Memorials.com offers granite and bronze headstones, and each material has a unique manufacturing process. Below is information on just how the headstones you order are made.
To make granite headstones, factory workers first cut down to size the large blocks of stone that come from granite quarries. They then polish the granite headstones, so that it will be suitable for engraving. Once polished, the workers apply an adhesive backed rubber stencil to the granite headstones. Carvers then use this stencil as a guide to engrave words and other designs into the granite headstones. Whereas the stencils were once drawn and cut, mostly, by hand, companies today use sophisticated machines to make sure the stencils translate into an accurate engraving.
Once the stencil has been applied, the engraving (also known as carving) is done in a special sandblasting room. In this room, workers use a high-pressure air hose to trace the stencil into the granite headstones. Once a stencil is carved a headstone, the engravers fill in the crevasses with black in so that the lettering stands out on the granite headstones. The uncut portion of the stencil is then removed, and the granite headstones, is ready to be shipped.
The first step in making bronze headstones is to turn the bronze (which is actually a mixture of copper, tin, lead and zinc) into a liquid that can be poured into molds. Blocks of bronze are placed into a large pot and headed to about 2000 degrees, the temperature at which the bronze starts to melt. Once melted, the bronze goes into the molds for the headstones and is allowed to cool. Next, comes the "chasing" phase, in which workers grind the headstone, removing any imperfections that may appear while the bronze headstones are in the mold. Once the bronze headstones have been chased, workers apply several coats of a dark brown paint called oxidation. Then they rub a solvent around the lettering areas of the headstone. This removes some of the paint and creates a contrast between the letters and the dark brown background. Once the details are complete, a lacquer coating is applied, the bronze is mounted to 4-inch think pieces of granite, and the bronze headstones are ready for shipping.
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