TOOLS and STONES

The granite comes from quarries in California, Colorado and SouthDakota, the sandstone from a California quarry, and the marble from quarries in Italy. Large, good quality sculptural grade stones are increasingly difficult to locate. I travel to the quarries and select each indivual stone. I buy as many as 20 tons at a time. This is a semi-trailer truck load. A cubic foot (12in. by 12in. by 12in.) weighs approximately 200 pounds.Thus, a stone the size of a washing machine weighs about 2 tons! I use a forklift and nylon lifting straps to move these blocks at my studio workshop.

I utilize many different tools to create the design in the stone. In addition to the traditional hammer and chisel, I use industrial diamond saws and diamond grinders. Granite is very hard! Saws and grinders have to be fabricated for the granite. Construction diamond tools used for concrete or masonary will not work on granite. Even the chisels must have a special tungston carbide hard tip for granite. Marble and sandstone each require separate and different diamond tools. The machines that drive industrial diamond saws and grinders come in a varity of sizes and shapes. I have a chain saw, a gas powered cut-off saw. and a wire saw (like a large band saw) with a 42 foot diamond wire blade. I use these for roughing out the design. I use smaller saws and grinders driven by a variety of electric tools for the finishing work. Diamond tools must be run with cooling water, and even with cooling water the blades wear out quickly. I may wear out three $400. saw blades in just the roughing out of a sculpture. However, this technology allows me to create complexities of design and large, even monumental, sculptures.

Leitch & Co.
Stone Boss Ind.

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