Sculpting Tools for Professionals

List project image, courtesy of

Darren Rowse of Problogger sets the group writing project for this week as being, lists. It just so happens that it fits in nicely with the information that I would like to portray on this weblog. In essence, to compliment my claysculptors website by offering information to clay modelers/sculptors who need a central resources site for reviews on available modeling tools or how modeling tools perform in real world applications, couple this with material reviews, how do I topics and industry news, it should make for some informative reading.

With that in mind where would I start for this group writing project. The first thing that comes to mind is you cannot start any model or sculpture without a basic set of modeling tools. Anyone first starting out is always eager to scrape on the clay and try to create a smooth acceptable surface, so let’s start with a list of Industrial Clay Tool suppliers.

This first list will contain websites and individual people who are known to the modeling community for supplying these specialized tools at great prices, quality of workmanship and availability. I have tried to cover the entire globe by including suppliers from America, Europe and Australia, that way anyone interested in purchasing tools for their own use will be able to contact the nearest supplier to themselves to reduce the shipping cost. This list is far from complete but it does cover what I would call, “The standard for hand modeling tools.” Each of these individual sites will offer more than the suggested industrial tools so in addition, these links will also offer a mountain of invaluable information.

  • Chavant
  • Chavant has been a supplier of premium modeling clays since 1892 when the original formula was developed by a French chemist. Today we find there are numerous grades of clay ranging from Fine Arts to Industrial Clay. Each of these clays can differ in hardness to suit your particular application. To compliment their modeling clays they also have available different size rakes and wire tools with a minimalist set of steels, all at a reasonable price. These can be purchased as a set or individually.

  • Kemper tools
  • Kemper tools have been suppling specialized tools to the ceramic arts for over 50 years. They are renown for developing new tools to met the demands of sculptors and artists, with the majority of these tools being available through art supply warehouses. The more industrial type tools such as rakes and wires are readily available through an online catalog. I have not personally seen the industrial tools available at any of my local art suppliers.

  • kolb
  • Kolb is a reknown German supplier of modeling materials for over 100 years and has been a long time leader in supplying industrial clays to many of the European studios, couple this with their outstanding tool selection it makes it a go-to site for tool purchasing. Many of the tools can be purchased individually or as a full set complete with carrying case. The tool selection varies from wiretools to rakes, individual steels, acrylic or aluminum radius kits and texture rollers. To purchase these tools it would appear that you have to download the form and fax your order through.

  • Styling Clay International
  • Styling Clay International produces Chavant Hard Styling Clays and distributes them throughout Europe and the Middle East. To support the clays they have available the same tools as presented by Chavant but purchased in GBP.

  • Cerra Modeling Tools
  • Cerra Modeling Tools are produced in Victoria, Australia and are manufactured from high tensile steel with injection molded graphite polymer handles making them extremely durable, light weight and solvent proof. All available tools are based upon industry standards which include rakes, wires, finishers, angle tools and acrylic curves. All purchases are by fax or email with a six weeks delivery from time of ordering. Tools that are in stock will be dispatched on receipt of payment.

  • Kochi Corporation
  • Kochi Corporation is based in Torrance, California and is a major supplier to the West Coast studios of modeling tools and equipment, Japanese tooling board, rice paper tapes, design stationary, modeling films and sheets. Here you will find an assortment of modeling tools from major independant companies. Ordering is by way of a downloadable PDF form that is then faxed back to the home office with product requirement information.

  • Randy J Hilliker
  • Sculpture tools by Randy J Hilliker is a small independent toolmaker who makes tools on demand at prices that are hard to beat. The selection available is confined to finishers, wires, rakes and steels. Although the overall appearance is not as good as the commercially produced sculpting tool the actual application is probably better due to experience of the manufacturer. Handles can be purchased in exotic timbers and are not the generic shape as typically associated with the mass market manufacturers.

  • Modelling Tools
  • Modelling Tools are based in Germany and appear to be an outlet for Cerra Modeling Tools. They have the same basic selection as Cerra with the addition of carbon splines, shutline tools and an adjustable mouse. There are various methods of payment, including credit cards, paypal, wire transfer or business check. No doubt the quality of the tools is first rate covered by a twelve month manufacturer’s warranty.

As I said previously this is by no means a complete list, it only deals in websites that have the ability to be viewed in English. Any websites that also provide the same type of modeling tools associated with Industrial Sculpting and can be translated to an English text I would be very interested to be made aware of. I know there are several very good Japanese suppliers but because of the language barrier there is no way of posting the links. Even so all of the associated links should be able to supply any newcomer with the necessary equipment to start their career in clay modeling.

10 thoughts on “Sculpting Tools for Professionals

  1. Hey Steve, thank you for the comment!

    Have you ever made stop motion movies with your clay models? I never have, but I used to make brickfilms, or “LEGO movies,” with a web camera and my Lego bricks, and a few of my friends at made claymations as well. :)

    – Nathaniel

  2. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the comments. I took the webpage offline for a while, but I still make tools. People can just email me with what they want and I would be happy to work something out with them. Lately I have had a lot of people email me and ask for custom tools. One person in California had some tools he had on loan from a friend and I was able to reproduce them from some photos he sent me.

    Thanks again for your blog and clay application site.


    Randy J Hilliker

  3. Randy,

    The more tools available the better for everyone, then you get to choose who you want to buy from in the price range that you can afford

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