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ADVICE WANTED!   July 31, 2002
www.findstone.com   info@findstone.com
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Trade Talk

Q 2356: I wish to know the radon exhalation from the granite tiles, limits specified for them if any and if the limits vary from country to country. With regards, BALA SUNDAR, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, INDIA. July 30, Reply
R2: Dear Sir: If you work at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and do not know that granite does not emit radon, then what i can say. Mike, USA, Expert Panelist.
R1: Dear Bala Sundar: Get real, will ya! All that big name and intimidating qualifications for some caca-baloney like that?! It's been proven time and again that granite has no radon to speak of. It's actually one of the best material to insulate a room from radon gas coming from the ground. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist.
Q 2353: Dear Experts, I would like to draw upon your combined expert knowledge on whether a cause and effect relationship exists between water and marble stains. 
Specifically, a cold water pipe embedded in our concrete flooring ruptured unknown to us until the water surfaced through the entire first floor white Carrara marble. Afterwards, about a thousand square feet of the marble displayed mostly yellowish (and some rust) stains. The insurance company will consider paying for it's replacement if I can get an expert authority to state a cause and effect between water and marble stains. Since findstone.com is well reputed as a standing authority on marble, would you be able to kindly reply in a sentence or so to this. Your most gracious and needed reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you kindly for your time. Respectfully, Giovanni, July 30, Reply 
R1: Dear Giovanni: Many a type of White Carrara marble have a certain percentage of iron mineral within. When water migrate from the bottom, through to core of the stone, onto its surface, such iron oxidizes (it rusts, that is), and the stain is permanent, being through and through. Some other components of the stains are more of an inorganic nature, therefore the stain may be removed (at least to a certain degree) by using a poultice of Hydrogen Peroxide 30/40 volume. Considering that we're looking at a surface of over 1,000 square feet, and that the rate of success for the stain removal would be no more than 70% (at best), the only possible solution is the replacement of the whole floor. You also have to consider that the considerable amount of water involved and the length of time it's been sitting under your tiles, may have jeopardized the soundness of the whole installation. Ciao and "buona fortuna"! Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist.
Q 2287: I found your site this morning and I must say I really enjoyed some of your comments on the Q&A pages. Especially the comment to the fabricator “new in the business” that couldn’t even understand a request on a dimensional quote! And you are very correct, many Americans find themselves in the stone business when they have no business at all being there. It seems to me that the bulk of your site id devoted to stone tile, slabs and dimensional stone. Is natural cleft irregular flagstone, boulders and veneer stone outside of your interests? How can your site help a new stone business market its products? Joe, July 24, Reply
R1: Dear Joe: I don't think we can say that the types of stone you listed are outside the 
interest of this site, because it indeed is interested in any type of stone, including pebbles!! It doesn't look, however, that there are many experts in that particular section of the trade who are interested at answering questions on this particular subject. Personally, I don't consider myself qualified enough to answer questions on those stones. Ciao and good luck,
Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist.
Q 2267: I am new to the business and my clients want the following quotation:
100 LF, 3/4" X 20 1/2", kitchen counter top w/ bullnose, G603, polished finish. What does it mean? Especially "100 LF, 3/4" X 20 1/2" " ---- what are the actual dimensions? And, then, "w/ bullnose" ---- is FOUR SIDES or not? Thank you for your help. Warrenz, 
July 19, Reply
R2: Dear Warrenz: Under certain circumstances, I do admire the American entrepreneurship, by which sometimes people get into the action right away, and -- hopefully -- will learn as they go. But that, I feel, was good some 200 years ago.
I do despise people like yourself that get into an extremely complicated business without even knowing the basics of it. Do me and the whole society a big favor: Take your "professional abilities" somewhere else. The stone industry is bad enough as it is, we don't need an extra "Michelangelo" like you. Ciao and good look in your next, different endeavor. Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist.
R1: LF - linear foot.
3/4" thick
201/2" - 20.5 inches long
G603 - chinese granite
bull nose - see edges in our library. FindStone.com
Q 2246: I am concerned about fabricating three slabs of Seafoam Green that have 
been filled with epoxy and covered with mesh at the factory prior to shipping.
The supplier refuses to warranty the slabs and my client loves the color (these particular slabs are very unique in that they have a lot of olive in them). The contractor wants me to warranty to installation- but I'm worried about cutting them. What do you think? Thanks- Kam, July 16, Reply
R1: Dear Kam: Lots of olive? I like them a lot in my Greek salad!!
Joke aside, if the supplier refuses to warranty the slabs, tell the contractor to try to force them, not you. Do NOT do any stupid thing like that. You're a working guy, you don't need that kind of responsibility, do you! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panhelist.
Q 2217: Hi, I need to know if there are any toxicity considerations that I should be aware of when working with or fixing natural stone? Regards, Jo, USA, July 15, Reply
R1: Dear Jo: The dust of the marble and granite (silica) is harmful to your lungs. You should protect your respiratory system all the time when working dry (thus generating dust). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, US, Expert Panelist.
