Screens & Feeders

D is for dimension stone

About eight years ago I wrote a two-year series of articles with the overall theme “From A to Z”. I used the alphabet to describe terms related to aggregates and industrial minerals. The first article, perhaps none too surprisingly, was “A is for Aggregate”.

The fourth article was “D is for Diamonds”. The article was actually about the dimension stone industry and how it had been affected by industrial diamonds.

I felt bad about slighting dimension stone in the title of the article, so today I revisit the subject and give dimension stone first billing.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-Q:"Dimension stone can be grouped into three overlapping classes."}}Dimension stone can be grouped into three overlapping classes based on whether the stone is naturally occurring and used without further treatment or is cut, trimmed, sawed or polished.

Naturally occurring dimension stone includes blocks or slabs that have weathered out of local bedrock, as well as large cobbles or boulders. These are referred to as fieldstone, which are gathered from the land’s surface and used to make stone walls, building fireplaces and so forth.

Paving blocks are small brick-shaped blocks of granite used to pave areas of heavy traffic and in reclaiming streets in historic areas.

Flagstones consist of thin slabs of stone used for paving. Flagstones may be used in irregular shapes or cut or split into rectangular shapes. Fine-grained sandstone and slate are the most common types of flagstone.

Ashlars are small stone blocks that are split into rectangular shapes with a power wedge called a guillotine. Ashlar may be of modular or random sizes, resulting in building facades, hearthstones or fireplaces with either regular or unequally spaced joints and a seemingly endless variety of designs. Ashlar is one of the most common types of cut and trimmed dimension stone.

Roofing slate is used in new construction and in the restoration of older buildings. Mill stock slate is smooth finished slabs of slate used for billiard tables, blackboards, countertops and other applications.

Sawed and polished blocks of stone include grave markers, mausoleums and elaborate structures such as the Washington Monument.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}Let’s not forget about carving stone – marble, granite, tuff, serpentinite, travertine and alabaster, all rocks commonly used by artisans to create statuary ranging in size from desktop pieces of art to grand monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial.

A relatively new product is a lightweight, very thin reinforced stone veneer panel laminated to a backing material. The new products have led to new applications for design, including the outfitting of luxury yachts, and brought attention to translucency, a previously unrecognised stone property.

Automated cutting and polishing machines, and the use of industrial diamond (as I pointed out years ago), have reduced the price to a point that stone can be used in many residential applications.

Slabs of stone can be cut into square or rectangular shapes that can be used for tile, counter tops and building facades that we see almost every day as we visit banks, department stores and other public buildings. I absolutely love looking at those stone slabs, and don’t even mind waiting for assistance at a store if I can gaze into polished rock countertops or study the vein patterns in the floor tiles while lingering.

I also find the names of polished rock fascinating – monikers such as Ametista, Cosmos, Marrakech, Rapakivi, Tempest and Zeus.

Ametista to Zeus … there you go, dimension stone from A to Z!

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend