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PNEUMATIC TOOLS – WHAT ARE THEM, HOW TO CLEAN AND HOW TO USE

PNEUMATIC TOOLS – WHAT ARE THEM, HOW TO CLEAN AND HOW TO USE

In previous articles of our blog in Rock&Tools, such as pneumatic tools – advantages, types, safety and maintenance, we gave you an introduction to what pneumatic tools are and their differences in terms of manual tools. Next, in this article, more detailed information regarding this type of tool will be presented with the help of the artist and sculptor Ruben Llano who will explain to us through videos what pneumatic tools are, how to treat them and how to use them properly

WHAT PNEUMATIC TOOLS ARE?

The pneumatic tool was created with the purpose of helping the sculptor and artist to carry out their work in a faster and more efficient way.

Unlike manual tools, such as a manual hammer, pneumatic tools have greater power and speed that will help you do the same job in less time.

These were created between 1888 and 1890 by William Holden with the intention of creating works more quickly, since, at that time, it was a practice that was the order of the day. This practice was carried out both in the construction of homes, businesses, cathedrals... so it was in great demand. For this, stones such as limestone, granite or sandy were generally used.

At the same time, in the same decade, a class of jackhammers was also being developed in Italy that completely changed the process of sculpting in stone. It was then that Cuturi pneumatic tools were born.

If you want to know more about Cuturi tools, in our blog section you can find a detailed article about these tools: Cuturi pneumatic hammers – types of stone, advantage and models.

In addition, in the following video from his “Carving Academy”, the artist and sculptor Ruben Llano explains in detail what pneumatic tools are and what they are used for.

HOW TO CLEAN AND STORE PNEUMATIC TOOLS?

Once we have used the tools, we must clean the surface and remove the dust to prevent the tool from rusting. To do this, we will use a towel or paper and pass it over the surface of the entire tool. Once we have cleaned the tool, we will keep it covered with paper or cloth to prevent dirt and moisture from entering the tool. Then we will store it in a dry place. In turn, if we are not going to use it for a long period, it is advisable to pour oil from time to time and thus prevent the piston from rusting.

In our online store you can find an oil for pneumatic hammers.

Aceite_Oil_huile.jpg
Ruben Llano explains in more detail the most appropriate way to clean and store our tools:

WHAT IS NEEDED TO CONNECT THE PNEUMATIC TOOLS?

When using pneumatic tools, a number of specific items are needed.

For the pneumatic tool to work, it is vitally important to have an air compressor of about 3 horsepower and a large capacity tank to store a large amount of air.

Next, we will also need a valve to open, close and regulate the air when we need it, a water filter to, as its name indicates, help filter the water that enters the compressor and a good hose to transport the air . The best option are those that are more flexible. At Rock&Tools you can find the following model:

4-meter hose for pneumatic hammers that includes an air flow regulator tap.

Imagen1adza.jpg

To work the stone correctly we will also need plumbing tape and some adapters to connect the hose to the pneumatic one, among others. Ruben Llano explains in the following video everything we need in a more detailed way.

HOW TO CONNECT THE PNEUMATIC TOOLS TO THE COMPRESSOR?

Once we have the hose and the tool, we recommend buying an adapter to properly connect both items, since, over time and use, it is very likely that the pneumatic inlet will end up being damaged.

Next, we connect them to the air compressor, we place the hose and the valve to regulate the air that enters and, as mentioned above, a water separator to filter it. In this way we will prevent water from entering the tire and it from rusting.

In the following video, Ruben Llano explains everything we need to know before connecting pneumatic tools to an air compressor.

WE HELP YOU WORK WITH PNEUMATIC TOOLS

At Rock&Tools we are specialized in pneumatic tools so, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can advise you on everything you need.

And finally, to anyone who wants to know more about the technique of sculpting in stone, we encourage you to read other articles on our blog. In turn, we also invite you to follow our Social Network accounts, as well as to join our Art Space, a place where you can share the result of your sculptures made with pneumatic tools!

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CUTURI PNEUMATIC HAMMERS – STONE TYPES, ADVANTAGES AND MODELS

CUTURI PNEUMATIC HAMMERS – STONE TYPES, ADVANTAGES AND MODELS

As we mentioned in the previous article Pneumatic tools – advantages, types, safety and maintenance, pneumatic tools are distinguished by operating through pneumatic force, using compressed air. In other words, pneumatic tools, unlike manual tools, are machines that work thanks to pressurized air, which is why they are characterized by needing an air compressor to be able to operate with them.

TYPES OF STONE

Once we make the decision to enter the world of stone carving, the first and most important thing is to select the type of stone with which we are going to work, the following being the most common when it comes to sculpting.

  • Limestone: it is known for being the main material used in Ancient Egypt for the creation of large sculptures such as the Great Sphinx. This type of stone is soft and easy to work with, which makes it one of the most suitable stones to start learning to carve in stone.

 1

  • Marble: worldwide known as “the queen of stones”. It was the most desired stone in antiquity and the Renaissance era, since it allowed a great variety of finishes in terms of texture, smoothness, roughness, shine and opacity. At the same time, it has very fine, subtle and very delicate finishes, which makes it an ideal stone to create perfect carvings and sculptures featuring a beautiful white color that, on many occasions, are exhibited in large museums.

