Stone Fireplace Development Process
A stone fireplace can add a look of grandeur and stateliness to any home. But that look doesn't come without a price. Stone fireplaces are custom made for the home into which they will be installed. Each step of the process is overseen by a master craftsman. The end result is a unique work of art in your home. There's no risk that a visitor will point to your fireplace and say, "I know someone who has that same model." Rather, between oohs and aahs, they'll say, "That's amazing. I've never seen anything quite like it.
Here's a typical set of steps that a stone fireplace will go through to get from conception to installation and use.
The first step is for the craftsman to take careful measurements of the room that the fireplace will go in. You want a fireplace that doesn't seem to large for its surroundings and isn't dwarfed by them either. You also want a fireplace that will go with the overall decor. If there are other architectural features that are worth highlighting, you want the stone fireplace to complement them and draw them out rather than to clash. So the craftsman will take a lot of photographs at this stage as well. This will help him or her design the perfect fireplace for the room.
Once the measurements and photos are taken, the craftsman can start drawing pictures of what the fireplace might look like in its surroundings. Many homeowners like to be involved in this stage and to look at preliminary drawings to make choices about different aspects of the fireplace. Other drawings will indicate what the carvings and designs will look like in more detail. Once the small scale drawings are complete, you'll have a good idea of what the space will look like.
This may be an optional step, but it can help everything to turn out just so. The craftsman can produce actual size drawings of each piece of the fireplace. You'll be able to examine moldings and cornices and every square inch. This also gives you a chance to examine what the carvings and designs will look like in their proper places.
Once the craftsman knows how the whole structure will look, he or she can decide how many stones will compose it and what size the stones are. A stone mill will typically purchase a 20 ton block of stone and carve it into rectangular faced blocks of dimensions specified by the craftsman. A stone fireplace can consist of as few as 12 to more than 20 of these stone pieces.
Carving the stone is done with hammers and chisels. The basic shape of each piece is carved out and tested for fit with the other pieces. Then the lions and the leaves and the Greek gods or whatever else are carved in relief along the faces of the stone.
Once every piece is perfect, they are transported to the home and set in place. It's simple to write, but this process can take several days. The old fireplace must be removed. The space for the new one must be carved out. And each piece must be carefully placed and tested to make sure it's level and stable.