Awards & Engraving

June '19

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A&E JUNE 2019 • 63 The first stage is blasted. Sandcarving Before peeling out the skinny zigzag line, I made sure that the rectangle was blasted deep enough to give me a chance to blast the zigzag below surface but not have it disappear into the rectangle below. As I peeled out this line, I also removed the outside border to the design, which needed to simply get surface etched to give the area a matte-looking finish. All blasting needed to be done before thinking about the color application. Since the border is narrow and since I needed to have control over my blasting, I turned the pressure down to about 50 pounds of pressure and checked to see that my nozzle was in good shape and not enlarged from the previous blasting. I then worked my way around the parameter of the rectangle, trying to get depth but not go too deep. After that was accomplished, I surface-blasted the outside border to the desired matte finish. Once all the blasting was done, I needed to clean the tile thoroughly to remove all dust from the deeper areas so that the paint would not get contaminated by the abrasive residue. I usually accomplish this by rinsing the tile under running water, dabbing it with paper towels, and fanning it dry in order to avoid water stains, especially in the outside border areas, which wouldn't be col- ored. I placed the tile close to a heat source so that it could dry faster; the blasted areas, without the polish, absorb the moisture and it takes a bit for the stone to dry out. Waiting is difficult but needs to happen. This is also true for the color application stages; I had to let the individual layers and different color areas dry well before taping off and/or applying a second coat of paint. To paint the areas, I used good-quality spray paint (Rust-Oleum or Valspar). It is important to check if the paint you choose is for indoor and/or outdoor use, depending on the application. You also want to check the finish level, which can be from matte to a high gloss, as it will affect the final look of the piece. Also important are the drying and curing times of the paint. Some say "dry to the touch" in 10 to 20 minutes, others may take an hour or longer. The "dry to the touch" is a different thing than the curing time, which refers to the complete drying of the paint from surface to bottom The taped-off areas that will not be white: notice the re-applied white vinyl stencil to the zigzag border cut from 6 mil hard vinyl because it won't stretch. The second stage is blasted: the zigzag border and outside border. The first stage carving is done, the second stage for carving is exposed (zigzag) — the outer border to be surface blasted.

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