2

  • Sandstone: it is a sedimentary rock that hardens over time. It is characterized by its porous nature, which makes it completely resistant to polishing and ideal for making architectural pieces such as columns and gargoyles.3
  • Alabaster: known for its marble-like finish, it is one of the easiest stones to carve because it can be carved using any type of tool. However, it is not recommended to expose it outdoors, especially in cold climates, since it can disintegrate at low temperatures. We can find it in different colors, brown and white being the most common.4
  • Granite: it is considered the strongest stone when used for carving. As it is such a hard stone, it is difficult to work with, therefore, for its correct work, specific carbide tools that withstand said hardness are required. Currently, being such a durable stone as well as elegant, granite is generally used for home decoration, either as a kitchen countertop or in bathrooms.

5

CUTURI PNEUMATIC HAMMERS

Once we are clear about the type of stone we want to work with, we must carefully study which tool is the most suitable for working with said stone.

The pneumatic hammers of the Italian brand Cuturi, which has an experience of more than 150 years, are one of the best options when selecting a tool for this type of activity and stones, since they help to carve practically any stone of quickly, easily and efficiently. It is a type of tool that, having a balanced combination of quality, speed, delicacy and work performance, is very useful.

Cuturi pneumatic hammers are very valuable tools due to their high speed and are characterized by being used to shape or smooth a surface. It is characterized by being small but very powerful tools that work thanks to an air pressure that is produced by an air compressor.

Air compressors are defined as large air tanks made up of connected motors. The air, through the tube that connects the compressor with the tire, travels from the compressor to the pneumatic hammers. This causes the pistons to move up and down. The piston is part of the jackhammer, being the only part that moves. This is located inside a cylinder to which the compressed air reaches. In this way the metal piston moves up and down, thus imitating the movement of a hammer.

A considered small sized jackhammer typically has a 5/16 inch or 1/1 inch diameter piston, while large ones may have a ¾ or 1 inch diameter piston. That has nothing to do with the size of the chisel, as most chisels have a ¼, ½ or 5/5 inch shank.

Keep in mind that air pressure varies depending on the size of the air tool. That is why, despite the fact that air compressors are a completely safe instrument, our main recommendation is always to acquire a certified tool that guarantees the highest quality and safety, both in its manufacture and in compliance with the protocols related to user protection.

WHY CHOOSE THE CUTURI PNEUMATIC HAMMER?

Another point in favor of the Italian brand Cuturi is that it has a wide variety of tools, each one made to measure for each type of size. It has a total of 10 different sizes, each one of them designed for a specific occasion. Although each model has its own characteristics, the 10 models have a series of common characteristics, such as resistance to oxidation (to guarantee this, we recommend cleaning and lubricating it properly and frequently with Cuturi oil and thus maintain its excellent performance over time) and the long periods of work they support, from 8 to 12 hours a day.

MARTILLOS 2

This is a very powerful jackhammer, which makes it a very good option for large sculptures as it will get the job done faster and more efficiently. Thanks to its chisels it is capable of demolishing an infinity of materials such as marble, granite, sandstone... Despite being ideal for working on large sculptures, if the pressure is lowered, you can work on smaller projects, yes, always carefully and after having practiced it beforehand.

 

Weight

2,6 Kg

Piston diameter

1 inch - 1/4 inch

Tool input

16 mm

It has characteristics very similar to the Cuturi Z, it is a very powerful tool, but with slightly smaller dimensions.

Weight

2 Kg

Piston diameter

1 inch - 1/8 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

The Cuturi S model has a medium dimension and is ideal for working with stones of any size due to its great power, especially on marble or soft stones. This makes it ideal for beginners.

Weight

1,7 Kg

Piston diameter

1 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

Ideal for creating details at low air pressure, since, being a medium-sized tool, it helps control the cutting force. Good choice for working on marble, limestone, soapstone, granite, sandstone, alabaster, and wood.

Weight

1,5 Kg

Piston diameter

1 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

It has an ideal power to carve small sculptures and rocky materials such as wood.

Weight

1,1 Kg

Piston diameter

3/4 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

Deal tool for those who work with these tools for hours, since it is a fairly light tire, but with enough power to work with it.

Weight

700 g

Piston diameter

5/8 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

Made to work in every detail of the works done with marble, limestone, sandstone, granite, soapstone, alabaster and wood. It offers total control to work both small and large areas, especially when it comes to fragile and delicate areas.

Weight

430 g

Piston diameter

9/16 inch

Tool input

12,5 mm

Ideal for creating small realistic details in a sculpture. In turn, it works with practically any type of stone.

Weight

240 g

Piston diameter

7/16 inch

Tool input

7,5 mm

Ideal for the really small details, especially if you're working with marble. It is a very easy and smooth tool to control.

Weight

90 g

Piston diameter

1/4 inch

Tool input

5 mm

It is the smallest pneumatic hammer of all, it comes with 3 chisels and is ideal for those who want to start entering the world of carving.

Weight

90 g

Piston diameter

1/4 inch

Tool input

5 mm

At Rock&Tools we have a wide catalog of Cuturi pneumatic tools, including all the models mentioned above.

And finally, to anyone who wants to know more about stone carving, we encourage you to read other articles on our blog. In turn, we also invite you to follow our Social Network accounts, as well as to join our Art Space, a place where you can share the result of your works!

