Posts Tagged ‘angel monument’

Laser Etched Monument Maintenance

Posted: June 10, 2016 in Granite, Headstone Maintenence, Help, How To, Laser Etching, Memorial Monument, Memorial Monument Inforamtion, MIke's Laser Etching, Monument Care, Online Purchasing, Sartin Memorials, Traditional Monument, Uncategorized
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Polish 2 front and back

As with anything which is sitting out in the weather, it is important to remember to maintain your Laser Etched Memorial Monument. This is an extremely easy thing to do and we recommend that you complete maintenance at least once or twice a year.  It is a very fast and easy process and will only require the following:

-A bottle of Windex

-Several soft cloths (we recommend white washcloths)

-A tube of WHITE Oil-Based Block Printing Ink (*See Below For Ordering Details)

-A razor blade if necessary

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Here at Mike’s Laser Etching, we use Speedball Oil-Based Block Printing Ink as our highlight. It is very important that you be sure that you purchase pure white ink. If you choose to purchase the Speedball brand, the color number you should order is 3553. You can order a tube of Speedball by clicking on the below link:

https://sartinmemorialsblog.com/2014/06/18/order-your-laser-etching-highlight-online/

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The first step to the 6-12 month maintenance process is to clean the monument with Windex. Liberally spray the Windex over the entire polished area of your monument. Wipe clean using circular motions and don’t be afraid to apply pressure if necessary to clear the polished area of all dirt and debris. If you find that there is tree sap or something else which is not coming off of the monument, carefully use the razor blade to scrape of the substance. Although you do need to be careful not to cut yourself, the razor blade, if used correctly, will not damage the granite.

Once you are sure the monument is free of dirt and grass, it is time to refresh your highlight. First, place several small dots of the ink on the area of the laser etching. You will notice that a little goes a long way when it comes to the highlight. For a 24″ x 12″ Flush Marker with a full laser etched scene, it will take no more than a nickel size dot of ink to cover the full laser etching.

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Once you have the ink on the stone, use your cloth to begin rubbing the highlight into the etched areas in small circular motions. You will immediately see a difference in the brightness of your laser etching. Once all of the laser etchings have been covered, use the cloth to wipe the excess ink off.  After you have removed all of the excess, throw away the cloth. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WASH THE INK OUT OF THE WASHCLOTHS.

So long as you follow these instructions and consistently maintain your monument, you will be able to enjoy the laser etched monument for years and years to come. Generations through the years will be able to appreciate the beautiful and unique monument you designed for your loved one(s) and that is our goal here at Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials.

If you are interested in learning more about our custom laser etched monuments and tiles, call us today at 877-836-0332 or email our sales team at sara@mikeslaseretching.com.

 

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When looking to purchase a monument, it is important to know the definition of several words that will be thrown around by the monument dealer. Of course, you could always ask the dealer to explain exactly what he is referring to when he says something you don’t understand. However, purchasing a monument can be like purchasing a car in that the more you appear to know about the product, the more likely the dealer will be to negotiate prices with you. So, before you call or visit a monument dealer, review the definitions below! If you would like to view images and examples of each of the definitions, feel free to visit our website: www.mikeslaseretching.com.

Angel Headstone: An upright monument that is either carved into the shape of an angel, or hand etched with an image of an angel.

Apex Top: The top of the die sloping upwards to a point from all four sides.

Base: Granite stone that forms part of a monument. The base sits on top of the foundation and supports the DIE.

Bevel: A slanting top or edge at a 45° angle.

Bevel Marker: Bevel Markers (also referred to as slant markers, hickey markers, or pillow markers) are designed to sit above the ground when installed. They are slanted from the back to the front to allow water to run off the marker and help them stay cleaner than a flush marker.

Bronze Marker: A memorial which is cast out of bronze. Bronze markers are mounted to granite or cement bases.

Columbarium: A building or structure constructed within a cemetery to hold cremated remains within Niches.

