Monday, 6 June 2011

Selecting Stone

On Saturday morning I had a meeting at Eskdale Quarry to choose a piece of stone for carving a village way-marker.  The idea is to have a large boulder, natural, rough hewn, just as it comes from the quarry with a compass carved into the top.  The sizes and design had been discussed at a site meeting earlier, so I took my measure to check dimensions.

This is a local quarry that I have not been to before, the stone is usually used for building, and for carving I could see it would be a challenge.  It is heavily bedded, and crumbly in parts with large areas of colouring, banding and marking.  This is very beautiful to look at as a boulder, but problematic when trying to carve fine detail.

Despite the acres of stone, I went from one boulder to the next, and next, rejecting as I went due to size, marking, soundness.  Eventually, late into the morning, I found a piece, marking it as the one, and organised  delivery to my workshop.  It will be interesting to see how it behaves.

This quarry was chosen because it was felt local stone should be used for the project and I think this is a lovely idea in theory - in practice, for the proposed design  it does mean compromises.  Consequently I am see-sawing from feeling a bit frustrated to excited by the challenge of working differently and adapting as I go along.

While looking round for my block, I came across a hole in the quarry face, and this was described by the quarry owner as a jet mine.  I crawled and squeezed into the opening (felt very daring) to have a look, but didn't find any nuggets.  Jet was mined all along the Whitby coastline and many mines sprang up to cope with demand at the height of its popularity.

So I await delivery with mixed feelings - hope the weather stays fine as it is too big to fit in the workshop, I will be sitting on top of it to carve!


  1. oh, I kinda know the feeling. selling a customer on something and then the challenge of making it happen successfully.

  2. As a tileman who has cut a few stones,I would recommend slicing the top off with a quarry jet.I'm not sure if they rent those there but the quarry owner should have one if he's not in the stone age.Heh Heh.It can be done in small increments to tell what is going to flake or split.Then use an electric sidegrinder with a MK 225 blade to take out the main portions and finish with handtools 4 day job max.

  3. how did you NOT find any jet in that mine !!!!!, i was in there 2 years back and came out with a monster nugget of over 5 going back to the mine tomorrow to again see the owner and his lads who came inside the mine for an explore.....


    1. Perhaps all that crawling underground has addled your brain! I expect you got a lump of gold while there too!


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