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PNEUMATIC TOOLS – ADVANTAGES, TYPES, SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE

PNEUMATIC TOOLS – ADVANTAGES, TYPES, SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE

As mentioned in the same name, pneumatic tools are distinguished by operating through pneumatic force, using compressed air. In other words, pneumatic tools, unlike manual tools, are machines that work thanks to pressurized air, which is why they are characterized by needing an air compressor to be able to operate with them.

The main complementary accessory, therefore, and necessary for any pneumatic tool is an air compressor, which works through a system that collects outside air, stores it through a compression system and finally expels it.

The use of compressed air as the main source of energy has a wide variety of advantages, highlighting the saving of both physical effort and work. It is a type of tool that, despite its sometimes large dimensions, is very light and manageable.

At the same time, they are very safe tools that do not generate electrical risks such as sparks or fires. They also stand out for their great power, which makes them ideal tools with which to work on the realization of various sculptures. However, in addition to stone, a wide variety of materials such as metal, plastic, concrete or marble can be worked with pneumatic tools.

Items needed to use pneumatic tools

When entering the world of pneumatic tools, we must take into account a series of elements, several of which are essential for the correct use of these tools.

  1. Compressor: One of the main factors is the proper choice of compressor. In the event that it is going to be used occasionally, at Rock&Tools we recommend that you purchase a generic compressor. However, if you want to use it more professionally, we recommend purchasing a higher quality compressor. If you need advice about the model that best suits your type of work, contact us and we will be happy to help you.

    Once we are clear about the use that we are going to give it, we must bear in mind that the power must be at least 3 CV, in order to avoid problems in the performance of the pneumatic hammers. However, if you already have a 2 HP power compressor, we recommend not changing it, but working with it and, depending on the demands of the work, evaluating another possible investment in the future.
  1. Boiler: Once we are clear about the type of compressor that best suits us, we must ensure that the compressor's boiler has a minimum capacity of 56 liters and a maximum of 100.
  1. Hose for compressed air: For greater efficiency in the performance of pneumatic tools, at Rock&Tools we also consider it essential to acquire the appropriate hose.
  1. Regulator filter: This is an optional but highly recommended element, as it removes all moisture from the air entering the hammer. This is placed between the compressor and the hose.
  1. Lubricator regulator filter: like the previous one, it eliminates humidity from the air, regulates pressure, and also lubricates automatically, which will allow you to always have your hammer in the right conditions.
  1. Oil to lubricate: From Rock&Tools we recommend the correct lubrication of the tools before starting to manipulate them.
  1. Pneumatic hammer: This tool allows us to connect other types of tools such as chisels or bush hammers. It is characterized by having much more power than a manual hammer. As for pneumatic hammers, we find a wide variety of types such as the anti-vibration pneumatic hammer, conical pneumatic hammer or ergonomic pneumatic hammer, among others. They will be specified later.
  1. Pneumatic pen: it is mainly used for engraving and restoration on many surfaces that need to be treated with a certain delicacy.

 

We are specialized in pneumatic tools. Do not hesitate to contact us so that we can advise you on the best option according to your needs! In turn, in our online store we have a wide variety of types of pneumatic tools, highlighting the following:

- Anti-vibration pneumatic hammer

It stands out for its anti-vibration rubber that surrounds the hammer to eliminate part of the vibrations of the work, which makes it an ideal tool for working on all types of stones.

Martillo neumático antivibración

- Standard pneumatic hammer

With its 12.5mm tool connection, it is a type of jackhammer that can be used on all kinds of materials, beyond stone.

Martillo neumático estandar

- Ergonomic pneumatic hammer

Our ergonomic pneumatic hammers for stonemasons and sculptors with a connection of 12.7 x 50, are ideal for carving and stone work.

Martillo neumatico ergonómico

- Conical pneumatic hammer

Medium to heavy weight chipping hammer for pointers, bush hammering and chiselling. And with a diameter of 13 mm.

Martillo neumatico cónico

- Widia Toolkit

Case of 7 widia chisels of different sizes to work with pneumatic hammers. Chisels for all types of materials. Connection of D.12.5mm tools ideal for pneumatic hammers with cylindrical connection of 12.5mm-12.7mm.

Kit herramientas widia

 

Pneumatic Tool Safety and Maintenance

Although pneumatic tools are a safe article, we must take into account a series of considerations to use them correctly and at the same time take care of their maintenance.

  • Customer safety is the top priority and protecting yourself properly is essential. That is why at Rock&Tools we have created a safety kit that includes a pair of reusable earplugs, 3 pairs of disposable earplugs, a mask that offers protection against stone dust, safety glasses and anti-vibration gloves half finger
  • Once we are adequately protected and before starting to manipulate the tools, it is also advisable to lubricate it. We will apply it by placing the tool with the air inlet facing upwards and then we will add a few drops of tool lubricant. Then we will connect the hose, in this way the oil will spread internally. At Rock&Tools we have an oil for pneumatic hammers.
  • In turn, before starting to manipulate our pneumatic tool, we must first make sure that it is correctly connected to the compressor, that is, that the thread has been completely tightened.
  • Next, once we have used the tools, we must make sure to leave the compressor hose disconnected.
  • Finally, it is of vital importance that, once the tools have been used, we clean them correctly and store them in a dry place in order to avoid the possible appearance of rust.

we help you work with pneumatic tools

At Rock & Tools we are specialized in pneumatic tools so, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can advise you on everything you need.

