I recently took a family vacation to the state of Vermont- land of maple syrup, exceptional cheese, lush green mountains, cabins on lakes and granite. Lots of granite. So of course, I had to steer everyone to Barre and the Rock of Ages quarry (http://www.rockofages.com/). The tour led us up a mountain road to this overlook where a volunteer told us of the history, quarrying procedure and answered questions.
While the quarry is certainly impressive, the manufacturing facility is mind blowing! Dozens of craftsmen chipping, chiseling, grinding, polishing, laying up and sandblasting gravestones and monuments in assembly line fashion. It was neat to see the same process I use at Striking Stone at such an exaggerated industrial and high volume scale. The automated blast rooms are bigger than most SUVs! While I can appreciate the need for such efficiency, I will always prefer to blast by hand.
At the end of the tour, and for a bit more cash, you can choose your own small pre-masked slab of granite to sandblast. Of course the young ones had to do it, though the oldest had used my shop before, and had to remark: “They got the pressure too low- it took me forever to blast that thing!”