The Types of Ice Used In Ice Carving


If you are unfamiliar with the art of ice carving, you may believe that each sculptor just uses the same, simple block of ice for every piece that they create. However, in order for an artist to get the desired affect that will make their vision come to life, the type of ice they use has to take some serious consideration.

The Types of Ice Used In Ice Carving | Ice Crafters


Can Ice – Can ice is a traditional type of ice that was most often used for carving and can be purchased at 55” and 46” tall. Smaller ice blocks can be 43”-45” tall and weigh 350 pounds, while larger blocks can weigh 450 pounds and are called “450’s”.


Can ice is made by putting the can in brine and generating a core with a bubbler or pump, which is put down the middle of the can. Stirring and agitation cause the outside of the block to freeze clear, with the impurities settling in the center, forming the core or feather.


Some advantages of can ice include that it comes out of the freezer ready to be carved, it can be created faster than other types of ice and it is easier to work with because of the core. It is also cheaper than other ice types.


Clear Ice – Clear ice, or Clinebell blocks are beautifully crystal clear blocks of ice made from the bottom up within a well with spring hinges. Pumps circulate the water, with the impurities rising to the top to be shaved off later. The time period for creating two Cinebell blocks in one machine is about 3-4 days.


The advantages of Clinebell blocks include, of course, their clarity, their consistency in that each block is 40”x20”, with a depth of between 9 ½”-10”, and the ease of staking on their flat surfaces.


Natural Ice – Natural ice is harvested from man-made ponds that are bubble- and algae-free. It can come in a host of different sizes, with the greatest variation being the ice’s thickness. These blocks were also used at the World Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, measuring at 4’x5’x32” and 4’x8’x32”. The depth of these blocks can go up to 36”.


Advantages of natural ice include the gorgeous blue color and the fact that it is thought to be the best ice for carving.


So all ice is not the same and each different type appeals to the individual sculptor and his project. If you are an ice sculptor or aspire to be one, do your research on the different ice types before carving. Then let your imagination go wild, and create!


(Source: National Ice Carving Association)


(Posted by: Alice Connelly of Ice Crafters)