And, finally, to anyone who wants to know more about the dry stone technique, we encourage you to read other articles on our blog. At the same time, we also invite you to follow our Social Network accounts, as well as to join our Art Space, a place where you can share the result of your works.

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¿How to build a dry stone wall?

¿How to build a dry stone wall?

Before starting to build a dry stone wall, we must take into account several issues to learn more about this technique and thus make the wall correctly, stable and safe. That will be the goal of this article. But if you want to know more about the dry stone technique, we invite you to visit our blog article on dry stone – tools, techniques and construction manuals.

It is important to start from the basis that in a pile of stones we find pieces of all types and we must know how to recognize and select them. Each of the stones that will form our wall will have its place in the building. They are all useful, even the cumbersome, the shapeless, and the brittle.

The first pile of stones is, without a doubt, the most important, since after a great deal of work, the stones that obstruct the arable land of the hillside are deposited. From this pile we will extract what we will need to build the wall. To better capture its composition and verify that we are not missing elements, we will sort it into sub-heaps, by size and shape.

The great secret of traditional construction is the fit between the stones and not their union with mortar. Even more so in dry stone construction. This concern for a good fit forces us to look for flat surfaces, well-adjusted stones, fill the thickness of the wall row by row, distribute and place small and medium-sized stones between them and, finally, use small wedges as a last resort.

Families of stones used in the construction of walls

Before starting to make a dry stone wall, we have to know the different families of stones that we can find.

  1. Masonry

It is the queen stone of the wall, the parameter stone that has a flat face that is called “in masonry”, the one that is left visible. It also needs a good support, on which it rests with stability on the wall under construction, an upper face suitable to receive the continuity of the wall and a sufficient depth to be well anchored.

  1. Matacan

The machicolation remains in the lower part of the wall, it lays the foundations for it, it resists the thrust from behind the slope or the water, if the wall supports a terrace. Using ramps we can climb machicolations to two courses or even three. However, a machicolation that is integrated halfway up a wall runs the risk of breaking its coherence and the solidarity of its elements: it will be too heavy in relation to the surrounding stones and will not intersect well with them.

That is to say, it is a stone with a good face, but being too big to be lifted, it remains in the lower part of the wall.

  1. The great reports

First cousins ​​of the machicolations, but without good faces, they take their place at the base of the back padding, where they also contribute their weight. They fit well into the floor, even hollowing it out, for a better fit. The medium and small reports are located between the large ones, arranged as tightly as possible.

  1. Brands

They are masonry that penetrate the wall in depth, anchoring it. There may be counters that, locked with them, take over from these in the anchorage of the cigar: thus prolonging the anchorage in depth, but with an articulation that will adapt to eventual internal thrusts. In fact, the risk that a long stem runs is that it breaks if the wall in its depth, less homogeneous than in the parameter, is compressed. The post must therefore be chosen for its length, but also for its robustness.

  1. The auctions

The upper part of the wall plays a role of pressure, resistance to erosion, the passage of animals, humans, wind... Visually, it indicates the finish of the wall, by the line it follows and by the choice and organization of the materials that constitute it. The crowning must be foreseen from the initial phase of the mound and reserve the stones of the auction.

Rock & Tools tools to assemble a dry stone wall

We are specialized in the construction of dry stone walls and we offer all kinds of services, advice and tools for its correct execution. Next, we highlight the following products from our catalogue, but on our web you can find many more.

  1. Mace dry stone edge

One head in hammer, the other in shear perpendicular to the handle. An ideal tool to use on light stones.

Imagen 1

2.Pointer

They are all composed of a piece of tempered iron with a central hole where the wooden handle is placed. One part has a square and flat section (which can be used as a hammer to hit) and the other part ends in a point.

Imagen 2

3.Dry stone point hammer

It is similar to a pickaxe, however the blunt end allows for squaring to avoid builging. It is the basic tool of hard stone Works.

Imagen 3

4.Splitting hammer

Widia splitting hammers are used to split the stone into two parts. It can be used directly by hitting the stone, or it can be placed on top of the stone and hit the back with another mallet.

Imagen 4

5.Pitcher

Guillet Carbide Pitcher to work all types of stones.

Imagen5

In addition, on our YouTube channel you will also find tutorial videos on how to use some of these tools.

How to build a dry stone wall?

Once we are clear about the types of stones that we can find and the tools with which we should work, it is time to get down to work and build our stone wall. For this, it is important to follow the following steps.

  1. The place

The first decision we have to make when building a dry stone wall is to choose the right place. Once the place has been decided, with a mini-excavator we will dig lightly to lay the foundations for the wall, at the same time that we open the path of the work. This will serve to deposit from time to time the piles of stones that supply the segments of the wall under construction.      

Imagen 1.1                                     

2. Soil preparation and first row

Once the wall is founded on the clayey earth, barely semi-excavated less than 20 centimeters and naturally packed, the deep base of the wall and its flexibility will accommodate it.

The first row will be made up of especially heavy machicolations, but which have been carved previously to give them their own face and with sides that fit the adjoining stones. Next, on the back of these large face stones, the zaborra, both medium and small, is pressed.

