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Headstone Engraving

Headstone engraving is an essential part of the headstone design process.

Engrave
:
To carve or etch a design or lettering into a hard surface, such as metal or stone, for printing or decoration.

The two forms of engraving most used for headstone engraving are sandblasting and etching.


Sandblast
:
To mark a headstone by applying a jet of pressurized air or steam mixed with sand (or another fine material).

A sandblaster, using high air pressure and sand forced through a nozzle, carves the design and lettering out on the granite headstone. Sandblasting is very much like erosion only very fast.

Sandblasting Example

  1. Start with a granite headstone appropriately finished. Most of the time the headstone is polished.
  2. Attach the design stencil on the headstone.
  3. Cut the design into the headstone with an X-Acto knife or with a more precise computerized stencil cutting machine.
  4. Sandblast out the complete design to expose the underlying surface of the headstone.
  5. After sandblasting, black may be added to the design to give added contrast to the stone.
Etch:
Originally, to create a design on the surface of something by the action of an acid. Now, headstone etching is quite often done by a laser.

Etching is used mostly on polished black stones. The etching process doesn't penetrate as deeply into the stone as sandblasting. The lettering or design that is etched becomes white. This white lettering or design on a polished black stone has a really nice look.

Etching Example

  1. Proportion the original picture to fit the size of headstone that has been selected
  2. Sketch a copy of the photo on to the granite with a pencil and carbon paper.
  3. Carefully etch the image's outline on the granite.
  4. Continue to etch the image according to the outline until the whole image is complete.
  5. The completed etching is normally black and white

The type of headstone engraving you choose will determine how your headstone will look for a long time. It is best to get advice from a professional in this matter. If you live in the greater Philadelphia area or South Jersey feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


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