Marble, Granite and Quartzite are natural stones that comes from mountains all over the world. Removing a 40,000-pound block of stone from the earth and turning it into a handcrafted countertop is not easy. There are many steps and intricate details which cannot be overlooked in order for a piece of stone to find the perfect setting where it will look beautiful for years to come.
The first step to finding the perfect slab is finding an optimal deposit of material with desirable color, pattern, and composition. This requires a geologist to look for and test stones to determine if it is suitable for use as dimensional building stone. Once approved by the geologists, and all other licenses and permits are obtained, the quarrying process begins.
Well-managed quarries, such as the ones we purchase from, control how material is removed based on the veining and coloration within the deposit. They analyze how the stone "flows" through the quarry, as the same stone can take on many different looks just based on how the block is cut from the wall. After the quarry manager decides how to extract the blocks, the drilling begins.
The process starts by taking down a “bench wall,” a large dimensional chunk of rock that is then cut into smaller blocks. These bench walls are cut using a combination of diamond cables, drills and high temperature torches that will melt the stone. Dirt is pushed up against the base of the wall to cushion the fall, and small dynamite charges jar the wall loose to bring it down to a horizontal position. Once the blocks have been extracted, they are cut down into smaller more manageable pieces. This typically means a trip to the gang saw.
This particular type of saw works just like a giant bread slicer, with many adjustable blades that allow for the thickness of the slabs to be adjusted. After slabs are cut on the gang saw, they are moved one at a time to the polishing line, where they are laid horizontally on a large conveyer. There, they pass under polishing heads - beginning with very coarse diamond abrasives, and then moving towards finer and finer abrasives, just like sanding wood.
Part of the way through this line, these slabs receive a coating of a resin treatment which fills in any pits or micro fissures which are inherent to the stone in order to make the final surface easier to clean. At this point the materials are checked for quality and carefully packaged for their long journey.
Slabs are bundled together and braced with a wooden framework, custom built to ensure the slabs stay upright during the shipping process. After a few weeks at sea, slabs arrive at the port in New Orleans and are transported to our suppliers - where containers are unloaded, and arranged for customer’s viewing.