Imagen 2.2

3. Placing a masonry

Stones that have a good face are used in the parameter. Here the masonry will rest on horseback on two masonry from the preceding row, to cross them well; good face in the parameter, triangular tip sinking into the wall.

Imagen 3.3

4. Placement of a firebrand

The purpose of placing a marker is to anchor the wall in depth with a long stone, crossing it at the same time with the stones of the lower row.

Imagen 4.4

5. Avoid gaps and order the faces well

When it comes to correctly avoiding gaps, we must fill an oblique gap with a masonry that is not very large but very well adjusted in width and height, completed behind by two small zaborras.

Imagen 5.5

6. Filling of the internal part

In the construction of the internal part of the wall, zaborra is used. After the selection of stones, we will place them on the wall. The large stones, interlocked with those of the row below, constitute a basic framework. The medium ones fit the big ones. The small ones are messy only during their transport in a bucket. Next, each of them is placed as well as possible between the large and medium ones so that the whole is well tightened and locked.

Imagen 6.6

7. More Padding

It is important to fill our wall in all its thickness with masonry, blight, counter-blight, large, medium and small zaborras. In this way we will make our wall safer and more stable.

Imagen 7.7

8. Fine padding

It is important to highlight the importance of a good final filling to finish supporting the stones with each other, placing the smallest ones last and giving them a stable place. In the case of placing them in disorder, they will have a tendency, in the event of deformation of the wall, to slide downwards, thus aggravating the deformation of the parameter, which we call the “bag of marbles” effect.

Imagen 8.8

9. Assemble the ladder

In case we want to include a staircase in our wall, it is important to know that the part of the step that remains inside the wall must be heavier, even before ballasting it with the following rows of the wall. At least two-thirds of the stone should be inside.

Imagen 9.9

10. Finish off

For the crowning of the wall we must have previously reserved some heavy and tall stones, with quite regular upper, lower and lateral faces. In turn, it is recommended to measure in advance the height of the auction that we will have to look for in our pile of stones. For the rest, the way to build the auction is the same. Work the last stones with those of the lower row, regularly introduce firebrands that will anchor the wall in depth, frame the back of the wall with large, medium and small zaborra.

Imagen 10.10

Contact Rock & Tools so we can help you build a stone wall

We are specialized in the construction of stone walls, so if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us so that we can advise you on everything you need.

And finally, to anyone who wants to know more about the dry stone technique, we encourage you to read our blog articles. In turn, we also invite you to join both our Social Network community and our Art Space, a place where you can share the results of your works!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

You can find this and much more in the Rock and Tools La piedra seca book.

 

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Dry stone – Construction tools, techniques and manuals

Dry stone – Construction tools, techniques and manuals

What is the dry stone technique?

Dry Stone technique refers to the process of building stone constructions by conjoining them without the use of any material for their consolidation, such as mortar or mortar.

The dry stone technique, which is a ancient tradition, was one of the first human approaches to stone construction. Mainly, its structures are found in rural areas and steep terrain, either in populated spaces, or in unpopulated spaces.

It’s stability is due to a combination of careful selection and installation of the stones. It is vital that the stonemason study in depth the pairing and balance of each piece by combining stones of different sizes. It is through this process that greater stability, functionality and aesthetics is achieved.

In 2018, this technique was declared a Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a candidacy in which countries such as Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy, among others, participated to respect and celebrate this method, especially in regards to it’s environmentally friendly and sustainable practice cosidering it uses local materials.

Different dry stone techniques

When working with dry Stone, there are four main ways of placing the pieces:

  • Ordinary placement: This technique does not follow any type of specific order.
  • Laying on gravel: In this technique, stones are applied into mortar joints, which allows  larger stones to be fitted.
  • Laying by rows: With this technique the stones are laid in a linear fashion, giving the impression that a regular row is being created.
  • Orderly and oblique placement: apart from being arranged in rows, the stones are placed obliquely.

There are all types of stones, even if they are from the same pile. They are all useful, even the brittle ones. Of course, you have to know how to recognize them and correctly select them.  This traditional practice is defined by the ability to combine and construct the stones without the use of mortar to bind them

Recommendations for working with dry stone

These are recommendations for correctly using this technique:

  • Look for flat surfaces which allow the stones to be combined without risk of collapsing from instability.
  • Adjust the stones so each fit ensures maximum stability.
  • Fill in all the gaps. This is done by using formless stones that are interspersed to fill any crevices in the structure.
  • Determine the thickness of each row by considering it’s parameter.
  • Structural balance is achieved not by the amount of large strones, but the distribution of small and medium stones throughout the structure.
  • Small wedges should be used only as a last resort, specifically, to prevent the stones from wobbling.

Dry stone tools at Rock & Tools

At Rock & Tools we specialize in dry stone and we offer all kinds of services, guidance and tools to anyone who wants to specialize  or simply experiment with this technique.

herramientas

In this photo we would find the following tools, all of them available on our website:

a. Concave Head Mallet

This hammer has a special shape, the end is curved and slightly concaved, allowing the two protruding edges to square the stones or reduce their dimensions

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.55.56

b. Dry stone point hammer

It is similar to a pickaxe, however the blunt end allows for squaring to avoid builging. It is the basic tool of hard stone works.