Q 2211: We are in the homebuilding business. Granite has exploded in popularity for kitchen countertops. I am interested in developing a Scope of Work for the purchase and installation of granite. Please recommend where I can gather the information. Peter, 
July 12, Reply
R1: Dear Peter: Send an E-mail to: info@findstone.com  and I'll be glad to point you in 
the right direction. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA, Expert Panelist. 
A 2023: How to convince an owner of granite tonality which quite natural but not easy to convince them. Any good description to influence. I am a contractor. Thank You, Lai. June 5, Reply
R1: Dear Lai: English is not not my native tongue, but I made it my priority to learned ever since I moved to this country, and I manage to get understood quite well all the time. Unfortunately I have no idea what you're talking about. Get help with your language problem, then I will see if I can help. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 2011: My husband and I are to be joining the ranks of marble and granite professionals, and we would like some advice from those who have been there, done that. We are establishing our business in the eastern US. Also, if you could send us any relevant information, we would greatly appreciate it! Thank you, Emery, June 3, Reply
R2: Dear Emery: A lot of people can claim to have been there. Nobody can honestly claim to have done that! What I mean by that is that nobody will ever complete learningin a complex (yet fascinating) field like natural stone! I know that I'm still not done, despite my over 40 years of experience (alas!), and the fire that I have within to learn new things every day is still very much alive and burning high!
As you can understand, the answer to your question can't be concentrated into a simple answer posted on this (wonderful) site, since it inherently implies a long term involvement.
Hit the "Reply" link at the end of your very question and ask to get directly in touch with me. I'll be glad to help for what I can. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
R1: I have been in the marble business for 18 years, please advise if you are to open a small factory or shop and what type of market are you aiming to. I will gladly share my views with you. Filipe, Portugal
A 1991: Maurizio, Hi, My name is Todd I own a Countertop shop in Northern California, 
My countertop shop has recently added granite and marble to what we offer as options for tops, I have fabricated and installed solid surface for years as well as plastic laminates.
I have hired a guy who seems fairly knowledgeable about the Granite end of things, However, I am very anxious to learn all I can about the fabrication and installation techniques, as I will be doing most all the sales end and occasionally fabricating with him.
I learn very well from videos and reading and have progressed my cabinet making skills very nicely with Videos and Instructional books, and then I tend to take things from there and when I have spare time to get the artist out in me, I do a lot of lathe work and xyz axis milling, spirals , twists etc. ANYWAY.....
I have looked pretty hard on the web and Amazon.com etc. and I can't find any really good books on Fabrication techniques for Granite and Marble....
Anyway could you help me out, as I would just like to be very, very familiar with the product I am selling and making. I'm sure you can understand why! Makes sense, Yes?
So anyway, any help or guidance I could get from you on where to locate good books or videos, I would really appreciate it! Thanks a bunch, Todd, USA, May 31. Reply
R1: Dear Todd: I have the answer for you, but it would interfere with the policy (and a right one at that) of this site to advertise somebody else's web site. Do get in touch directly with me by hitting the "Reply" link at the end of your very question and ask to communicate with me. They will gladly do that for you. I like your attitude and will to learn what you're about to do. It does make sense, but, alas, is rather unusual!!  Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 1962: Do you know where and how I can learn granite fabrication techniques to further my carrier. I am new on the job and nobody wants to help me. Miguel, May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Miguel: There are professional training classes being held on fabrication on a regular basis. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 1961: What do you recommend as the best respitory protection mask for grinding granite and marble? Inhaling silica can be fatal. Miguel, May 25, Reply
R1: Dear Miguel: Your question was open to several comments and interpretations but I assume that you wish to protect yourself from the potential long-term dangers of inhaling silica dust. Several years ago I undertook an exercise to investigate (a) the short-term dangers of compositionally specific dust inhalation, (b) the long-term effects, and (c) most of the readily available respiratory protective gear, for its effectiveness. Without going into detail there is no question that you should protect yourself whenever you are undertaking an activity that will generate dust that contains silica. This is particularly important when the activity you are about to undertake is generally considered to be minor. It is so easy for most workers to find excuses for avoiding the donning of protective gear, such as, it will only take a short time, I couldn't be bothered going all the way to the back of the factory to get the gear, It doesn't feel comfortable, etc. These excuses pale into insignificance when you discover that permanent damage has been done to your lungs (it is not reversible) and that you might die from it in 15-25 years. This type of disease is significantly exacerbated if you are a smoker. Some debate still surrounds the use of such protective gear when working with marble because the calcium carbonate can be dissolved to a certain extent by your body. However, many marble varieties contain a small amount of free quartz so it is always safer to don protective equipment whenever you are generating dust. As for the best respiratory gear - it is an interesting exercise to examine the specifications provided by the makers. Some makers will not inform you of the filtration effectiveness, others will give you information such as - "all particulates above 10 microns will be screened". What happens to all those particles below 10 microns?? Keep in mind that it is the fine particles that enter the alveoli (the deep, delicate parts of the lungs where much of the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange occurs) to cause the permanent damage! Some makers claim some effectiveness at excluding 3 micron-sized particulates. The maker that provided the most extensive information (including test data) was 3M and it is their twin respirator (7000 series) that I use when underground, visiting dirty quarries, or quarrying siliceous granite. I find it effective, durable and comfortable in all weather conditions (except for the plastic clip behind the head). (Dr. Hans), Australia
A 1936: I financial persuing my PhD on critical appraisal of marble industry of Rajasthan, in this regard, I require annual reports of big companies involved in the trade. It will be very nice of you, if you may please arrange the same. If you require any details regarding my identity I can submit it to you. Sincerely, Gagan, India, May 20, Reply
A 1935: My name Vincent, my company is a stone supplier in Singapore. I've encountered with some problems in supplying the Botticino Light Cremo and Cream Nacar, where the Italian fabricator had introduced the netting behind the tiles.
