Recipes for Stone Cutters


Colors for staining marble

It is necessary to heat the marble hot, but not so hot as to injure it, the proper heat being that at which colors nearly boil.

             Blue - alkaline indigo dye or turnsole with alkali
             Red - dragonís blood in spirits of wine
             Yellow - gamboges in spirits of wine
             Gold - sal. Ammoniac, sulphate of zinc and verdigris,
                 equal parts
             Green - sap green in spirits of potash
             Brown - tineture of logwood
             Crimson - alkanet root in turpentine

To color letters black and gild them

Go over them with size, then lampblack mixed with copal varnish.  The best size is boiled linseed oil dried down until thick then applied very thin

To make India ink

The basis is lampblack, the best of which is obtained from pigs feet and other oils while an inferior sort is made of pine wood.  Glue made from the skin of the buffalo is soaked in water until it is much swollen and completely dissolved.  The lampblack is then introduced and worked in until it forms a soft paste.  When thoroughly mixed, a quantity of oil of peas is added and the temperature maintained for a time at from 100 to 140 degrees until the paste is homogeneous in character.  It is then removed and separated into little cakes of desired size.

Perpetual ink for tombstones

Pitch, eleven pounds; lampblack, one pound; turpentine sufficient; mix with heat

To make Ink

Dissolve one ounce of aniline powder, any color, in two quarts of rain water, then add a teacupful of honey, mix

To polish marble

Lightning polish is made by putting oxalic acid in an iron kettle without water, over a fire in the open air; let it boil until all, or nearly all, the water evaporates, then let it cool and pulverize it.  Take some fresh, well-burnt lime, pulverize it and mix one-third lime to two-thirds acid.  The best way is to put the lime in one box and the acid in the other, or the acid will gather dampness, which will slack the lime and cause an explosion.  Wet a woolen cloth, not to wet, and sprinkle the acid and lime on it and rub fast.  Have a dish of water and a sponge and the moment you stop rubbing, wash off the marble.  Finish up with putty.


To clean marble

     1.  Mix up a quantity of the strongest soap-lees with quick lime, to the consistence of milk, and laying it on the marble for twenty four hours; clean it afterwards with salt and water

     2.  Chloride of lime mixed with pulverized chalk is good to remove stains

     3.  Cuttle fish bone is good to clean the dust off polished marble.  Dip it in clean water, use the soft side.

To clean old marble

Take a bullockís gall, one gill of soap lees, half a gill of turpentine; make it into a paste with pipe clay, apply it to the marble.  Let it dry a day or two then rub it off.

To remove grease from marble

Aqua ammonia, two ounces; soft water, one quart; saltpeter, one teaspoonful; shaving soap in shavings, one ounce; mix all together; dissolve the soap well.

To clean alabaster

There is nothing better than soap and water.

To clean old gravestones

Nitric acid, fifteen cents work, mixed with one-half soft water, apply with a brush.  The cheapest and quickest way.

To set stones

One part plaster of Paris, one part hydraulic (or water) cement, one part sand, sifted.

Preservation of soft stone

A solution of sublimed sulphur in eight parts of linseed oil, beaten in a sand-bath to a temperature of 128 degrees; the solution is applied by a common painterís brush until the stone will absorb no more.  Stone thus indurate becomes almost equal to granite in hardness.

To fix crayon drawings by steam

Two ounces of alcohol, two drachms of powdered sugar; the steam to be directed to the back of the picture.

To make paper into parchment

To produce this transformation, take unsized paper and plunge it into a solution of two parts of concentrated sulphuric acid, combined with one part water; withdraw it immediately and wash it in clean water and the change is complete.  It is now fit for writing and is so strong that a strip of two or three inches will bear from 60-8o pounds weight where parchment will bear only 25 pounds.

To write on glass in the sun

Dissolve chalk in aqua fortis to the consistency of mil, add to that a strong solution of silver.  Keep this in a glass decanter, well stopped.  Then cut out from a paper the letters you would have appear and paste the paper on the decanter which you are to place in the sun in the position that the rays may pass though the spaces cut out of the paper and fall on the surface of the liquid.  The part of the glass through which the rays pass with turn black.  Do not shake the bottle.  This is used for lettering jars.

To make grindstones

River sand, thirty parts, shellac ten parts; powdered glass, two parts; melt in an iron pot and cast into moulds.

Hardening Steel

Mix in a suitable vessel four parts of pulverized resin, two parts of trail oil.  Mix well into this one part hot tallow.  Into this mixture, the article to be hardened is plunged at a low red heat and held therein until thoroughly cooled off.  Without cleaning off, the piece is again brought into the fire and suitably tempered in the ordinary way.  The hardening is deeper and more uniformly distributed and the steel is less brittle.

To help sore eyes caused by dust

Toast a piece of bread about two inches square, very brown; put it in a teacup, with soft water; burn a piece of alum until it resembles chalk; put a piece as large as a pea in with the bread; taste it, if it is pleasant, all right; put a little in the palm of the hand and rub it into the eye


Source:  Marble and Granite Workers Guide 

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