Companion Upright: A companion upright is usually used for a double plot and consists of 2 pieces. Sizes vary. These are also referred to as companion monuments, companion headstones, companion tombstones, companion memorials, double headstones, double tombstones, etc.

Die: The granite stone that forms part of a monument, and is installed on a base. Usually this is where names dates, etc are listed on the headstone.

Family Lot / Plot: A lot that consists of two or more adjoining graves, the burial privileges for each individual lot are all held by the same owner.

Flush Marker: Granite markers that lay flat with the ground. They are generally 24″ x 12″ but can be larger or smaller depending upon individual cemetery or memorial park requirements. Usually 4″ in thickness, different thicknesses do exist and are suitable so long as they fall within the cemetery’s regulations. Flush markers are also referred to as flat markers, grave markers, burial markers, and footstones.

Foundation / Footer: The concrete footing on which a monument is erected, designed to support the monument. Many cemeteries prefer to set the footer themselves, rather than allowing the monument company to set it. The monument may not be installed until the footer is set and stable.

Frost: To lightly remove polished surface of granite by sandblasting.

Government Marker / Veteran’s Marker: A flat marker supplied by the U.S. government for the grave of a veteran.

Hand Etching: An etching tool with a diamond tip is used to “scratch” the polished surface of the monument. Because this is done by hand, it is not possible to create an image that is the exact duplicate of a picture, as a hand etching cannot be as detailed as a laser etching.

Laser Etching: The design which is to be etched onto the monument is loaded into the laser, which will be used rather than a diamond tipped hand tool. Once this is finished, the laser hits the granite with a 8000 degree beam of light in a burst lasting approximately one ten thousandth of a second. The heat of the beam explodes a dot on the surface of the monument, permanently removing the polished surface of the granite. With the size of this dot being so small, an extremely detailed photographed can be duplicated exactly onto the monument using the laser.

Ledgers: Memorials that cover an entire grave. Although they are low to the ground, their size allows for extensive decoration and long inscriptions. Mike’s Laser Etching offers ledgers by special order only.

Lot / Lots: One or more adjoining graves, crypts, or niches.

Mausoleum: A private mausoleum is a granite building with stained glass windows and a bronze door. There are also smaller versions available without doors or windows. Mike’s Laser Etching offers mausoleums by special order only.

Memorial Bench: Granite memorial benches serve as enduring memorials dedicating a park or other suitable location. They can also be used as cemetery memorials. Granite benches are growing in popularity, as they are functional and beautiful.

Monument: A memorial that is a flat marker, slant marker, an upright, or a bench.

Niche: A space or spaces within a columbarium used, or intended to be used, for the above ground inurnment of cremated remains.

Polished Margin: A polished area which is approximately 1” in height, that surrounds a base on all four sides.

Polish Number: Referring to number of sides on a DIE that have been polished to a mirrored glass.

  • Polish 1: Front of die polished, back sawn out, sides & top rock pitched.
  • Polish 2: Front & back of die polished, sides & top rock pitched.
  • Polish 3: Front, back, & top of die polished, sides rock pitched.
  • Polish 5: All polished die.

Rock Pitch / Rock Face: Way of breaking so the edge of granite has bold projections and depressions, creates a straight line with an irregular facing.

Sandblasting: A flat sheet of rubber (a mat) is placed on the granite and the design is then cut out of the rubber. Many companies who own a laser etcher will use the laser to cut out the design on the mat. If they have no access to a laser, this must be done by hand. Fine particles of abrasive are then blown by air pressure against the monument. This abrasive cuts away the granite not protected by the rubber mat. The rubber is then removed, leaving behind a beautiful design on the monument. Finishing touches are then done by hand.

Sawn: Granite cut with a saw, straight medium to smoothish surface with duller ink color than the polished surface.

Serpentine Top: A reverse curved surface.

