How Stone is Quarried & Processed
Quarrying natural stone and installing it in someone’s home is an incredibly long and arduous process. Removing a 40,000-pound block of stone from the earth and turning it into a handcrafted counter top or gleaming marble floor 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 geologists to look for stone outcrops which are more easily examined since the bedrock is exposed. Samples are then obtained by boring into the earth to take core samples with expensive diamond-tipped drill bits. These samples are then tested to determine if the stone is suitable for use as dimensional building stone. Later they are polished so that their color and pattern can be examined to determine marketability.
Once blocks of stone reach the processing facility, they are cut down into smaller more manageable pieces. For tile, this means cutting the stone into billets before polishing. For slab materials, this typically means a trip to the gang saw. A gang saw works just like a giant bread slicer, with many adjustable blades that allow for the thickness of the slabs to be adjusted. The gang saw can cut the entire block of stone into slabs at one time. More delicate materials may require the use of a diamond wire saw to gently cut one slab at a time with less trauma to the stone. The most recent technology involves multi-wire gang saws which have the potential speed production on exotic materials exponentially.