Could your good-self kindly enlighten me to the following:
1. what is the purpose of having the netting behind the marble tiles?
2. I was told that the netting is glued to the tile by using the product name EPOXY SYSTEM KK + KKB. now (a): with this epoxy, how easily does this netting be deattached from the back of the marble?, (b): does this epoxy easily be debonded from the back of the marble tile?, (c): does this epoxy used is compatible to the cement or adhesive, does it cause debonding?
3. Now I've these materials in Singapore, how am I to convince the general contractor to accept these materials? The above-mentioned tiles are used it for the bath-room. We appreciate if you could reply to us the soonest. Thank you, Vincent, May 20. Reply
R1: Dear Vincent: The netting behind the tiles is applied to help reduce the risk of cracking. 
The net also grants a better bondage, especially when the tiles are installed on walls. I really can't see the reason for your concern about the netting. It's good thing with no cons!
As far as using Italian Botticino in bathrooms (shower stall and all) you'd better learn what to do to properly maintain them!
Should you be interested at receiving our free guidelines for maintenance of residential stone installations, hit the reply / contact button at the end of your own question and ask for it. I'll be glad to E-mail them to you. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 1915: Hi! We recently bought $1,250 of what we thought was Italian travertine for a bathroom floor and shower surround installation. Turns out that it was from Mexico. We have no problem with that, but many of the tiles are unusable (corners chipped, or full of holes too big to be patched). The problem is that we purchased the tile about six weeks ago and it has since been sitting in wrappers in our garage while the new bathroom was being framed etc. Should we still expect the dealer to replace the defective tiles or give us a partial refund? Or are we basically out of luck? Agnus, May 16, Reply
R3: A typical answer to that question is that you probably got a great deal on the Mexican travertine which is probably Durango if that is the case you will have to account for some waste, but typically there are many cut tiles on a job and that is where we use these tiles that are not acceptable to use in their full state. Good luck and please reply Gino
R2: no! you probably bought the cheapest price you could find and you get what you pay for next time use a reputable supplier and check your product at time of purchase. As for the tile you have, install as is use grout to fill all voids and then have your floor ground down to a flat surface and polish up to a honed finish, then apply a color enhancer to bring out the natural beauty of the stone, travertine is a very imperfect stone and fragile, holes, chips, and cracks are part of what makes travertine what it is. If you were looking for perfection you should have chosen a different stone, or consulted a stone professional for advice. Kenny
R1: Dear Agnus: Just because you could not inspect the tile right away doesn't -- which is 
quite typical -- doesn't mean that you have to accept defective tiles. The dealer must replace the damaged ones for you: It's your legal right. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 1875:I want to get into the stone surface restoration business. How do I get started? what do I need to know, Jagoutz, May 15.Reply
R1: Dear Jagoutz: The first thing you need (I do mean NEED) to know is how to recognize all different types of "marbles" and "granite" by their names, so that when you'll start your training you will get to learn what to do with each and every one of them (providing that you have what it takes). Second, if you can't think of any other source, you can hit the "Reply" button at the end of your very question and ask to get in touch directly with me. Among other things I do training. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
A 1808: Email me relevant information about stone symposiums.Metod, May 14.Reply
A 1788: I am considering building pressure treated wood a-frames for storing bundles of granite slabs for kitchen countertops - six slabs on each side. Does anyone have any pointers such as proper size and connections? . Thanks, Thom, May 14. Reply
R1: Use steel. Regards, Steven, USA
A 1775: Hi, I just started in the tile business and would like a simple comparison of granite, marble, travertine, other natural stone, and slate for household applications. I work in a home improvement store and its hard to acquire the parameters and advise the customers on matters applicable to their home stead parameters should include wear and tear (high traffic areas), scratch removal, porosity, sealing, cleanliness, durability, crack potential cost, and installation for all set up in a matrix You may have answered these questions before but I need answers now. Thanks, John, May 2. Reply
R3: Dear John: I particularly like Steve, Florida answer. My take in this subject is the following:
1. Koodos to you, John for your desire to learn (trust me, you represent the exception that confirms the rule, if you know what I mean!...) 
2. The classification of the rocks into metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous, while representing a solid basic information, won't do you much good if you can't translate such information into practical usefulness. What's more, the geological classification of rocks doesn't seem to be of much interest to the recognized stone industry authorities. In fact, they have them all mixed up, in order to "keep things simple" (?!).