Single Upright: Upright headstones are the most common type of cemetery memorial used today. A single upright is usually used for a single plot and consists of 2 pieces. The top piece is much larger and is called a “die.” The die is typically 24″ tall x 8″ thick x 20″ wide but can be custom made at any size. The bottom piece is known as a “base” and is typically 6″ tall x 12″ thick x 32″ wide. These are also referred to as single tombstones, single headstones, single memorials, single monuments, and single upright grave markers.

Slants: Slants typically stand 16″ to 18″ in height with the front slanting or sloping back at a 45 degree angle. These are also referred to as slant headstones, slant gravestones, and slant tombstones.

Upright Monument: A monument that consists of a base and an upright die.

The completed monument for Angel Reil

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Prior to any designs being sandblasted or laser etched onto a monument, the front and back of a monument is typically polished. There are some exceptions to this, such as when the back of a monument is rock pitched (not smooth). The sides of the monuments may or may not be polished, depending on the desired effect. However, any area on which a design or lettering is to be placed must first be polished. Polishing the granite creates a dark and shiny effect. The areas which are not polished look much lighter and dull when compared to the polished areas. The granite being polished allows for a much higher contrast once designs and lettering are sandblasted and/or laser etched into the surface.

What is sandblasting?

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Sandblasting is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of fine sand against the surface of the granite under high pressure. This process removes the polished layer of the granite to reveal the unpolished granite underneath. When sandblasting, the lettering and designs are first all blasted to the same depth by a machine. In order to sandblast a monument, it must first be designed by a graphic artist. The artist will use vector software such as Monucad to create a file containing the lettering and designs that will be sandblasted onto the headstone. Only simple lettering and designs, often referred to as Line Art, can be sandblasted, as it is not possible to create small details using this method. Photos cannot be sandblasted.

In order to get the design and lettering needed, they are first cut into a rubber “mat”. This process can be done by hand or by machine. Here at Mike’s Laser Etching, we currently use our Vytek LSTAR Laser to cut the mats in a step we call Vector Cutting. The design and lettering must then be handpicked from the back of the stencil so the sand can cut it once it is in the sandblaster.  The headstone is placed on the workbench and stencil filler is applied to the front surface. The mat is then placed on the front of the headstone and is held in place by the stencil filler. The monument is then placed into the sandblasting cabinet, which will then propel the sand against all surfaces which are exposed and not covered by the mat.

Once all the designs and lettering are at the same depth, the monument is removed from the cabinet. At this point, a specialist hand shapes using abrasive air to create a smoother look to the lettering and to add additional detail which the machine is not capable of. The remainder of the stencil is then removed and the stone is cleaned to reveal the finished headstone. If an even higher level of contrast is desired, color can be added to the deepest areas of the designs and lettering.

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What color granite can be sandblasted?

Any color of granite can be sandblasted. However, when sandblasting an extremely light color of granite, such as white pearl, it is necessary to add color in order to ensure the design and lettering are visible. This is because the polished and unpolished surfaces of such light color granite are so similar that additional contrast is needed.

What is laser etching?

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The laser etching process removes the polished surface of the granite using a high powered laser to show the unpolished granite beneath in varying depths to create the image. You can think of the laser etching machine as a big printer, since the majority of the work is done on a computer and then sent to the laser for “printing”.  In order to produce a granite etching, it must first be designed by a graphic artist. The artist will use photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop to create a BMP file containing the lettering, designs, & photos that are to be laser etched on the monument. Designs and photos must be carefully enhanced by the graphic artist so fine details such as the outline of a nose or teeth are visible in the granite engraving or marble etching.

The white and gray areas of the design are where the laser etches and the black areas are where no etching occurs and the black granite remains. This is why when a photo of someone with black or brown hair is etched a lighter background or soft glow outline around them is required to show where their hair starts and the background begins. The rest of the process involves the laser only. This process makes permanent photos on headstones possible.

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What colors can be laser etched?