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.56.17

c. Lump hammer 

These hammers are used to hit different tools, such as pointers, scarps and reamers (moles). Splitting Wedges are made of steel with bevoled edges and a wooden handle.  

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.56.35

d. Lump hammer sharp edges 

The hammer with sharp edges can be used both as a lump hammer and to square the stone with the edges of the hammer. It is made of hardened steel.

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.56.51

e. Chisel

Used to smooth and clean the Surface of the stones.

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.57.08

f. Pointer

They are all composed of a piece of tempered iron with a central hole where the wooden handle is placed. One part has a square and flat section (which can be used as a hammer to hit) and the other part ends in a point.

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.57.16

g. Mace dry stone edge

One head in hammer, the other in shear perpendicular to the handle. An ideal tool to use on light stones.

Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 12.57.35

Other tools we want to highlight

Other options that you will find in our catalog are books that talk about the techniques to use with dry stone and other quality tools.

Our Widia tool set, ideal for dry stone professionals and teachers.This set includes:

  • 1 Widia Scafiler 40mm
  • 1 Widia Pointer
  • 1 Escarpment Widia 30 mm
  • 1 Steel Mace with sharp edges
  • 1 Case

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  • Different books in which to know the dry stone in depth.

These books that feature beautiful photographs, allows you to discover the world of dry Stone landscapes that were built by anonymous architectures that have found a new role of relevency.

Dry stone specialists who offer passionate knowledge and share their experiences.

 A practical chapter details the construction of a wall in images and offers everyone, private or professional, the instruction of building or restoring works in dry stone.

In this article we highlight three books:

1. The dry stone

2. Dry stone construction

3. Stone walls

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Solid one-piece shims are often used in cracks or cuts made with the grinder.

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The lever is mainly used to move large stones. The levers have a sharp point on one side and a flat nail-shaped tip on the other.

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Splitting wedges, also called expanders or expanders, are used to split larger stones into two parts.Captura de pantalla 2022 05 31 a las 13.01.08

All the tools can be consulted on our website. And if you need a specific one that you cannot find in our catalogue, you can contact us and we will locate it for you.

And, in addition,  You can find tutorials for our tools on our youtube channel. For example, the wedges, the escafilador or the pointer.

Dry stone today

Due to it’s agricultural, architectural and cultural origens dry stone is  still a current technique that is present in the following:

  • Construction of roads: These roads offer a distinct and unqiue aesthetic where tourists can marvel and appreciate the charm of local área.
  • Dams: numerous small mountain dams are lined with dry stone because they are effective in providing resistance to flowing wáter.
  • The anti-avalanches: in the mountains a construction technique has been developed using only local material, to combat the natural phenomena of rockfall or snow avalanches. These walls are both used for protective measures and as guiding routes for hiking trails.
  • For civil safety: international researchers have attested to the value of dry stone terraces in water management in arid zones and the consideration of risks such as landslides, erosion, runoff, floods and fires.
  • For the terroir: The beauty of the agricultural landscape enhances the reputation of its productions, its tourist attraction and its ability to remain alive. It contributes to the visual identity of it’s local surroundings, in which tourists can appreciate the ancient tradition which in turn keeps it alive and relevant

Dry stone constructions in the world

Dry stone is a technique that is present all over the world. Some where only the structures of the past remain and others where the tradition is still practiced today.

In the region of Cumbria, located in the northwest of England, there are the forty lakes of the Lake District National Park that contain peaks that rise up to 90 meters in height and where dry stone construction elements are found, formed by bare rocks, granite balls scattered in the bed of rivers or recovered for dry construction. All this will be transformed into paved bridges, sheepfolds or fences.

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In the Japanese city of Nara, located in the Kansai region, there is a hill with an important Buddhist sanctuary built in the 8th century and with it’s Stone wall dating back to the same century.

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On the Vaucluse plateau, France, we find the Plague Wall, an unusual and mighty wall built with the dry stone technique that crosses the Vaucluse mountains for 27km.

Dry stone constructions in Spain

The dry stone technique plays a major role in our landscapes, thus providing a seal of quality to our territory.

In Enguera (Valencia), there are several cuckoos or huts, all of them made with the aforementioned dry stone technique. It is a construction so well known in Valencia that there is even a famous Enguera cuckoo route.

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In Menorca there also f a great variety of constructions made with dry stone, many of which have become well known. Such is the prominence that this technique takes on the island, that it is estimated that more than 11,000 kilometers have been built on it.

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In Galicia, specifically in the town of O rosal, there are is a well-known route  the Molinos del Folón and del Picón, which covers a total of 60 mills located in a cascade and built in the 18th century, all of them with the dry stone technique. This route has been declared by the Junta de Galicia as an Asset of Cultural Interest.

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At Rock & Tools we can help you work with dry stone

At Rock & Tools specialize in this technique, so if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us for advice. We have a wide catalog of tools so that you can achieve a perfect result in your works.

And one last piece of advice for all stone artists: read our blog. You can also join our community and upload your works to our Art Space so that it becomes a meeting point for professionals! We encourage you to join our social networks and follow our latest posts.

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What is alabaster and what is it used for?

What is alabaster and what is it used for?

Alabaster is a compact and weak, white mineral composed of calcium carbonate.