3. And this is the real sore point in the whole picture. The stone industry is just about totally unregulated, and it becomes even more so as time goes by. You can't get any serious guidelines from its recognized authorities, just some toothless, "politically correct", mild recommendations, which talk a lot while saying absolutely nothing. I'd love to help you, John. Do get in touch with me through the reply link at the end of your answer. Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA
R2: Dear Sir, there are two way of answering your questions:
a) a book with the technical details of each material 
b) experience. We would be pleased to supply the first at cost price (I think now about 
USD 100) and the second free of charge in the hope of a future co-operation. Andrea, Italy.
R1: Dear John, Do you have about four days to sit and consume the amount of information
that you would need to receive in order to cover all of the areas you need answers to? That's a heavy load my friend. There is really no simple comparison. If you go back to 9th
grade earth science, you will get a general understanding of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous stone that will get you started on understanding limestones, marble, and granite respectively. However, that's only touching the surface.
This industry is extremely complicated, and after 27 years I am still learning something every day. There really is not short term seminar that can be given. How do you suggest I can help? Sincerely, Steve, Florida, USA.
A 1763: I would like to open a cemetery plot making and monuments could u help find a place to help me or someone I could contact. Ken, April 26. Reply
A 1725: We are looking into rehabilitation of a sandstone quarry that was blasted with high explosives (ANFO). The stone is thinly bedded with beds from a centimetre thick to 15 centimetres. About 15,000 metric tons was blasted in one blast from a quarry face about 10 metres high for use in road construction. The largest blast pieces are from the thicker beds and are about one half a square metre, most of the pieces are less than 25 centimetres and the quarry is a mess. The quarry face is severely fractured and the top one third of the layering appears to have been loosened and dislocated (lifted?). 
Formerly, sandstone slabs of a square metre or more were quarried for tiles and flagstone. The engineering properties of the stone were excellent with absorption averaging less than 3% and the compressive strength exceeded ASTM minimum requirements by over 300%. It is what we call "Bluestone", very attractive and is a quartzo-feldspathic sandstone with a ferruginous cement. The bedding planes are easily separated because of a micaceous coating on the beds. The blaster tells us that damage to the remaining stone goes in only one or two metres into the quarry face. Since blasters know little about dimension stone, (stone producers either avoid explosives or use small amounts of "soft" explosives) I don't trust his judgment.
I realize having not seen the site, you can't be expected to provide much information but I would be most interested in your opinion on high energy blasting effects on such stone. Could it damage the stone for a considerable way into the deposit? Could there be invisible damage that would show up in production and use? I suspect a sculptor is more demanding of care with stone than other stone workers. Gary, Ottawa, Canada. April 18. Reply 
R2: Gary. what a dilemma! Yes it is possible that if you remove a few meters of the face, you may get back to undamaged stone, but that is a big ? Generally in the dimension stone industry, we do not like to hear of explosives being used to quarry the stone, and in a few cases where it was tried, the results were considerably less than desirable. What usually happens, is that the shock of the blast travels through the formation and "frizzels" the stone. Small unnoticeable fractures through out the stone that can and do weaken the structural integrity of the stone, causing sudden and unexpected failure during the milling process or later. You have every right to be concerned about this. I have no idea as to how extensive this might be in your situation as there are so many variables involved. One thing you may be able to do is to take some core samples back from the existing face, and have them tested for compression and sheer strength. Good luck I certainly hope that a good building stone has not been ruined for some quick road base. JVC, USA
R1: Hi Gary, we have recently been through a similar situation in Australia. Subsequently, the State Government stepped in and halted usage of high strength explosives in the extraction of sandstone. There was very strong evidence that up to 2 years after initial explosive use, stones fell apart. Some of the stones that had been cut into paving stones and had been laid in place fractured into small pieces and had to be replaced. Because of the makeup of sandstone, shock waves are sent through the stone that can travel for many meters causing hairline fractures of the stone, rendering the stone from the area around the blast useless. If you want further detail you are welcome to contact me directly on email. - Libi, Australia
A 1653: We are interested in Stone care products, please mail us your Product Detail and there respective prices. We are based in Delhi, Roopesh. April 4. Reply
R1: Dear Roopesh: Do get in touch with me directly through the Reply link at the end of the question, and I'll be glad to discuss with you a possible business relationship. I do look forward to hearing from you. Ciao, Maurizio, USA
A 1608: I am planning to start a stone shop. I would like to know the inspection procedure of stones. Marc. March 28. Reply
R3: I agree with Maurizio but I would say 5 - 7 years in the fab shop first, so your boss can eat all the mistakes made by everyone involved and not you. Alex, USA
R2: Dear Marc: This is the best piece of advice that you will ever get: 
Go to work for a reputable fabrication shop for ... oh, say, 3 years or so. At that point you will have achieved at least the 10% of the experience that you need to start a fabrication shop on your own, without the need of asking silly questions whose written answers, no matter how well articulated they may be (and Vinay's are very much so indeed), you will never be able to understand. By the way, why don't you open a medical clinic? I've heard it's more profitable!! Get real, will you! Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA.