Darker colors of granite are the best colors to laser etch because the darker colors create a better contrast between the gravestone and the image and bring out the most detail in pictures. Essentially, laser etching is likened to creating a grey-scale image that is emblazoned on the surface of the headstone. Grey-scale images work best against a dark background. With lighter shades of granite (such as beige), the colors barely bring out enough detail to discern the image from the granite. While lighter color granites do polish to a slightly darker tone, it does not bring out the breadth of detail that darker granites (such as black) do. Grey colored granite can be etched if it has a nice, even polished finish on the surface of the gravestone, but it also depends upon the type of etching that needs to be done.

Sometimes people choose to etch symbols and grave details into their gravestone markers, which is perfectly fine. However, most people will choose to etch very beautiful digital pictures of their loved ones or even photographs of hobbies or activities they enjoyed doing while alive. For example, if you’re loved one enjoyed fishing, an appropriate laser etch could include a photograph of your loved one fishing or a scenic image of their favorite fishing spot.

Laser etching adds a beautiful finish to the gravestone and a unique twist on the traditional concept of memorial designs. By selecting laser etching, you’re creating a distinct, creative headstone for your loved one’s legacy.

What options do I have if I want light colored granite but would still like a picture of my loved one included in the design?

Do not be discouraged! It is extremely common for our clients to request that a picture be added to a light colored monument. We have two options for doing so, and both are beautiful.

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The first option is to add a porcelain portrait to the design. Our Porcelain Portraits are created using the highest quality of 100% Italian Porcelain. We can use nearly any picture you would like, so long as the quality is good enough. The image can be done in color or in black and white and we can even edit out a background or a random hand or object that has appeared in the image.  When ordering a Porcelain Portrait with a monument, we will inlay the porcelain into the monument so that it sits flush with the granite. The Porcelain Portraits have a lifetime guarantee and are guaranteed to not fade or crack when exposed to the elements for hundreds of years.

For more information on our Porcelain Portraits, visit our website at:  http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/ceramic_portraits.html

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The other option for including an image on a light colored monument would be to add a Laser Etched Marble Portrait. These portraits are Laser Etched onto high quality marble and can also be inlaid into the monument in order to lay flush with the granite. Again, we can edit the image if you would like the background or an object removed. However, just like a laser etched monument, the final product would be a black and white image. If you would prefer the black and white, the Laser Etched Portraits are a perfect option for you and they are also guaranteed not to fade or crack!

For more information on our Laser Etched Portraits, visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_etched_marble.html

Can I do a combination of both laser etching and sandblasting?

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Yes! We have created many designs which included both laser etching and sandblasting. These monuments were typically dark colored granite, as the laser etching cannot be done on a light colored granite. Each monument we design is completely customized using the information you provide us. If you would like to include both laser etching and sandblasting aspects into your design, all you need to do is let us know. Once we have an understanding of the desired outcome, we will review the options with you.

Contact us at 877-836-0332 or by email at info@mlestones.com!

If you can imagine it, we can create it!

To see pictures of some of our completed monuments, please visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/portfolio.html

 

Have you ever considered what you would look for when purchasing a burial plot? If not, don’t feel bad. Not many people have.

Thankfully, these topics are becoming much less taboo, allowing people to have conversations with friends and loved ones, discussing exactly what it is that they want done. Although many people used to think of a will or life insurance as something that their grandparents needed to worry about, we are now seeing the younger generation begin to prepare for an untimely passing. When you’ve lost a loved one, getting through the day is already difficult enough as it is, without having to plan a funeral and find a burial plot. No matter how old you are, you’re never too young to go ahead and arrange everything now, so that when you do pass, it will be just a little bit easier on your loved ones.

One of the biggest decisions that must be made is one that is often forgotten: Where will your final resting place be? For some, this may seem like an easy question. Maybe your entire family is buried in a family plot in the cemetery in the middle of the town you live in. Or, maybe the church you attend has a cemetery and you would like to be buried there. However, for those of you who don’t have a clue where to even begin, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind when looking for the perfect final resting place.

