The Process of Stone Fabrication
If you are a stone fabricator that has been in the industry a long time, this information will be nothing new to you. If you are just getting into the industry, there may be some things that you may not have realized. But if you are a consumer, this article will cover some ground that will undoubtedly give you a bit of insight not only on the stone fabrication process, but also on how the process of stone fabrication varies to a degree depending on several things. In this article, we will look at what it means to be fabricating natural and engineered surfaces. We will also consider some of the variations in the processes by looking at how some professionals perform the process. Finally, we will see which is the best process.
Fabricating Natural and Engineered Surfaces
The profession of fabricating natural and engineered surfaces is one that depends on experience. Fabricators everywhere will tell you that it is much more complicated than reading a book, buying the tools, and doing the work. There nuances that are learned through experience just like many other skills; particularly ones that involve constructing things. This means that when you talk to various stone fabricators, you will find that each has a particular manner in which they perform the stone fabrication process. What do we mean by
The Process of Stone Fabrication
The first thing to note regarding the process of stone fabrication is that we are using the that phrase in a general sense and not in a technical one. In fact, that is what this whole article strives to do; show the difference between the general phrase and the specific methods.
Generally speaking, the stone fabrication process involves the work that gets natural stone from the ground to your kitchen. Fabricating natural and engineered surfaces are similar in the fact that they both involve many similar steps. However, the fabrication process for engineered materials starts from the point of the slab's being manufactured from particulates rather than being harvested from the earth. But you get the idea, taking a surface from the point of a sheet of material to a working, functioning surface in the kitchen.
Variations of the Stone Fabrication Process
As we have already mentioned, there are variants when it comes to fabricating natural and engineered stone surfaces. Just getting a glimpse of the way different fabricators carry out the process is enlightening. Let's look at three different fabrication professionals and see what we learn from their processes.
The Professionals We Will Consider
Just for clarification, our selection of the professionals we decided to consider was made solely on a quick Internet search of professionals that shared their processes on their websites and based on any business relationship. We very easily could have used different pros for this comparison. Hence, our reference to these particular professionals should be taken as recommendations, we are simply using their information to highlight differences and similarities in the processes.
The three professionals we will consider are the following:
Processes With Varying Steps
Reading the descriptions of the stone fabrication process as explained by each of the above professionals, shines a light on the first thing we want to note. That is,
each professional considers different tasks to be part of the process of stone fabrication. Why do we say that? Because if you note the following quotes taken from the pages above, you can see that one professional states that the beginning of the stone fabrication process begins after the measuring, and the other one marks the beginning before the measuring:
"After we have all of the correct measurements and specifications and an approved template, our fabrication team then starts working on the project."
~ Rock Tops Fabrication
"...the fabricator will have to take measurements of the space you want to install the stone in."
~ Moreno Granite & Marble, LLC
This is not to say that either way is better. There are many other factor that must be considered. These variations simply show that not all fabricators include the same tasks in the definition of
their fabrication process.
Various Tools and Equipment Used
Another difference that is readily noticeable when comparing these professionals is the machinery and tooling that each uses. Again, which equipment being used must be considered with all the other factors. One of the professionals we are considering does not mention specific tools (perhaps to keep the focus of the information on the process without getting too technical) and the other two do. The two that mention the equipment say the following:
"The stone is then cut using either a water jet or a bridge saw. Historically, the bridge saw has been the favored tool, however in recent years the saw jet (combination water jet and saw) has come into play."
~ Great Lakes Granite & Marble
"We use a laser-guided, water-cooled bit diamond bit saw that follows the digital template. The saw head is fully programmable, rotates 360 degrees, and can cut a straight line in any direction. "
~ Rock Tops Fabrication
We are not going to get into deep details about equipment here. But one of the things the note about those statements is that each of those pros has preferred equipment they use. The equipment chosen can impact different aspects of the project. And although the results might be the same and have the same degree of quality, there are other factors to consider. For example, the time frame or the overall price. So keep that in mind if you are selecting a professional.
One side point we would like to mention here is that even though there are specific tools preferred by fabricators, they do use some of the same tooling. For example, One of the pros mentions their use of a "saw jet" which would require a
diamond blade for CNC saw jet machines and the other mentions a "diamond bit saw". Even though they different machines, they both use some sort of diamond polishing pads for stone fabrication. And there are many other common fabrication tools they would use that were similar, if not the same.
What Is the Best Process?
As we have seen in this article thus far, fabricating natural and engineered surfaces varies depending on the professional performing the work. Each shop will use different types of equipment and may even consider different tasks to be part of the stone fabrication process. So which is the best? The answer is, it depends on many factors. In reality, the process of stone fabrication is carried out in a number of ways and any of them can be the best if everything is done properly and with high quality in mind. If you are consumer, take time and put in the effort to select a reputable professional; there are many of them. Try to avoid comparing basic specific details without considering the big picture of the project. If you are a fabricator, focus on the quality of your work and communicating effectively with your customers.
In conclusion, fabricating natural and engineered surfaces entails much more than a simple series of steps. The process of stone fabrication will always encompass more than what might be summarized in an Internet article such as this. The key is knowing what realistic expectations to have and then communicating those to the other parties involved in the the process.