R1: Inspection of Stone: 
Sorting: First the stone must be sorted by its natural variations:
Every stone can be sorted in three shades - light, medium, dark.
Stone either has crystals or waves. If the stone has crystals, then by grain size - small and large - also.
Then are defects - patches or lines or cracks. They can be accepted at lower prices or not accepted.
Notes: Quarries in one area have only one type of stone. That stone does not occur elsewhere in the world. All of the above are known and specifiable by the quarry owners. 
Blocks: Biggest cuboid is measured leaving out cracks. 5 cm / 2" allowance is given in each dimension for transport damage, cutting losses, etc. 
Slabs: Biggest rectangle is measured leaving out cracks. If a crack slab is to be accepted, then 3" is left out on either side of the crack and the two resulting rectangles are taken.
Tiles: These are cut-to-size and are thus already pre-measured.
Monuments: Exact size within specified tolerances.
Other measurements:
Gloss level: by a gloss meter
Right angles: +/- 1 degree
Thickness: +/- 0.1 mm for tiles, 0.1 cm for slabs
Other inspection parameters:
Polish: No scratches or polishing abrasive marks.
Edges: No chipping.
Everyone in the industry knows and understands these points. They can all sort and give. Since they don't know how to sell the rejects, hence they resort to cheating and hence the need for inspection.
For those in the trade, stone is a commodity. There is no touch and feel aspect. That is only for the end-consumer. Vinay, India
A 1605: Can someone explain the definition of gangsaw, block cutter, monument sizes, etc. in respect to natural stones available? Ajit, India, March 28. Reply 
R1: Stone sizes: Blocks / Slabs: gangsaw size: 8'+ x 4'+ 
block cutter size: 6'+ x 2'+
Slabs are 2cm thick, edges are not cut.
Tiles: 1'x1'x3/8", 1.5'x1.5'x0.5", 2'x2'x3/4"
or 30.5 x 30.5 x 1 cm, etc.
In India, there is another size of 2'x1'x1cm for the local market. Strips are tiles with free lengths i.e. 1' x free length. 
Monuments (tombstones): Specific sizes and shapes for each country. 
Cobbles have standard sizes e.g. 6"x6"x6", etc. Jayant, India. 
A 1600: First I want to say that your site is very impressive. 
I have been shopping for stone in Asia, not as a main business, but to help an associate, and realize that it has re-awakened an interest I had as a young "rockhound." Now I am
becoming more involved in continuing this work, but realize I have none of the knowledge needed to contribute what I would like. My only asset at the moment is that I can be trusted, as opposed to many of the people in business overseas.
In buying slabs of granite, are there certain things you would look for in a supplier? Should I only use suppliers with their own quarries, or would I be better off with one who can choose from several quarries? 
When I visit the factory, what kinds of things can I keep an eye on? I might get 5 different prices for the same stone. Are there deficiencies (outside of appearance flaws) that might make one less valuable? 
I realize these are broad questions, but I would like to get the most out of my visits to quarries and factories, and not just be lead around by the nose by an eager seller. Best Regards, Yank. March 27. Reply
A 1569: I want to go into the Marble and other stone floor cleaning business. How can I learn this skill, and where do I go to learn it? I've read often that marble and other stone floor cleaning is very profitable. Thank you, Jesse. March 21. Reply
R1: Dear Jesse: Yes, the trade is very profitable indeed. Being a surgeon is very profitable, too! Why don't you become a surgeon? Marble "cleaning" (as you call it) it's easier all right, but not THAT easy, believe you me. Nobody pays top dollars for an easy trade!! 
Stone restoration / refinishing is the very pinnacle of all activities related to stone. You can't be just so-so. Either you're good, or you're not. To be good, you have to get to the point -- among other things -- to be able to recognize all the different marbles available, and know what to do with each one of them, because stone refinishing is way far from being a standard procedure. 
