Natural Stone Techniques: How to Get a Rockface Edge

Rockface Edge

One way to dress up your pool coping or give more texture to your home’s front entry is to utilize rockfacing on the edge of a piece of natural stone. After all, nothing compares to the beauty—and durability—of natural stone, and an aesthetically pleasing rockface is an ideal way to finish the edge. Therefore, adding this feature is an advantageous improvement that will likely yield great results, ensuring happy clients and owners. Below is more information about the rockface edge method and why you should consider it in your next project:

What is a Rockface Edge?

Before delving any deeper into the topic, it’s important to properly define what rockface edging means. Rockfacing is a hand-crafted process achieved by a skilled craftsman who chisels the top and bottom of a stone face or edge with the intention of creating a textured, 3D look.  The end result enhances the natural beauty of the stone by highlighting its intricacies and giving it a rough appearance.

What Type of Projects Work Well with Rockfacing?

There are many types of interior and exterior projects in which rockfacing an edge will greatly improve the finished look. Just a few of these include architectural steps, fireplace mantels, pool coping and even capping on walls.

Is Rockfacing Applicable for Every Project?

There are some materials that rockfacing does not work well with, such as stone with natural hairline cracks or fissures. If you attempt the rockface technique with this material, it will simply fall apart. Instead, use it for finishing the edges of sandstone, granite, or limestone, but avoid glass-like or fragile stones.

More About Rockfacing an Edge?

Of course, the method used will depend on the thickness of the piece in which you are edging. For example, a 2-inch-thick piece of granite that’s a squared off, raw block can usually be done as a 1-foot long piece in approximately five minutes. However, if you’re working with material that’s six, eight, or 10 inches thick, it could take up to 15 minutes to rockface the edge. It’s fairly quick on occasion, and well worth the additional effort, but it’s important to keep in mind that the thicker the stone, the more time it could add to a project – especially when it comes to the initial cut of the slab. If the stone is layered with seams and grains, the saw can cut through it a lot easier. But, if the saw goes against the grain, the harder it will be to cut through the stone, again adding more time and focus to a project.

How to Do a Rockface Edge Effect?

All rockfacing is completed by hand with a carbide tip pitching tone that comes in different widths. The best size to use for a project will depend on what is being edged. For example, if you want the stone to receive minimal shock or impact, you will use a ½ inch to 2-inch-wide tip and hit straight down on the stone. This narrow tip will help with control, especially if the stone shatters easily. This makes mistakes like a hit or miss less likely and will help to avoid a total blowout, wasting the entire piece of stone. To add additional details or to finish off the flat edges of the stone, a chisel and hammer will be used to strike the edge to give it the total rockface edge all around. To use this method, you can tilt the edge of the chisel and strike it with a 3/4 lb. striking hammer.

Are There Other Type of Faces for Stone Edging?

The following are a few additional ways you can finish the edge of natural stone, enhancing its beauty.

  • Thermal:This technique uses an oxygen and propane mixed torch, similar to what welders’ use. The wet edge of the stone is touched with the torch, sending chips flying and leaving the edge a bit rough, yet straight – creating a sandy paper-like texture. The rockface edge is sometimes used in conjunction with this technique for projects like steps and stairs. The edge of the step itself will be rockfaced, and the thermaling process would be applied to the top of the step.
  • Bush-Hammered:This technique creates fine little dots and is only possible with a skilled craftsman as it is a difficult effect to pull off.
  • Brushed Surfaces: This technique is completed by using a diamond compound and a nylon brush to create a smoother surface.

In conclusion, rockfacing is a beautiful way to finish the edging of natural stone. Consider Connecticut Stone to procure the very best quality of stone for your next project to ensure an ideal foundation for this edging technique.

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