Does the cemetery require that all monuments be purchased from them or from a specific monument dealer?
This is extremely important. I’ve heard from so many people that when they purchased a plot from a cemetery, no one told them that they would have to order the monument through the cemetery or a designated company. When it came time to place a monument, they would contact another company about working with them, only to discover when they called the cemetery for verification, they could not work with the company they had chosen themselves. When a cemetery requires that monuments be purchased from them, many times you will find that the price being charged for their monument is much more than the price from an independent monument dealer. Often times, they will even charge an additional fee for every single letter placed on the monument. As with any company, if they know the customer has no choice but to work with them, they are not going to provide the best customer service, their prices are not going to be competitive and they are not going to be as concerned about ensuring customer satisfaction.

Keep in mind, even if the cemetery advises that you may purchase the monument anywhere you’d like when you are purchasing the plot, they may decide to change this policy after you’ve purchased the plot but before you’ve purchased and installed the monument. In order to ensure that this does not happen, try to get in writing that you may purchase the monument from any company that you’d like and have the person in charge of the cemetery sign this statement. You have to remember, although it may not look like it, a cemetery IS a business. And, the ultimate goal of any business is to make a profit.

What type of monuments are allowed in the cemetery? Can you have an upright, custom, flush, or any other type of monument you choose?
If a cemetery only allows specific types of monuments, you can often tell by just riding past and taking a look at what is currently installed. When there are absolutely no upright monuments, most likely only flush markers are allowed in this cemetery. You may be asking yourself “Why would a cemetery only allow flush markers?”. The answer is simple: It makes it easier on them. When it comes time to mow the grass in a cemetery, having a flush marker means that the mower can go right over top of the monument. In a cemetery where there are upright, slants, etc, the person mowing the grass would have to go around the monuments and then go back to finish up with a weed eater. I have spoken with several cemeteries who have also informed me that allowing only one type of monument gives the cemetery a more “put together” look. Although a flush marker places several limitations as to what can be done to the monument, there are still plenty of ways to personalize them. So long as there are no restrictions as to what can be placed on the marker, get creative! Make the flush marker a reflection of you and your life!

Is the cemetery affiliated with a church? If so, which one and what denomination is it?
This is important to know because depending upon the denomination, there may be strict restrictions as to what can and cannot be done. Prior to any monument being placed in the cemetery, a preview of what the design will look like has to be forwarded to the cemetery for approval. If any “forbidden” images or symbols are included on the monument, they will not approve the placement and the design must be redone to fit their requirements. For example, many Catholic cemeteries only allow religious symbols on the monuments placed in their cemeteries. This means that you cannot represent a favorite hobby or include a nature scene in the background. These same cemeteries will only allow specific fonts for the lettering, nothing fancy, no script. They may even require that you place a specific cross or other religious symbol on the monument. I have seen widows and widowers beg those in charge of the cemetery to allow them to place something sentimental on the stone, and still get nowhere. All of the monuments in these cemeteries look the same, with only the names, dates and stone color being different. So, if you want to personalize the monument placed on your plot, a cemetery with these types of restrictions would not be the best option for you.

Do you have to pay the cemetery to place the footer? If so, what is the cost and how long does it take?
A footer is basically a slab of concrete placed below the ground, on which a monument will be placed. The footer ensures that the monument does not settle or sink into the ground, which could cause damage to the monument. Most monument dealers will include the price of the footer in the total cost of the monument. Here at Mike’s Laser Etching, the price quoted includes the installation of a footer and the delivery and installation of the monument. However, some cemeteries will not allow a monument dealer to install the footer. When this is the case, a fee must be paid to the cemetery or to their contractor in order for the footer to be installed. Typically, when we are permitted to install the footer and the monument, everything is in place within just a few weeks of the payment in full and the design approval. However, when the cemetery does not allow us to do the footer, it can take much longer than this. Whereas we have an employee whose entire job is installing footers and monuments, a cemetery has no such person and therefore the footer will be installed when their contractor has time to come do it. The price they will charge can vary drastically, so it’s always important to ask about this upfront.