It makes sense. You don't need to know stone, finished in some mysterious way, in some far off factory, if you just buy and sell it. factory if you just install it. You don't need to know stone finished in some .. etc. if you only cut it into shape and learn how to polish its edges (a standard procedure, totally different from surface polishing). But when it comes to TREAT stone, which is what stone restoration / refinishing is all about, then either you know stone or you get out of the way. As simple as that. That said, if I didn't scare you off, I do do training. Contact me through the reply button and we'll talk about it. Ciao, Maurizio, USA
A 1421: I want more information about trade-magazines, journals and publications that serve the stone fabrication (countertop) industry. I want access to information on the "How-to" and the necessary tool etc... involved. Brett. Feb 8. Reply 
1405: Where can I find volcanic rock cut into tiles? I saw this used in Mexico city and it is very beautiful. Rebeeca. Feb 6. Reply
R2: Dear Rebeeca, Because of their mode of formation chemically intermediate or siliceous volcanic rocks are not well represented on the world market. Mostly they come with features that can be regarded as problems for stone processors (small blocks, fractures, veining) and undesirable aesthetic features for architects and builders (colour variations, textural heterogeneities). Australia has a superb volcanic rock (rhyodacite) that is dominantly grey in colour, is very hard and resistant to everyday things, and has a myriad of structures, inclusions, etc. that make most geologists eyes drool when they come into my office. It is called Steel Grey and is available in tiles and slabs. Hans, Australia. Reply
R1: Rebeeca.. what you are looking for is probably what is call "Cantera Stone" It is a volcanic from Mexico, and comes in all sorts of colors. See if a local tile store or findstone can find it for you. Good luck, JVC, USA. Reply
A 1406: My father and I are skilled stone masons and would like to satisfy some our local customers wants by installing granite counter tops. We have the granite fabricated at a local stone shop and do the installations ourselves. I think we have installed 4 so far and would like to do more but are hesitant following our last attempt. We had our sink cut out scored to half the depth of the stone and the corners cut completely away with a diamond hole-saw. Once on site our plan was to attach angle to each long edge of the stone with C clamps and then move the stone to a flat surface and cut the remaining 5/8 inch with a diamond saw. Once the cut out was clear we would carry the stone inside, set one edge on the cabinets, carefully remove one of the angle iron pieces, and slowly slide the top into place, removing the final piece of angle iron last. But alas the stone broke in half when we first tried to attach the angle iron while still half palletized. We never even got to cut the rest of the way through the stone or transport it into the house. We salvaged the job by cutting out the center where the sink hole was and using 2 of our 3 backsplash pieces as replacement strips in the front and the back of the sink. Of course we had joints on either side of the sink but the clients were happy and our joints were tight. We only ended up eating the cost of the two new pieces of back splash, a small cost for such a huge mistake. Had we had less flexible, less friendly clients we would've eaten the whole thing and they would've waited another three 
weeks for production. We now stand on the brink of our fifth installation and are very hesitant about the correct installation methodology. My questions are about both fabrication and installation. We found through our mistake that the ease of handling four pieces of stone rather than one was an enticing idea. The thought of our counter having less of a chance of cracking seemed like a good selling point when thinking about the four piece method. On the same token I know many people wouldn't go for a counter unless it was jointless around the sink. That's the standard isn't it? Our way is safer but not near as nice a finished product. I would like to achieve the cut out with out joints or any more broken stones. 
Fabrication: Do you recommend that all cut outs leaving less than 3 inches to the front and back of the sink be rodded? How far the left and the right of the opening does the bar extend into the slab? What is the diameter of the rod and is it standard rebar? Is it epoxy into a groove so that its flush with bottom of the counter? Do you make your sink cut outs on a rodded stone on site in place, on site and then move it into place or does a rodded cut out have enough strength to be transported and then installed? Do the pre-drilled corners and half thickness cuts seem like a good method to apply during fabrication to lessen the cutting on site? Visually we cannot have a 3/4" sheet of plywood underneath our top as it would highly visible under our 25 1/2" deep counter. We have used 1 1/4" stone on all our counters and thought the plywood would be excessive. Our main problem lies in unrapping the stone and moving it. 
Is our angle iron reinforcement sufficient once a hole has been cut or are there other methods employed for transporting the stone from the cutting area to the cabinets? My only hesitation about doing all the cutting in place is the mess. Wet seems impossible and dry seem way too dusty for finished cabinets and appliances. Where is most cutting of sink holes done; in the shop or on site? Do most installers use a special dolly/rolling apparatus to move the stone from place to place and from vertical to horizontal cabinet top height? I can't think of any more questions that aren't repetitive. I'd really appreciated any help, technical information is great. I'd be more than willing to reciprocate the favor with masonry heater information. Thanks again, Scott, USA, Feb 6. Reply
A 1401: I'm a new dealer of stone with no any experiences in this field, would you please let me know how to tranship a rough block abroad (export business)? I don't think that the shipment would be by container, maybe by conventional vessel or by others. What does it mean of (+) 240 (+130) and (-) 240 (-) 130? I would appreciate your help. B.rgds Dai. Feb 6. Reply
R1: Shipment is by container or as break bulk cargo. 240 x 130 is length x width in cm. (+) means more than. (-) means less than. Vinay, FindStone.com, Reply
A 1400: The most frustrating part are the fixers. In my 12 years of experience in this field, I find that fixers simply do not want to learn the concept of timing. How important time is. As this industry has no branded material it is difficult to convince the customers regarding the quality of the material. With Best regards, Nagesh, India. Feb 5. Reply
R1: Dear Nagesh: And what exactly would you like me -- or anybody else for that matter -- to do about it? Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Reply 
A 1392: We are really having quite a debate in our shop on how to properly and profitably price out a subcontractor's installation plus template fees. Any particular rule of thumb to follow? We bid the complete job, schedule and collect all funds plus provide the guarantee work. Our main work comprises of kitchens. Jan 31. Reply 
R1: Depending on the geographical area, you should be considering anywhere between $ 10 and $ 15 per square foot. Ciao, Maurizio, USA. Reply 
A 1389: Installed $150k worth of "natural" limestone in a bank foyer. The architect says it does not look like what he expected when he specified "natural." The owner refuses to pay for it--he says it looks "dirty." We are trying to resolve this short litigation. We are looking for downloadable technical data which can be used in a presentation to show the owner that they got what was ordered. Also that the quality of the vapor barrier in the substrate has a direct effect on the staining effect which can show up on natural stone use as a floor covering. Jan 30. Reply
R2: Dear in LA: This is a typical example of the reasons why I've learned to decline any installation job that involves limestone. You never know which limestone you're dealing with, to begin with, and you never know (until it happens) if something is going to go wrong. And, to top it all, when it happens, you will never know exactly what went wrong, nor if there's any chance (usually, there isn't one) that it can be rectified. Conclusion, to me it's too risky a proposition, and the contractor is usually the one who gets the rap (translation: who gets screwed!). The contractor is always the weakest factor in the equation. The architect is untouchable (he or she knows everything all the time!), and the owner holds the money bag! 
