A+ Signature Design takes great pride in the work that we perform. We have a great staff and the best state of the art equipment to work with. A+ Signature Design keeps up with fabrication trends. We invite and encourage you to come into our facility and we would be happy to show you how we turn slabs of natural stone into beautiful works of art, like countertops, fireplace surrounds, outdoor fire pits and much, much more…

NSI_Lowes_logo_no_taglineA+ Signature Design is the largest certified installer for Lowes in the Tampa Bay Area.

Fabrication

The sequence of events which brings natural stone from the quarry to the home has not changed much since stone entered the homes of the ancient Greeks. Large blocks of stone are cut from the quarry. From those blocks, thin pieces of stone are cut called slabs. The slabs are then shaped and polished and shipped for installation.

What has  changed dramatically over the years is the type of machinery used in this age-old sequence. Three basic types of machines are involved in the fabrication process: saws, polishers, and routers.

Saws perform several functions during fabrication. A block saw, or gang saw, cuts the massive stone blocks into slabs. These days, diamond wire saws make short work of this task. A metal wire is studded with industrial-grade or synthetic diamonds, and this wire quickly cuts through stone as hard as granite. A bridge saw is then used to cut the stone slab into the proper shape for its application, whether it be a countertop or a sink. These saws typically use circular metal blades studded with diamonds, and water is sprayed onto the blade to cool it during the cutting process. Modern technology has produced a new type of saw utilizing water jets combined with an abrasive material, which cuts edges and holes quickly and smoothly, and many fabricators are upgrading to these machines.

Polishers grind down the naturally rough surface of the stone to whatever finish the consumer desires. Hard stones like marble and granite can be polished all the way to a mirror finish. The polisher consists of rotating pads which are surfaced with an abrasive substance. The finer and smaller the abrasive grits are, the higher the polish. Most modern polishers can produce a variety of finishes, from the smooth, soft look of a honed finish to a slick, shiny mirror finish…even decorative finishes like flamed, tumbled, or hammered.

Routers create edge profiles on a slab, and cut designs on larger pieces like fireplace mantles and hearths. There are dozens of standard edges for countertops and tables, from simple to highly decorative. Routers have a spinning blade covered with diamonds which is water-cooled. It travels along the edge of the slab to shape it.