Stone is a material that mankind has used for over 800,000. It includes the wild symbols and ornaments that have been painstakingly embedded into cave walls. Artists have often used stone for their sculptural work. The stonemason’s work defines architecture. This can be seen in everything from the granite grey streets in Scotland to the Brownstone apartments in Brooklyn, NY.
Stone has its problems. Due to the environmental impacts of quarrying, many quarries have closed in Tuscany, where Michelangelo used them. Tensions have also risen in Badakhshan province in Afghanistan over the mining of lapis lazuli, a blue stone.
Stone is an ethically and responsibly sourced material that can be used for many purposes. Stone is always heavy and durable and can be used in many different ways. Carving wood by hand takes a great deal of skill, patience, and craft. Machines in a more industrial setting are amazing to see granite saw.
Before the advent of metal carving tools was invented, hard stones were used to form soft stones like soapstone or chalk. Today, hand carving remains essentially unchanged. Steel chisels, tools, and mason and mason hammers are used to remove material from larger stone blocks.
Stone carving was initially used to construct facades for cathedrals, statues, and religious icons. Artists working in stone, such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, began to create more abstract shapes during the 20th Century. This practice continues to this day. Letter cutting is similar toto hand carving but uses the chisel at various angles to create letterforms. This is often used to develop gravestones, plaques, or lettering on monuments.
Like a sign painter or a letter cutter, learning the art of letter cutting requires a solid understanding and appreciation of typography. Lettering is often tailored to the stone type. This means you must consider the purpose of your letter cutting and the layout before deciding on the styles, spacing, colors, shadows, and cuts.
Sandblasting pushes sand through a compressed air pressure nozzle to create a new surface. Sandblasting is also possible with glass, plastic, and baking soda. Sandblasting can be used to create text or images on gravestones in stone. A rubber stencil is made of stone masons and placed on stone to protect areas that are not being blasted. These stencil images can be created digitally before being cut with a vinyl cutter.
Diamond can be used to make tools like drills, saws, and grinders that can cut through harsh surfaces such as stone. For example, a circular industrial diamond saw has diamond tips around the edge. This removes the unwanted stone, transforming large boulders into slabs of different sizes and other pieces.
Stone can be polished into high gloss finishes similar to glass. You can use various stone polishing methods and machines to achieve this. This involves grinding, which is similar to sanding. Large metal discs and diamonds are used to smoothen out imperfections. Next is buffing. Here polishing powders, compounds, and silicon carbide are pushed onto the surface.
A coating can be applied for high gloss finishes. The stone will get a glossy finish similar to that of wax. A polymer is applied to it. Next, chemicals such as fluorosilicate can be sprayed onto the stone and buffed using steel wool pads. This results in crystallization when glass-like crystals are formed on the stone’s surface.