With a Mohs classification of 1.5, this mineral is considered very low in terms of its hardness. So much so, that it can be scratched by fingernails and can easily dissolved by water.

Its name of Greek origin means “a vessel without handles.” This is because in ancient times, the most frequent use of alabaster was to make perfume vessels without handles. In turn, throughout history, there is a wide variety of artistic works that have been made with this material. The most significant is the statue of the Egyptian Queen Tiye.

What types of alabaster exist?

·      Bonded Alabaster

The different varieties of this type of alabaster:

  • Limestone alabaster from Aracena: It is found in Andalusia. This material is hazy white, pure and fine, with features of aurora yellow.
  • White limestone
  • The yellowish white or Oriental alabaster: it is white with touches of red.
  • From Siena: almost transparent, it has a honey color.

·      Veined or flowery alabaster

This marble is also known as onyx marble of the ancients. It can be divided into several types:

  • From Malaga: waxy yellow
  • In Sicily we can find four different types: Saguna: it is dark brown with light streaks, Monreale: bright red streaks with different yellow bands, Caputo: yellow and white streaks, and finally, In Monte Pellegrino: yellow and dark black bands.
  • From Malta: we find light yellow colors with white or black, brown and white.
  • From Corsica: they are light or dark yellow.
  • From Paris: they are fawn with dirty white streaks.

·      stained Alabaster

  • It is found in the Languedoc region and is reddish brown with spots of various sizes.

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Where can alabaster be found in Spain and how is it extracted?

Zaragoza is the main extraction site of alabaster in the world. One of the main alabaster reserves can be found on the banks of the Ebro River. The town of Albalate del Arzobispo is where different quarries are located and the development of alabaster is promoted through the CIDA "Comprehensive Center for the Development of Alabaster”.

The extraction is generally done in the open, with systems that are not aggressive to protect the integrity of the material, both its homogeneity and integrity, as well as its crystallinity and natural grain.

The photograph shown below is an alabaster quarry.

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Rock&Tools participated in the ICRE stage event in Albalate del Arzobispo

In Spain, events are organized which enables participants to work with alabaster material. At Rock&Tools we had the pleasure of being able to collaborate in the Stage event organized in Albalate del Arzobispo (ICRE Stage) to work with alabaster with total creative freedom for four days. This event took place during Holy Week and was organized by the CIDA (Integral Center for the Development of Alabaster).

We also had the pleasure of having the company of great artists from the ICRE association in Barcelona together with the sculptor Jorge Egea, who oversaw the entire stay of the ICRE artists.

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Use of alabaster today

Currently, alabaster is generally used as a purely decorative stone. Being as it is so soft, it can be molded or carved into very elaborate and precise shapes. However, since it dissolves in water, it cannot be placed outside.

Being a translucent stone, alabaster also has been used in windows and in lampshades and other lighting products, generally combined with other materials.

The natural grain of the alabaster is what makes each piece “unique,” together with the craftsmanship and conceptual beauty, this material has become especially popular within interior design and garden decoration.

It is very important to note that any object containing alabaster is very delicate and must be treated carefully to prevent it from being damaged. That is why specialists recommend handling it only with gloves to avoid staining and scratching it and to clean with only a soft bristle brush.

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Alabaster curiosities

We end this article with a little fun fact: Did you know that alabaster was used in some medieval churches for windows? The most recent was the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Los Angeles, which was consecrated in 2002. The use of alabaster in windows prevents the panels from becoming opaque under the effect of heat.

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Is alabaster an element that you use professionally or as a hobby or are you just curious try it? Then do not hesitate to get in touch and the Rock & Tools team will advise you.

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Sculptures inspired by love

Sculptures inspired by love

Throughout history, the romantic sentiment has attracted the attention of many artists, so much so that some of them decided to express their vision of love in beautiful sculptures. And, today, romance continues to capture the imagination of artists and the public. For this reason, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we would like to show you some sculptures inspired by love.

“Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss”, by Antonio Canova

A sculpture inspired by the story of the Roman god of love, Cupid (Eros), and Psyche, a human turned goddess. It represents the moment when Eros brings Psyche round from her sleep through a kiss.

It is a work created to be seen from the front, although its details are not neglected.

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“The Kiss”, by Rodin

Rodin was originally inspired by Paolo and Francesca, two characters from Dante’s Divine Comedy, who were killed by Francesca’s husband. However, Rodin thought that the sculpture conveyed sensuality and happiness and decided to call it: The kiss.

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“Apollo and Daphne”, by Bernini

Sometimes love is unrequited, as in the case of Apollo and Daphne. Eros shot an arrow at Apollo that made him fall in love with Daphne, but he shot an arrow at her that made her want to be free from Apollo. She had no choice but to turn herself into a tree to escape from Apollo.

With this sculpture Bernini perfectly captures the exact moment when Apollo catches up with Daphne and she begins to turn herself into a tree.

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Tools for sculptors

Did you know the stories behind the sculptures? If you know any other sculptures, do not hesitate to share them with us. And if you are interested in expressing love in your next sculptures or constructions, at Rock&Tools we have extensive experience selling sculpting tools. If you have any questions, get in touch with us for advice.

You can also join our community! Follow us here, on our Art Space and on our social media.