Are there restricted visiting hours? Is the cemetery closed on holidays?
You would think that a cemetery would be open to visitors anytime they wished to visit the resting place of a loved one. In fact, I’m almost positive that up until a few years ago, this was the case. While some cemeteries still allow anyone to walk through them, anytime day or night, some have not begun to lock their gates. Typically, this is done because the cemetery has been suffering from vandalism or theft. However, if your family has special traditions that are followed, you want to make sure that you will have access to your loved one’s resting place whenever you need to.

Can decorations be placed around the monuments and staked on the plot? Can a light be placed on the monument?
If you plan on placing or planting flowers on the plot, or staking a flag into the ground next to the monument, it is important to find out if this allowed. I learned the hard way that you always need to verify restrictions with the cemetery after I lost a wind chime I had placed on a plot. Typically, if the cemetery does not require that all monuments be flush markers, then it’s likely that they will allow a variety of decorations. When only flush markers are allowed and you live in an area where winters are cold, the cemetery may allow you to place decorations on the plot during the winter months because they are not mowing. If this is the case however, be sure to verify the date that all decorations must be removed. Otherwise, you will probably discover that everything you had left has been thrown away the first time they mowed. When it comes to what you can and can’t place in the cemetery, the most important thing to remember is to ask. Every cemetery is different and something that you might think wouldn’t be a problem, may turn out to be an issue.

Once you’ve found the perfect place, be sure to ask:
-how many plots are there still available for purchase?
-how much larger does the cemetery plan on becoming?
-are their companion plots side by side or stacked?

Never assume and always get everything in writing. Read the fine print, even if the documents you’re signing have been explained to you. And, most importantly, never settle. If this is going to be your or your loved one’s final resting place, you want to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want!

Also, don’t forget that you can even design your own monument! You can make sure that you get exactly what you want. Families will often disagree on what type of monument to choose, as well as what design should be placed on it. In order to avoid any added stress, many people are now not only purchasing their plot, but purchasing the monument as well. If you would like to take a look at our monuments, visit our website: www.mikeslaseretching.com.

Passing on Savings!

Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials provides the highest quality monument memorials for the lowest possible pricing. This is possible because we work directly with the stone manufacturers in Europe and Asia to ship their products to our shop in St. George’s, Delaware. By doing this, we are able to pass on the discount we receive by ordering wholesale to our customers. Most other monument and memorial dealers in the United States do not order directly from the manufacturers, but instead order from a local wholesaler who has ordered from the manufacturer. This “middle man” of course charges the fee to the local retail monument dealers who order from them, thus causing a tremendous increase in the price the retail dealer is paying for the stone. This increase is then passed on to their customer, causing the customer to pay as much as 75% more than what the original wholesale company paid the manufacturer. 

In addition to the ability to receive a much lower price, there are several other benefits our customers receive from Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials ordering directly from the manufacturer. If a customer is unable to locate the exact memorial they would like to display at their loved one’s resting place in our extensive inventory, we are able to order a custom monument directly from the manufacturer! We are able to provide our clients a custom monument design taken from a picture, a drawing, a graphic design, etc. Some of our most amazing custom monuments have been a dragon and a butterfly. Look on the “Inventory” and then the “Custom” page for pictures of the finished monument!

Here at Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials, we are also able to provide our customers with the most up to date monument designs much sooner than the retail dealers who must wait for their wholesale buyers to purchase a crate full of these new designs. Our owner orders a crate full of a variety of both new, traditional and custom monuments rather than ordering a crate full of only one type of monument, as most wholesale buyers do. When the newest cremation benches were being designed, Mike’s Laser Etching was one of the first companies in the United States to have them in stock to offer to customers. We are proud to be able to offer the customer service of a retail dealer with the services and inventory of a wholesale buyer.

We are so confident in our prices, that we offer a Lowest Price Guarantee! If you receive a lower quote from a competitor, we’ll beat their price on any identical in stock headstone or send you a free porcelain photo (valued at over $200). The porcelain photo can either be added to an existing headstone or displayed in the home! Its your choice!