The Processes Behind the Stone: Making the Cut As a building material, natural stone is difficult to surpass for durability, distinguished appearance, and strength. It comes in a variety of textures, appearances, colors, and sizes for all different applications. However, while some admire the look and texture of these products, what is often overlooked is the craftsmanship and stonecutting processes that go on before these unique pieces are installed into their final destination. At Connecticut Stone, we are a leader in manufacturing stone from its raw state and have a variety of processes and craftsmanship methods that can shape, carve, and finish a stone to the specifications of an architect or designer. Some of the processes require more modern equipment and technology, but most require using age-old basics like a hammer and chisel to shape and carve the stone. So, let’s take a look at what really goes on behind the scenes during the stone fabrication process. Processes Behind Stone Cutting Feather and Wedge Technique One old-school technique that is still used today to split stones is the feather and wedge technique. The stonecutter drills a line of holes in a stone block and places a pair of feathers (iron or steel strips that curve at the top) in each hole. Then the stonecutter drives an angled metal wedge between each set of feathers and hits each wedge in sequence over and over until the stone splits. The goal is to split the stone into smaller pieces, however, there is truly no control on how the stone splits – it’s completely natural. Here’s a good demonstration. Hydraulic Guillotine The name of this machine sounds macabre, but it is the machine of choice for producing naturally split surfaces. Hydraulic pressure causes steel teeth, located below and on top of the stone, to come together. The intense pressure causes the stone to split, similar to the feather and wedge process. One of the important things to note is that there can be a big difference cutting with or against the grain of the stone. Depending on the material, the stone may have natural seams and veins to cut in conjunction with. But, when you cut against the natural grain of the stone, the amount of effort the machine has to put into splitting the stone is increased in proportion to the type of material that it is. Stone cut with or against the grain yields a dramatically different look and the price point could be higher. Wire Saw Quarries and stone manufacturers use diamond-wire cutters for precise and clean cutting of stone slabs. The wire is extremely long and runs from a motorized spool, attached to a vehicle on a track. The process is similar to that of someone slicing through a piece of cheese. However, the harder the stone, the more difficult it will be to make a cut. The process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to make a single slice depending on the size of the block and type of material. When cutting granite, the wire cuts around ¼ of an inch every time it makes a pass. Once complete, the stone slab can either be flamed, honed, polished or brushed to give it the finished look that’s desired. A lot happens behind the scenes in order to get these unique stone masterpieces to look the way they do. The precision, hard work, and time that goes into making just one stone slab takes an immense amount of expertise and at Connecticut Stone you can trust we have just that. For more information on these processes and how they can be used on your next project, contact Connecticut Stone, today.