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Interesting facts about granite you probably didn’t know

Interesting facts about granite you probably didn’t know

Granite, due to its special characteristics, is one of the rock types most used in architecture, decoration, construction, and of course, sculpture. This is because, on top of being extremely beautiful, its composition makes it very resistant to possible scratches and stains. Here are some interesting facts about granite we bet you didn’t know. Let’s get started!

  1. It’s the main component of the external and most solid layer of our planet, best known as the Earth’s crust.
  2. It’s one of the hardest and most resistant materials in the world. Only diamonds are harder.
  3. It delights so many sculptors and architects because the pattern and colour of each granite stone is unique. Every slab has different formations and compositions, allowing for thousands and thousands of variations.
  4. It’s a natural stone formed from volcanic magma. It’s precisely for this reason that it is so resistant, withstanding temperatures of around 100 º
  5. Though it is frequently found in nature in white, grey or yellow; blue and red and are the colours of granite that are the hardest to find in the world, which is why production in those colours is very limited.
  1. Granite was first used by the Egyptians for the construction of their unique temples and obelisks.
  2. Spain has the largest building made of granite in the world: the San Lorenzo Monastery of El Escorial in Madrid.
  3. The United States, specifically North Carolina, has the largest open-faced granite quarry in the world. It’s called Mount Airy.
  4. Granite is a renewable resource and is considered an ecological product since it doesn’t emit harmful gases and doesn’t contain chemical products. Also, its extraction and production processes are becoming more and more sustainable.

Tools for sculpting stone

Did you already know all this about granite? If you know anything else, don’t hesitate to share it with us. And if you are interested in using it for your sculptures or constructions, at Rock&Tools we have extensive experience selling tools for working with stone. If you have any questions, get in touch with us for advice. Join our community! Follow us here, on our Art Space and on our social media.

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Rock&Tools collaborates in Okambuva’s practical workshop on stone construction

Rock&Tools collaborates in Okambuva’s practical workshop on stone construction

On the 17th of December, Okambuva launched their practical stone-construction workshop. This free workshop, offering 15 credits for students of the Bioconstruction Project Management Master’s course (also offered by Okambuva) was a sell-out event, demonstrating the huge interest in this construction technique.

Okambuva is cooperative that works in bioconstruction and construction with natural materials, offering advice, management and implementation services for bioconstruction projects. What’s more, it also provides professional and university training programmes for self-builders.

This training course was led by Nadir Sirera Oriol, an architect and builder specialised in bioclimatic architecture and bioconstruction. Today, Sirera has been working for many years in the restoration and recovery of vernacular architecture.

This workshop, which took place on the weekend of the 17th to the 19th of December, offered greater insight into the essential aspects of dry-stone construction, such as:

  • Pre-positioning of reference elements.
  • Prior preparation of stone pieces for their placement in the construction.
  • Face work and creation of corner and arch pieces.
  • Properties and techniques for laying masonry with clay-earth mortar.
  • Design and development of cyclopean foundations, arches and corners.
  • Importance of the type of cement used according to application.
  • Drying and cleaning times.
  • Practice of different stone-placement systems.
  • Handling large pieces with levers and other means.
  • Splitting stones with drills and expanding wedges.

We at Rock&Tools were delighted to take part in this type of training course, offering resources and tools for dry-stone construction to help these new professionals continue in their learning.

Tools for sculpting stone

At Rock&Tools, we have extensive experience in the sale of tools for working with stone, so if you have any questions, we’ll be delighted to help. If you have any questions, get in touch with us for advice. Join our community! You can follow us here, on ourArt Space and on our social media.

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Rock & Tools collaborates in the 13th Sculpture Symposium

Rock & Tools collaborates in the 13th Sculpture Symposium

Every two years, the International Sculpture Symposium is held in Albalate del Arzobispo, and last November the 13th edition took place. Rock & Tools is very happy to collaborate in this kind of event, providing resources and tools for artists to create their incredible sculptures.

This event has become the international framework where nine selected artists work for two weeks to create a sculpture using the star material of the municipality: alabaster. Nine artists from all over the world participated in the event: Yunmi Lee from South Korea, Lara Steffe and Francesco Paglialunga from Italy, Tanya Preminger from Israel, Yannick Robert from France and Mariano Pastor, Jesús Zafra, Borja Barrajón and Noemí Palacios from Spain.

All participants had to send the project they were going to create during the symposium, together with a dossier of their work and professional experience, so that the committee, who made the final selection, could learn about their style and how they work. The theme of the creation was free, but the aim was for each sculptor to enhance the qualities of the alabaster stone, as the goal is to promote this material through art.

One of the major attractions of this event is that, during the two weeks, everyone had the opportunity to visit the Integral Centre for Alabaster Development and see each artist creating their piece in person.

The organisers are very pleased because "it is clear that this symposium has become more and more prestigious in the world of sculpture. In fact, every year proposals come in from higher calibre artists". This is great news!

Tools for sculpting stone

At Rock&Tools, we have extensive experience in the sale of tools for working with stone, so if you have any questions, we’ll be delighted to help. On our site, you’ll find a comprehensive catalogue of all the best tools for sculpting stone. In fact, our blog offers a host of information if you want to get started in this craft. If you have any questions, get in touch with us for advice. Join our community! Follow us here, on our Art Space and on our social media.

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