Whiskey Stones From Soapstone




Introduction: Whiskey Stones From Soapstone

About: Half crazy, half clever....you can decide. I enjoy experimenting with new materials and new mediums whenever I can, constantly striving to be a jack of all trades.

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

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

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!

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 :)



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    52 Discussions

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

    The cooling power of ice w/o the dilution!

    1 reply

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

    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.

    4 replies

    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.

    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.

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

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

    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.

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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.

    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

    6 replies

    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)

    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...

    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.

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