectively. If you see bubbles coming off of your stone, you might want to discontinue its use.

boocat (author)2014-01-16

Could one use marble? (I use marble to make chocolate curls.) Isn't that quartz?

straif (author)boocat2014-01-17

Marble should work, but no, it is calcite, not quartz.

CrazyClever (author)boocat2014-01-16

yes, you can use granite or marble. Any non-pourus stone will work well. It is a bit harder to cut and shape but it will work just as well to chill your drink :)

bstrong7 (author)2014-01-14

I thought I read somewhere that soapstone has natural veins of a harmful mineral in them for some reason I want to say asbestos. you may want to research before using soapstone in a beverage. I'm not trying to be a downer but I remember doing a project with soapstone and alabaster and I know for sure one is harmful if ingested or the dust is inhaled.

bruce.desertrat (author)bstrong72014-01-17

See this where they discuss asbestos in soapstone. Bottom line is that soapstone with asbestos in it isn't suitable for either carving or countertops, so it isn't used.

Also the stones DO get as cold as ice (everything gets to the same temperature in the freezer) it's just that ice has a much greater capacity for absorbing heat because it takes more energy to cause it to go from solid to liquid than it does to simply come to equilibrium like these rocks do. The thing to do, then is store the rocks in a deep freezer, if you have one.

ii_awesum (author)2014-01-17

"Cool!" I recommend to use a wet tile saw with a thin diamond cutting blade (economy models are available for well under $100 US/CAN, and you can use the saw for DIY tile jobs around the house). This will offer much better handling safety, eliminate hazardous dust, and will offer a very accurate cut with less risk of breaking the material than a chop saw with composite masonry or steel cutting wheel.

The Rambler (author)2014-01-17

I commend your fine beverage choice! Haha I tried making these a while ago but all I have to work on them is a dremel, which took forever and left me with fairly uneven results. I still have plenty of stone so I plan on trying again sometime.

CrazyClever (author)The Rambler2014-01-17

Unleash the Kraken! I wish you good luck in your future attempts to make some whiskey stones :)

oking (author)2014-01-17

Could I use something other than soapstone or granite?

CrazyClever (author)oking2014-01-17

I have heard people using river rocks before. You would probably have to really smooth it out and make sure its non-pourus. If the stone is pourus you can't get the stone to fully dry out then it could crack when you freeze them.

mdeblasi1 (author)2014-01-17

Try wet dry (corundum) sand paper, used wet, under a trickle of water if you can manage it, to cut down on dust.

belltower (author)2014-01-16

@ksymbal probably the same amount as whatever price and size you can find the soapstone for.... that was really the only material cost

bstrong7 (author)2014-01-14

" Hazards Sandstone, soapstone, and granite are highly toxic by inhalation because they contain large amounts of free silica. Limestone, containing small amounts of free silica, is less hazardous. Serpentine, soapstone, and greenstone may contain asbestos, which can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and stomach and intestinal cancers.".-

CrazyClever (author)bstrong72014-01-16

Thank you for the saftey notes, I'll be sure to put a warning update in my instructable. I want everyone to stay safe and healthy!

notingkool (author)bstrong72014-01-14

I think that may refer that is only a hazard when you cut it and the dust is inalated.

Once polished shuould be harmless.

JyaR (author)2014-01-15

Here is another website I found for some research on this topic.

notingkool (author)2014-01-14

Nice work, it's a must DIY because the price they sold that stones.

About This Instructable




Bio: Half crazy, half can decide. I enjoy experimenting with new materials and new mediums whenever I can, constantly striving to be a jack ... More »
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