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A Simple Guide to Granite, the Miracle Stone for House Signs
The use of granite for house signs and kitchen tops is becoming more popular, but do you really know what granite is?
Granite is simply a type of very hard rock or stone, it is quarried from the ground or smashed or cut from the side of mountains, this is called quarry. The purpose of the quarry is to produce large rectangular blocks, some of these blocks can be huge and weigh up to twenty tons! Try imagining a 6 foot by 6 foot by 12 foot block of stone made of one of the hardest and densest materials in nature.
Now let’s be clear, this is the same stone or rock that is found in our rivers and on many of our beaches all over our coast, especially in Scotland, Cornwall and Devon. Those rocks have been broken and shaped by millions of years of glacial activity, but many of them are granite like our blocks.
The blocks are now sawn into sheets of a useful size, the saws are massive saws with rows of parallel diamond-tipped blades moving back and forth lubricated by water, the blades cut the granite block rather like a bread slicer that cuts a slice of bread. ! It sounds simple doesn’t it, but granite is incredibly hard, the saws are noisy and the process for each block takes days.
Up to this stage, the whole business is an act of faith, remember that no one has ever seen this piece of granite of millions of years, if the stone is seriously flawed or not an acceptable color all the work so far is lost, this will be. be the first opportunity to see the color and markings of the stone.
The newly cut cuttings are called scants, they have a rough and painted face, covered with saw marks, it is difficult to even see the true color, but by throwing water on the face, the color and markings become visible and it is possible . see the potential of the scarce.
The scans now go for polishing, they are arranged on polishing machines that were called Jenny Linds, they are rotary polishers with large spinning heads that can be changed with different grades of diamond abrasives.
I am not sure that the modern controlled versions of the giant computers have such a picturesque name, but apart from the name of the computers and the size, the principle is the same.
Starting with a coarse grade to grind out the worst marks and grooves, the polishing head moves back and forth across the face of the granite in a uniform controlled pattern hour after hour as each new grade is applied the color and the nature of the granite. becomes more apparent, until with the final superfine gradations the granite takes on its polished brilliance, the amazing patterns and colors are now seen in their glory.
But how hard is granite? Granites are almost impossible to scratch deeply with anything other than high quality steel, tungsten or diamond. Granites are extremely stain resistant, one of the few things I have found that some granites will miss is beet juice! Although it has to be left for some time to do any real damage. And lighter colored granites can stain with rust from drip etc. Granites are extraordinarily resistant to the effects of rain and sun, and most of the corrosives found around the house have little effect.
I am a stone mason of forty years, but I never stop talking about this miracle of nature, I often wonder who was the first man to try to clean a piece of this super hard stone, who was he, he was a genius!
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