Quarrying of Natural Stone
Society has utilized natural stone as a building material since the dawn of human history. Once chiefly used to erect temples, tombs, and monuments, natural stone has established itself as the premier choice for homeowners and property managers alike who look to imbue an aura of natural beauty into their interior and exterior spaces.
We tout that no two natural slabs — and by extension, their final products that adorn kitchens and bathrooms — are identical. By being knowledgeable of the mining practices of marble, granite, and other natural stone countertops, a greater appreciation and understanding of these truly unique components that fill your space can lead to a more refined degree of worldly wonder.
The use of explosives in the quarrying of marble is limited because of the danger of shattering the rock. Instead, channeling machines that utilize chisel-edged steel bars make cuts about 5 cm (2 inches) wide and a few metres deep. Wherever possible, advantage is taken of natural joints already present in the rock, and cuts are made in the direction of easiest splitting, which is a consequence of the parallel elongation of platy or fibrous minerals. The marble blocks outlined by joints and cuts are separated by driving wedges into drill holes. Mill sawing into slabs is done with sets of parallel iron blades that move back and forth and are fed by sand and water.
The marble may be machined with lathes and carborundum wheels and is then polished with increasingly finer grades of abrasive. Even with the most careful quarrying and manufacturing methods, at least half of the total output of marble is waste. Some of this material is made into chips for terrazzo flooring and stucco wall finish. In various localities it is put to most of the major uses for which high-calcium limestone is suitable.
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