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How is a Headstone Made
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Ideas for Selecting the Right Headstone
How a Headstone Helps Grief
Designing a Headstone
How is a Headstone Made
Headstone Methods Vary Across The Ages of Time
Depending on when the headstone was made, the answer to the question of when it was made could be very different. For example, the “headstone” of choice for early man was a pile of rocks, sometimes burying the person with flowers wrapped around them. Although it is clear that these early humans felt loss when their loved one’s perished, these headstones may have had more to do with protecting the deceased human from hungry wolves, or other animals than to serve as places to come and honor their memories.
The answer to the question how is a headstone made in America will also vary depending on the period, although to a substantially lesser degree.
Early American headstones were typically made of slate. This lasted from the 1650s through the beginning of the 19th century. In the middle of the 19th century, the move was made towards marble. This would last about another hundred years, until the 1940s, when granite would supplant marble as the rock of choice. How is a headstone made today will first depend on how well the rock (which today is typically granite) is cut? With great precision, a pneumatic drill digs holes 1 inch apart and 20 ft deep to cut into the quarry. 4 long bits are then added with steel teeth, to cut to the core of the rock.
Next, carefully, the block is removed from the quarry bed, and the giant block is divided up into 3 foot blocks. They are then taken to the manufacturing house, and divided up into smaller blocks. The answer to the question, how is a headstone made will largely depend on this point in its creation, as headstones can look quite different depending on their size?
How is a headstone made will also depend heavily on the next portion of the procedure, which is when they are polished, and cut into their proper shape? This is perhaps the key moment when a headstone becomes a headstone. After being fashioned, the stone is then polished a second time, as the edges are grounded and the headstones are moved on a conveyor belt to a diamond saw. The outer edges of each stone are then trimmed and cut. This is intended to give the rocks a more personalized shape.
As the headstone nears completion, it is time for engraving. First, liquid glue is applied to the headstones, as a rubber stencil is applied over the glue. A carbon layout is then created of what the epitaph will look like, which is then placed over the headstone, as the worker begins to etch the words. He must be completely covered for this, or else pieces of rock might fly at him, and possibly get into his eyes. This is arguably the most recognizable part of how a headstone is made, and it is the one with which the buyer has the most participation.
What the epitaph will say is completely up to the buyer. Many will choose to honor their loved ones with scripture verses. These are often chosen to remind the living not to worry, that the departed now rests in peace with his or her Creator. They also remind the living to make each day count, to do what is right, and to trust in God. Many others (perhaps out of a belief that their loved one has said all that was needed to be said in life) will simply opt for a headstone made with the person’s name, date of birth, and date of death. The additional text added to a memorial can be anything that will honor the memory of a loved one, and bring comfort to their surviving friends and family. For those who are not sure, there are countless sites that offer headstone engraving tips, to give an idea of what could be added to a loved one's final memorial.
After this, a final sandblast then takes place to clear out any residue, in order that the headstone might appear neat and polished. Now the headstone is completely made. The question, how is a headstone made, might be answered in a completely different way in the future, as new developments continue to emerge in laser technology.
These developments will surely speed up the process, but they might not be completely free from controversy. Traditionalists may argue that such methods eliminate “the human element”, which has played such a key role in how a headstone is made since the beginning of time. Still, if this technological movement is like others that have been witnessed in the 19th, 20th, and early 21st century, the traditionalists may buy themselves only a short amount of time.