Last edited 01 Feb 2018

Stone dressing

Stone dressing is the working of quarried stone into the shape and size required for use. This can be necessary as stones obtained from quarrying generally do not have the exact required dimensions or finish.

Stone dressing requires considerable technical skill, as well as a good understanding of materials, design drawings and specifications.

Stones may be dressed at the quarry site itself, as this reduces the weight that needs to be transported and so reduces costs.

Stone dressing can be carried out using a variety of tools depending upon the finish required. Rough finishes may be achieved using quarry hammers and chisels, whereas rubbed or polished finishes may be achieved by rubbing or grinding a cut stone surface, either by hand (using sand and water, pumice stone, and so on), or by machine.

There are several types of finish that can be achieved by stone dressing:

  • Axed: Hard stones such as granite are dressed using a stone axe.
  • Boasted: A boaster is used to create parallel horizontal, vertical or inclined lines.
  • Combed: A steel comb with sharp teeth is dragged in all directions across the surface of soft stones.
  • Circular: Predominantly used for columns, circular finished stones are made into a rounded shape.
  • Chisel-drafted margins: A chisel is used on stones forming uniform joints to create pitched, square or chamfered margins.
  • Furrowed: The middle portion of the stone projects from the sides by around 15 mm, and deep grooves made across it.
  • Moulded: Stones are moulded into decorative strips of various shapes.
  • Polished: Usually for marbles, granites and so on.
  • Punched: A machine depresses the stone surface creating hollows and ridges.
  • Reticulated: A margin is left around the surface, and irregular shapes formed in the finish.
  • Rusticated: A rough or patterned surface is cut into the visible face of masonry blocks.
  • Scrabbling: Irregular projections are removed using a scrabbling hammer leaving a rough finish.
  • Sunk: The original surface is depressed into wide grooves, marks, and so on.
  • Vermiculated: Similar to reticulated but the shapes are curved, giving a ‘worm-eaten’ aesthetic.

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