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Price of granite slabs for building bells  RSS feed

 
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Good morning all!



I just dug up a small data point.



I'm planning on a single-bell batch-box masonry heater this summer, and the current front-runner design is a tall fieldstone rectangle.



But I got to thinking, "You know what would be a way to trade some money for time and achieve an almost-guaranteed beautiful level of fit and finish? A tall box built of four stone slabs and a small one on top. Who sells stone slabs? Monument companies."



So I called my local monument company. I talked to a real helpful guy about what I was after, and here's what I learned:



1. Monument companies generally buy slabs from quarries and engrave them in-house. They're not sawing or grinding anything after it arrives; they order the faces and edges the way they want them.



2. A 60" x 36" x 4" slab costs around $800. Freight from Georgia to Michigan is around $700. So my box would carry a price tag of about $3900 plus some miscs.


3. That slab would weigh a little over 1,000 lbs, so four of them plus a cap would get you over two tons handily. (Would also require equipment to erect.)


4. He knew about limestone and granite, but had never dealt with soapstone.





So. That's an itty-bitty piece of knowledge, but it was useful for me, so maybe it will be useful for you too.
 
gardener
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Now i'm picturing you, going at night in a graveyard, with a pickup, some ramps and a hand whinch, doing your dirty deeds of nicking cold tombstones to warm up your life
 
Mike Cantrell
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It did occur to me to go out back of the store and see if they had a pile of rejects or mistakes. But I don't know if I'd want somebody's name and dates showing in my living room.
 
Satamax Antone
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Mike Cantrell wrote:It did occur to me to go out back of the store and see if they had a pile of rejects or mistakes. But I don't know if I'd want somebody's name and dates showing in my living room.



Mike, you made me think. In france, often after thirty years or sixty, they do "lifting of the bones" which means getting the bones out of a grave, to get some room for the new deads. Sometimes, if the familly has moved, or doesn't wich to keep the concession for the land, it is allotted to somebody else. I wonder what they do with the old stones.
 
pollinator
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Sounds a good plan as the stones are often only written on one side
Although may they be too thick ?
I know places in the UK where old stones are used as paving

David
 
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I had a bank demolition a few years ago. The green granite facing stones were 2 ft by 3 ft. and weighed about 100 lb. I sold them for $10 each and dropped to $5 as time ran out.

I had 2 houses side by side with roughly squared granite foundations. I sold the lot for $300.

Use brick and cob and face with something cheap that you can lift.
 
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You might want to be careful using Granite. Anytime I have seen fire hit Granite, the Granite cracks.
 
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A Habitat for Humanity, ReStore, is a good source for granite of all sizes. The one I go to usually has a good selection and occasionally big pieces.
 
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Hi Mike C.,

Sorry I am late to the conversation. I would strongly suggest that one must be very careful with large stone slabs unless very familiar with the art of splitting, shaping and carving stone. Most species do not deal well with "differential heat extremes" over a given time...especially if not well backed, and even then there are often issues. Only a very few stone species...most notably in the steatite (aka soapstone)...work well.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

j
 
Mike Cantrell
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote: I would strongly suggest that one must be very careful with large stone slabs unless very familiar with the art of splitting, shaping and carving stone. Most species do not deal well with "differential heat extremes" over a given time...especially if not well backed, and even then there are often issues. Only a very few stone species...most notably in the steatite (aka soapstone)...work well.



Thanks, Jay! The problem of cracking the slabs certainly occurred to me. I'd have gotten around to asking about it specifically, if I hadn't ruled this out on account of the cost.

So would you trust a soapstone slab of the same dimensions (60"x36"x4") to resist cracking if used as the bell of a masonry stove? How about if it were 8" thick?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Mike C.,

Soapstone wood stoves and some masonry heaters of the same material are often as thin as 30 mm for certain areas. I would trust 50 mm if I selected the stone in the quarry myself, yet would prefer 100 mm as my minimum just because of mass and performance balance in the system. I may incorporate a few areas in the 50 mm range for faster heat up and perhaps cooking. Thetford Quebec has one of the largest and still operating steatite quarries here in North America, with the rest coming (unfortunately) from China and Brazil. A square, octagonal, or other shaped bell would work fine in my view. It is a matter of skill set in shaping and method of jointing the slades that will give the most challenge. If (or when) I would do another RM masonry heater, it will be built of soapstone with similar design parameters to what you are suggesting. I would have to see an actual CAD or elevation cross sectional schematic of your design to go into more detailed evaluation. Note, most other stone species (not all) could not take the constant thermal differential without spalding and failures.

Regards,

j
 
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