I don't believe that there's any technical solution to your situation. I sure wouldn't want to be in your shoes! The only advice I can give you is to try to find out if your liability insurance will pick up the tab for ripping out the whole darn thing and pay for the tiles. I could help you with that, by arguing -- as an expert -- that the unpredictable nature of many a limestone excludes any provable negligence for your part. That is, I'm afraid, all you can hope for. Do contact me directly (through findstone.com) if you feel I could help. I'm really sympathetic with your situation. Sorry. Ciao, Maurizio, USA, Reply
R1: Hello, As a former contractor in the area as well as Vegas & Phoenix I got to tell you that you have an uphill battle here. The Architect & Owner will tell you that you are the flooring expert. So when you lay stone over a substrate and you don't use an isolation or waterproof membrane you are basically s.o.l. The care and maintenance guidelines will be from the company that will provide your sealers and cleaners.
I'm not trying to drill you but I have been doing this for several years and want you to have eyes wide open. Sorry, Steven, USA, Reply
A 1382: We have been in the vinyl installation for the past 10 years and like to add on this new business into to our service line. We like to learn more on this business, in areas of skill development and product knowledge. We see a potential business opportunity in the stone restoration in our country Malaysia. Any information and advise rendered will be very much appreciated. Jan 28. Reply
R1: I do offer training on stone refinishing on location. I can supply plenty references.
Contact me if you're interested. Ciao, Maurizio, USA,
A 1375: I have a question for the experts. This summer in June I got a job working in a showroom selling various natural stone products. I would like to get some concrete information concerning the different types of stone. I have been told many different things, but I would like to go out and research the facts myself, I have found many of the things I have been told concerning the different stones is false. I was wondering where I could go to get information on the different colors of granite. I was told that all granite was the same, but through reading your advice to peoples questions I have
found that they are not and that some of the pieces that I believed to be granite are not in actuality granite. Thank you in advance for any answers you can give me. Corie. Jan 28. Reply
R2: Corie.. How nice that someone in the retail end of the business actually wants to learn something about the stone. You are absolutely right about there being all sorts of misleading and blatantly false information out there. All granites are not the same as the chemistry of the magma pool from which they were formed is not the same, and many stones marketed as granite are not even in the same geologic ball park. The same is true for marble, and maybe even to a larger extent. And most importantly, granite is
not marble, and marble is not granite, although many people do not know the difference, and think that any stone with a high polish is Granite, (or marble). Here in my area, a major granite quarry is located in a town called Marble Falls. Does that ever lead to a lot of confusion! It is important to realize that marble is a carbonate based stone and highly reactive to any thing acidic, and it is relatively soft since the hardness of the main mineral (Calcite) is only a 4 on the hardness scale. Granites are silicates, less reactive to acids, and much harder. A knife blade will always scratch a marble, but not a true granite. Maurizio's lemon juice test (described elsewhere on this site) will tell you a lot about the nature of a stone, and its appropriateness for certain applications. You could take a basic geology class at a local community college, or at least see what books are available through your library. This would give you some of the fundamentals, however it would take a major course of study in things like petrology and geochemistry to really understand the stone from a geologic view point. Find a mentor, an old timer who has been in the fabrication end of things for a long time, and learn from his experience, and most of all, listen and learn from your own experience as to what the end user has to say about maintenance, durability, staining, scratching etc. etc. etc.
