How to choose
What is it? – Headstone or large outdoor piece, or a small plaque.
Where is it ? – Inside, any material can be considered. Outside, lasting and weathering properties are paramount.
What is the desired effect? – Modest quiet marker or sign to attract attention (e.g. house name).
The look and feel – This can only be decided by looking and feeling, There is a sample library in the workshop.
Look and feel
The most straightforward considerations have the greatest impact on the type of stone used – what colour is the piece to be, light or dark? Is the lettering fine and detailed? Dense stones like slate and limestone are perfect for small letters.
Some stones will weather and age quite rapidly whereas others like slate which are virtually impervious will last for many, many years with little sign of ageing.
There are usually lots of things around to consider. What is naturally available? Welsh slate in Wales, Green slate in the Lake District. Or if in a city like Cambridge where no stone is quarried what stone has been used? What is allowed? Check regulations (we can do this for you).
Frequently used stones
Because stone is a natural material extracted from a bed the quality can vary – some stones are not so good at times.
Slate is most used and is the best for lettering, but it is not always appropriate. There are many types of stone. We frequently use the following:
- Slate – Welsh or Scottish slate, Green slate from Cumbria, Delabole from Cornwall.
- Limestones – from the UK, such as Portland, Purbeck, Ancaster Hard White, Blue Hornton, Ancaster, Hopton Wood Stone.
- Limestones – from abroad, French limestones such as Lepine, Mesanges and Comblanchien. Nabrasina from Croatia (which is like Hopton Wood only finer and harder). Kilkenny limestone from Ireland.
- Sandstones – Forest of Dean (green or blue),York (brown or blue), St Bees (red sandstone).
- Marble – Carrara (which is white with veining).
ANCASTER Weatherbed (Lincolnshire)
HORNTON Blue (Oxon)
HOPTON WOOD (Derbyshire)
YORK Bolton Woods (West Yorkshire)
FOREST OF DEAN (Glouscestershire)
RED ST BEES (Cumbria)
PURBECK Cap (Dorset)
KILKENNY Limestone (Ireland)
HORNTON Brown (Oxon)
PORTLAND Whitbed (Dorset)
Anything can be lettered, glass can be engraved or sandblasted, hard and softwoods can be carved and shaped, metals can be engraved, etched or routed. Letters can be cast or cut directly in concrete or plaster. Paper, which is the starting point for so many pieces of work, is of course a versatile material in its own right for letterheads, ex-libris or a simple quotation drawn by pen.