Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Personalized Stone Engraving Process

A few weeks ago we posted a video showing the steps involved in a relatively simple large stone engraving job: signage in the form of two engraved ton and a half rocks for Airway HeightsCleveland Park. Here’s that video again:

The same basic principles of large stone engraving apply to small personalized stone engravings, wedding stones, birth stones and graduation stones. Let’s go through the step by step process:

Consultation: First off, we have to know what you want. We understand that lots of people come in with half-formed ideas, so we provide a number of starting points for those ordering or browsing online, and you can of course just call to ask for help in picking lettering, images and designs. Ultimately, the choice is yours. We’re always willing to work on completely custom rock work.

Choice of Stone: We keep a big, diverse array of stones fit for engraving. That usually includes several types of granite and sandstone, with a focus on the varieties that blend in with the Pacific Northwest’s natural geology.

Stencil Design and Rendering: As you can see from the video, we create a stencil as the basis for engraving. We take advantage of computer graphics and lettering tools to get something as close to the concept as possible on paper to transfer to the stone. Remember, though, that no two natural stones are alike, and will always affect the end result.

Stone Preparation: As the video shows, preparation starts by giving the stone a thoroughly cleaning. Dirty rock will not only cause deflections and pitting in some of our pressure-powered tools, but can actually hammer dirt into the stone – something we want to avoid. We apply our stencils to the clean stones.

Engraving: Now it’s time for the actual engraving, which uses a combination of pressure-driven tools (such as the sandblaster) and hand detailing where necessary. We can usually work right through the stencil, since it’s thin and fragile enough to present no obstacle to our tools.

Polishing and Finishing: Finally, it’s time to get rid of the debris, polish the engraved stone and prepare it for delivery.

Besides these steps we may also provide custom coloring for the stone, after giving it a polish and prep to make the process work.

Our process allows us to create personalized stone engravings of any size with great precision. To see more examples, just drop by our Airway Heights Store or visit us at

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