What Is Soapstone Used for in Welding?

Simplifying logistics and production processes for your business can be a great way to boost both efficiency and profitability. If welding processes are involved in your manufacturing operations, taking accurate readings for each weld will minimize costly mistakes.

When planning for processing, marking welding materials can pose specific challenges. Utilizing soapstone for your marking needs can be an effective way to reduce the inconvenience related to the marking process.

So, what is soapstone used for in welding? It is a fine, affordable marking tool that conveniently wipes labels on flammable materials and doesn’t befoul a weld. Here, we will discuss in detail what soapstone is used for in welding.

What is Soapstone Used for in Welding?

A sedimentary rock, soapstone has different concentrations of carbonates, micas, chlorite, amphiboles, pyroxenes, and more minerals. However, it comprises mainly of talc which makes it very soft. Often the word “soapstone” is used in different ways.

Drillers and miners use it for any brittle rock that feels slippery or soapy when touched. Carvings and decorative items crafted from serpentine, alabaster or other soft rocks are often claimed to be crafted from “soapstone” by those in the craft marketplace. Due to the reasons above, you should choose the soapstone extremely carefully if the rock used to produce the stone is important to you.

Soapstone is widely used in welding applications to create temporary markings in a way similar to chalk. However, unlike the latter, soapstone markings do not burn at extreme temperatures. The writing is facilitated by the holder and it helps avoid deformation.

How is Soapstone Formed?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding soapstone (by both welders and other users of the soft rock) is how is soapstone formed? Here is the answer to that question.

Soapstone develops most frequently at concurrent plate edges where large areas of Earth’s crust are exposed to heat and guided force. Serpentinites, dunites, and peridotites may be transmuted into soapstone in this area. Soapstone may develop on a micro level, where dry, reactive chemical fluids modify siliceous dolostones in a procedure referred to as ‘metasomatism’.

What are the Different Uses of Soapstone?

Soapstone has many different uses. This is made possible by the physical properties and chemical make-up of soapstone. Following are some of the common uses of soapstone today:

  • Cold stones
  • Kitchen and lab countertops
  • Metal casting molds
  • Sinks
  • Pencil Markers
  • Boiling stones, cooking slabs, cooking pots
  • Bed warmers
  • Markers for Cemetery
  • Facing stone
  • Panels for electrical appliances
  • Floor tiles and wall tiles
  • Decorative sculptures and carvings
  • Woodstoves
  • Fireplace hearths and liners

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other uses of soapstone.

What is a Soapstone Marker?

While soapstone has a variety of applications, it is used in welding as a marker. So, how would you describe a soapstone marker? Also known as soapstone chalk, the soapstone marker is an excellent substitute for conventional chalk. This is because it is reasonably dust-free and can last for a longer time than conventional chalk.

To ensure superior marking, natural soapstone is used to make the soapstone chalk. Due to this reason, the markings created by the soapstone marker do not taint the weld. Additionally, these markings can be easily removed.

In addition to the above, soapstone chalk is an inexpensive, flexible solution for temporary labeling activities at the time of welding. The soapstone chalk can be utilized to mark any solid surface which is not absorbent.

The markings of soapstone chalk on clothes are not permanent and can be quickly wiped off. This means that if a welder accidentally uses the soapstone marker on their clothes while welding, they won’t have to stress about removing the removal from the fabric. Instead, they will be able to wipe it off easily.

To add to the above, soapstone markers are food-proof and can work on every part of the slate. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, they let welders add a personal touch to almost everything that they weld.

What is Welders’ Soapstone Made of?

Another important and frequently asked question regarding the soapstone marker (or the welders’ soapstone as some people like to call it) is what is the soapstone made of? To answer this question, we will have to go through the physical properties of the soapstone.

Soapstone comprises mainly of talc and has many of that mineral’s physical properties. As a result of these physical properties, soapstone can work effectively for a variety of applications. The physical properties that make soapstone effective include:

  • Acid- and alkali resistant
  • Smooth and quick to carve
  • High specific heat potential
  • Non-porous
  • Resistant to heat
  • A low conductor of electricity
  • Non-absorbent

A rock, soapstone can vary in its chemical makeup. The chemical makeup depends on the source rock material and the dynamics of its igneous setting in terms of compression/temperature. As a consequence, the soapstone’s physical properties can differ from one quarry to another, and even within the same unit of rock.

Often the layer thickness is determined by the degree of metamorphic rock. Fine-grain shaped soapstone fits well for extremely detailed sculptures. The existence of other minerals besides talc and the degree of metamorphic rock will affect its toughness. Some of the stronger soapstone types are favored for countertops as they’re sturdier than flat talc soapstone.

Are Soapstone Marks Easy to Erase?

Soapstone markers are reasonably dust-free and can last much longer than conventional chalk. However, neither of these two is the biggest quality of soapstone chalk. Instead, the biggest quality of soapstone chalk is that it is extremely easy to erase.

If customers use the end product of your business, you will likely aim to retain some degree of visual appeal. It is not a very good practice to submit a welded object with markings of measurements. However, spending a lot of time scraping off the markings will consume valuable time and income.

The markings created by soapstone provisions your welders with a reference that can be quickly removed once it is no longer needed. The markings created by the soapstone chalk can be cleaned away using only a damp cloth to keep the natural quality of your packaged products intact.

Summary

By now, we know what soapstone is used for in welding, how soapstone is formed, what is the soapstone marker used in welding, what the welders’ soapstone is made of, and soapstone marks are easy to remove. Using this information, you can determine if using a soapstone marker is appropriate for your specific welding application and also what you need to do to get the most out of it.

Related Questions

What Is A Soapstone Holder Used For?

The combination of holders and soapstone is what creates the soapstone marker used in welding. This soapstone chalk or marker can then be utilized to mark any solid surface which is not absorbent. For this reason, soapstone markers are widely used today by carpenters and stoneworkers who are regularly working on different types of stones including marble.

Are Soapstone Markers Affordable?

Considering how useful soapstone markers are, they are likely to be expensive or are they? Although it may be helpful to improve the precision of your production welds by adding weld measuring marks to reduce errors in production, you would want to avoid spending large sums of money on marking products.

Thanks to the rich supply of soapstone that we have today, markers produced from it are incredibly affordable. Additionally, by buying soapstone markers in bulk, you can get a substantial discount from the supplier, which makes the soapstone marker even cheaper. Lastly, since soapstone markers are built to last for several uses, you won’t need to buy these markers often, especially if you buy in bulk.

Can Soapstone Markings Affect the Quality of Welds?

To maintain the quality and strength of your welds in production, you need to keep the surface free from any contaminants. Since they comprise of small amounts of metal, using ink or graphite lead to create marking for measurements can affect the integrity of your weld.

Since it does not have any metallic properties, soapstone is safe to use in many different welding processes. The weld will not get contaminated and trigger the failure of the seam in the future even if the weld bead and the markings created by soapstone come into contact.

Considering that soapstone markings are easy to remove, and they do not affect the quality of welds, it is easy to see why many companies today are investing in soapstone markers for use in their production processes.

About Pierre Young

Photo of author
Hey, I'm Pierre Young a qualified AWS Certified Welder. I got into welding in 2009 as a side hustle. Ever since then, I've been doing all kinds of welds - both for business and pleasure. While immersing myself in this wonderful hobby, I've learned from hands-on experience what welding gear works and what doesn't. Welding Headquarters is the site where I share everything I've learned.

Leave a Comment