How Are Headstones Made?

by | Sep 28, 2023

How Are Headstones Made?

The number of decisions that must be made when a loved one passes away can feel overwhelming – picking a headstone is one of them. Headstones give people a memorial where they can honor the memory of a loved one which makes the decision an important one. They are usually made of different materials like granite, marble, fieldstone, sandstone, iron, bronze, slate or even wood. Understanding how they are made can make choosing a material and style slightly easier.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Material

The first step in the process is selecting the material for the headstone. The most common materials include granite and marble. Granite is a popular choice because it’s tough and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Marble is also a good option because it’s easy to carve and has a smooth surface.

Step 2: Cutting and Shaping

Once the material is chosen, the headstone maker will cut and shape a block into the desired size and shape using a saw or a chisel. The headstone is then polished to a smooth finish.

Step 3: Adding Personal Touches

One of the most important parts of the entire process is personalization where one can pick designs to be etched on to the memorial stones that symbolize their memories of their loved one. Designs can include religious symbols, flowers, hearts, and plants, or something completely different:

  • Portraits: Portraits of loved ones on memorial stones last no matter the weather.
  • Nature: Trees or flowers add a sensation of peace and beauty.
  • Hobbies: Designs that reflect a loved one’s hobbies or interests, such as a musical instrument or a sports team logo bring fond memories to the surface.
  • Quotes: Inspirational quote or a favorite saying bring memories close.

Step 4: Sandblasting and Engraving

Once a design has been picked, they can be recreated on the headstone by using various techniques like sandblasting, engraving, etching, and laser etching.

  • Sandblasting: Sandblasting is a versatile technique that allows for intricate and detailed designs to be created on headstones. The process begins by placing a stencil on the surface which acts as a mask, protecting certain areas from being affected by the sandblasting process. Sand is then blasted onto the surface, and the areas that are not covered by the stencil are etched away, creating a design on the headstone. From simple patterns to elaborate artwork, sandblasting can bring any design to life on the surface of a headstone.
  • Engraving:  Engraving involves carving or cutting into the surface of the headstone using a chisel or an engraving machine. You can even get on-site engravings done on existing headstones to give them a fresh look. 
  • Etching and Laser Etching: Designs can be created on the surface of a headstone by using acid or other chemicals. A more modern technique is laser etching which uses lasers to create designs on the surface of the headstone.

Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages. When choosing a technique for creating designs on headstones, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, durability, and personal preference. For example, the duration of the sandblasting process can vary depending on factors such as the size of the headstone and the amount of detail that needs to be included on the headstone. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete the sandblasting process. Your memorial stone maker will go through the various processes in detail with you, so you can pick one that suits your design idea, timeline, and budget.

Step 5: Cleaning

Once the stone has been sandblasted, engraved, or etched it is cleaned using appropriate techniques.

Step 6: Placing the Headstone

The final step in the process is placing the headstone at the gravesite. This involves digging a hole in the ground and placing a concrete foundation in it. The headstone is then placed on top of the foundation and secured in place using adhesive.

At Raincoast Sandblasting, we understand how hard it is to lose a loved one and try to do everything we can to make the process of choosing the perfect headstone easier for you by offering finest quality sandblasting and engraving services in Greater Vancouver for tombstones and memorial monuments. We specialize in custom memorial engravings on new and existing cemetery markers so you can create a beautiful, lasting monument to honor your loved one’s legacy.

We are always ready to speak to you and help you pick the right materials, design, and process for your needs.

Get in touch to know more.