Good luck, JVC, USA. Reply
R1: Dear Corie: I really wish that everybody were like you! You don't accept the "truth" as it is delivered to you in a pre-packaged, condensed version. You perceive that there's much more to it that meets the eye -- and not certainly glamorous -- and you want to know the facts. So far, nobody had either the knowledge, or the motivation, or the guts to publish what you're seeking, but if you get in touch directly with me I will be happy to help you at my best (no charge, relax!). Ciao and good luck, Maurizio, USA. Reply
A 1316: I am an Earth Science teacher working with a Consumer Science teacher to develop an instructional unit about using rocks and minerals in interior and exterior home design. We would greatly appreciate it if you could send any information about products featured on your website so we can get our students excited about stone! Thanks for your assistance in this area. Dr. Lee, USA. Jan 10. Reply
R1: Dear Dr. Lee, It is a great combination. I am crazy about stones. We deal in chemicals used for stone fixing and preservation. If you desire any information or presentation etc. on stone, please feel free to get in touch. Arun, India, Reply
A 1314: I got into the granite business two yrs. ago and it has been a disaster because no one I have met has a sliver of a clue or a professional approach. I purchased a small business and received no credible info. I am determined to become a "pro" but it is very difficult to get genuine knowledge. Please point me in the right direction for texts, courses, people and other sources for learning the stone bus. properly. I realize it takes time but I am not intimidated. I currently have a two man fabrication setup but I feel so inadequate when trying to answer questions and make accurate suggestions. Everybody has a 5 cent opinion on every matter but nowhere have I found credible, in depth, resourced information. Please help me! McKendry. Jan 9. McKendry. Reply
R2: Dear McKendry, I read your submission with interest and feel for you but do not despair.  As you said, you are not alone.  The situation you describe is the situation world-wide.  As a stone fabricator you are not expected to know much about stone.  You are expected to purchase a nice-looking slab of stone for a client from a wholesaler. It doesn't matter what it is technically.  All you need to know is how to use a tape-measure, how to make up templates for more complicated jobs, how to cut the stone to the right size, and how to use the right tools for finishing the edges.  In this context the stone is no different to a sheet of wood, plastic, aluminium, or petrified dung.  It is how well you do the job and the installation that determines your immediate professionalism.  With time you pick up little bits of information that help you to make better commercial judgments in your business.  For example, you learn about the stones that break during fabrication (and cost you both money and grief), stones that chip, stones that have been resined, stones that are difficult to polish, etc.  Your wholesaler isn't going to tell you about the problems (because he also is unlikely to know anything about stone) and your competitors sure-as-hell aren't going to tell you.  One way of fast-tracking this sort of information is to employ a wily old bastard who has been in the trade for a long time.  But then he has also picked up a fair bit of misinformation in his time and you will have trouble discerning what is right and what is crap.  The point that I am making is that this sort of information is acquired - it cannot be learnt from a textbook or from a course.  Of course, a course in stonemasonry will give you a bit of additional advice that will add to your overall knowledge about stone and maybe a bit more professionalism.  The in-depth stone information is gained via a tortuous path - firstly through a science degree majoring in geology, then honours, then a Ph.D, covering a wide range of subjects which includes a wide range of rock types (this makes you understand the conditions of formation, how they get there, why they are what they are, and what makes them tick).  But this is still insufficient because it might not have any practical relevance to your business.  A good understanding of engineering geology helps with the geotechnical aspects of stone (strength, abrasiveness, absorption, dimensional stability, etc), but it is only when that academic geoscientist has consulted on numerous practical jobs (and nearly all projects are different), has worked in a multifaceted stone processing plant, has worked extensively in his own and many other stone quarries, that provides him with the experience and knowledge to make in-depth judgements and enables him to provide reliable advice on many stone matters. Even then there are problems that arise in certain situations where some homework has to be done.   How many of these people have you come across in this stone game?  These people are precious and can save potential quariers, architects, construction managers, designers, etc. considerable amounts of money by providing informed advice. It remains a mystery as to why such a wealth of information is not regularly tapped before a project commences rather than when it has hit problems.  So, should you ever require well-informed advice about a stone in your business go to an experienced stone geoscientist, never a geologist!  (Dr.) Hans, Australia. Reply
R1: Dear McKendry: I wish everybody in the stone industry were like you! The fact itself that you recognize your lack of professionalism makes you a true professional! I'm sure you understand that your problem can't be solved with an answer posted on this board, no matter how comprehensive, but I'd love to help you a lot. Do get in touch directly with me, then we'll take it from there. Ciao, Maurizio, USA. Reply
Maurizio, Thanks for responding. I am desperate for some direction with regards to stone knowledge (i.e., Proper Care, Proper Installation, Selection and Recommendations for clients and their applications, etc.). There are so many "care of stone" recommendations and so many conflicting lessons that my head spins. I want to recommend stone, identify quality from inferiority, and leave my clients with a feeling that they have definitive, proven methods for caring for their investment and a sense they made an informed choice and dealt with a caring professional. Post sale I want to feel I gave service, knowedge and no fear of complaints later. In fact, I want everyone to recommend me to their friends. Additionally I would like to expand beyond just kitchens but I am short of knowledge. If you can recommend refernce texts, etc. I would like to invest in them. Any other info would be most appreciated. Thank you! McKendry. Jan 19. Reply
Dear McKendry: I like you already! Our beloved stone industry should be all made of guys like yourself! You do remind myself at the beginning of my career (A few months ago ... you know!!). I WANTED to know what I was going to get involved with! I've got to realize that stone was a very complicated subject (it's a whole science, for crying out loud!), but instead of trying to simplify it with "blanket rules" that wouldn't work (which seems to be the politically correct thing to do, nowadays), I accepted the facts, and went to the only possible way: getting specifically educated. The secret is to not overdo. In other words, as you go through your studies, you have to be able to understand which one information will help your professional activity, and which one is only academic (you don't really need that). Please, do contact me directly. I'll be glad to take you under my wing (if you care to) and do anything possible to help you out at my best. Ciao, Maurizio, USA. Reply

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