August 18, 2019

Dressing the Stones

    How do you dress a stone?  Well, first you have to get it to the dress shop!

Dress1    It helps if you happen to have two backhoes handy.




     Better yet if you can work in the shade on a 90 degree day.


     The trick lies in taking advantage of the water locked up in the micro-porosity of the stone itself. IF... you can get enough heat on the stone quickly enough, it will spall off. Although explode in your face is closer to the truth of the matter.
     Tiny micro fractures are also revealed in the smooth diamond cut sides of the stone. If large enough these can be patiently worked with an impact chisel. Cracking on the flat face of the stone responds well to a reducing (carbon rich) flame, with the resultant spall sometimes hitting the roof of the shop... or the face of yours truly. Thus the full face mask!
   A hard oxidizing flame creates a popcorn effect, rapidly spalling off small, millimeter size fragments with a gentle crackling sound. All these techniques, used together, and one can patiently shape the stone in almost any desired was. Here we are trying to keep with the straight side of the as cut stone, but work the edge to a natural finish, while bringing out the iron oxide redness of the stone, that otherwise takes millions of years to flower.


    If you think this is a mess, you should see the shop floor!