Posts Tagged ‘cemeteries’

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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elbow-grease (2)

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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  UPGRADES: Adding A Vase      

Even after walking through a cemetery or browsing images of completed monuments online, many of our clients don’t realize just how many customized options there really are when you purchase a monument. The specific type of “upgrades” available depends completed on the type of monument you are purchasing. However, one that applies to every monument we offer is  the vase. Whether you are purchasing a single flush marker or a large custom family monument, a vase can be added to the design and often helps to complete the look of the monument.

white angel with two vases

Should I Add a Vase?

When deciding whether or not you should add a vase to your monument, there are a few things you should ask yourself. The first and most important is: Am I allowed to add a vase? I have discussed the rules and restrictions that many cemeteries place on what can and cannot be used on plots within their cemetery. These restrictions may state that a vase is not permitted. Typically, you will find that cemeteries which only allow flush markers are the only ones which may have a problem with a vase being added to the marker. In most other cases, the cemetery will allow the vase, but may still have restrictions you will need to follow. Before going any further in the decision making process, you should first verify this information. Here at Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials, we typically advise our clients to not only request a complete list of rules and regulations PRIOR to purchasing a plot in any cemetery, but to continue to request a completed list on a regular basis. This will ensure that you are aware of all restrictions, even new ones which may have been put into place after you purchased your plot.

heart vases and die single heart with one vase single upright with custom vases

Once you have checked to ensure that you are permitted to add a vase, you should then ask yourself: Am I going to use the vase? Do you currently drop flowers off at your loved one’s resting place? If not, would you if you had a vase to place them in? It is also important to remember that you can purchase artificial flowers to place in the vase if you are concerned about the vases being empty in the winter or if you cannot commit to visiting the cemetery often enough to keep fresh flowers and do not want the real flowers to wilt in the vase. The artificial flowers that are available now a days look so real that this is an option that many of our clients choose. Also keep in mind that there are vase options which will allow you to only use the vase when you choose to, storing it away when there are no flowers in it. Continue reading for more information on these options.

 

 

What Type of Vase Should I Choose?

Granite Vases

In general, there are two types of vases to choose from. The first, and the most common, is the Granite Vase. These vases come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and can be added to existing monuments. Clients will typically place either one or two vases, depending on the type of monument and the space available on the base. A granite vase is stationary and will collect rain water. In order to prevent the water from freezing, expanding and then cracking the vase, each granite vase has a small hole in the bottom back to allow the water to drain. However, because the hole is not at the very bottom, the vase will still hold enough water to keep cut flowers fresh for an extended period of time. Because a vase is not typically required by a cemetery, it is completely up to the individual client’s preference.

Granite Vases

Something unique to the granite vases is the ability to add designs. From time to time, a client has a picture or lettering that they would really like to be included on the monument, but that just doesn’t fit with the layout. When this happens one option is to add the picture or lettering to the vase. As with any granite, the granite vases can be laser etched or sandblasted, depending upon the color. Below are two examples of clients who chose this option:

rectangle etched vases rectangle etched vases 2

 

 

Metal Vases

In addition to the Granite Vase, we also offer Metal Vases. All of our metal vases are designed to “drop down” in to the monument when they are not being used, as shown below:

bronze drop down

The plus side to this is that when the vase is not in use, you can flip it over and drop it down in the monument. The cemetery may have restrictions as to when the vase can be upright. As I mentioned earlier, it is always important to request a full list of their rules and regulations. As with the granite vases, metal vases are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, in addition to the typical colors, such as black, gray and pink, the metal vases are also available in colors such as green, red and gold. These colors allow for a bit of extra personalized touch. Unfortunately, it is not as simple to add the drop down vases to an existing monument as it is the granite vases, as a hole must be drilled in order for the vase to sit in the monument and drop down correctly. Therefore, we only recommend the metal vases for new monuments.

Metal Vases

Just as the granite vases have the unique option of being able to laser etch or sandblast an image or lettering onto the vase, there is a way to use the metal vase to add a little personality to the monument. Typically, the vase is either on one or both sides of the monument, or in the case of a drop down vase, it is placed in the center or in one of the corners. Instead of choosing one of  these options, you can also choose to have the drop down vase placed on the top of the monument. This option is especially useful if the base does not have ample room to add a vase on one or either side of the upright die. A picture of one such monument is below:

drop down on top of monument

For a full list and images of all of the vase options, please visit the Flower Vase Options page of our website at: http://mikeslaseretching.com/headstone_flower_vases.html

Contact us toll free at 877-836-0332 or by email at info@mlestones.com for additional inforamtion or to place your order!

Why do some cemeteries allow any type of monument but others have strict restrictions?

Anyone who has worked in the monument business and has had to deal with cemeteries on a regular basis knows how much one cemetery’s restrictions differ from another’s. When I am contacted by a client to design a monument, one of the very first questions that I ask them is “Have you checked with the cemetery to ensure that the monument you would like to purchase is allowed?”. Sadly, many times people are not even aware that there can be restrictions on which monuments are allowed until it comes time to design and purchase one. If you have not yet purchased a burial plot for your loved one, or you are researching in order to purchase a plot and monument pre-need, please refer to my blog about what to know when purchasing a burial plot: https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/what-you-should-know-before-purchasing-a-burial-plot/

Typically, when a cemetery has restrictions on what type of monuments may be installed on their plots, it is for one of two reasons.

Religious Affiliation

The first of these reasons has to do with the cemetery’s religious affiliation. Although there are a few Baptist and Methodist cemeteries which require specific religious designs on the monuments placed within them, from our experience, Catholic cemeteries tend to be the most strict. When I am told that it is a Catholic cemetery, I can normally guarantee that the monument design is going to have to have the “praying hands” design or specific crosses. Although many cemeteries which have restrictions will bend the rules if the plot owner or their loved ones request it, Catholic cemeteries typically will not allow any exceptions to their restrictions, not matter how much a loved one begs them to reconsider.

I am not in any way “putting down” the Catholic cemeteries. From what I gather from speaking with several devout Catholics, the specific designs are required because according to their faith, even the monument on your final resting place should show your Catholic faith. The praying hands with the rosary and the specific crosses are meant to represent that you were a devout Catholic, who deserves to be in God’s good graces. Therefore, anyone who is purchasing a plot in a Catholic cemetery should know beforehand that there will most likely be severe restrictions placed upon what is and is not allowed. If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to include these Catholic symbols on your monument, it may be best for you to consider purchasing a plot in a non denominational cemetery.

Non-denominational and non religious cemeteries are typically the most laid back when it comes to the restrictions on what monuments can be placed on their plots. No matter where you live, you should be able to locate a cemetery which will allow you to have the type of monument you desire. From my research as well as what I’ve learned from working with people all over the country, you should be able to locate a non-denominational or a non religious cemetery in your area.

The only nation wide exception that I have found when it comes to the cemeteries which are the strictest is military cemeteries. Normally, there are no exceptions, ever, for any reason to what a military cemetery allows. The monuments in these cemeteries are normally a plain cross shaped upright monument or a gray flush marker with lettering for the names and dates only. But, its common knowledge that when you decide to be buried in a government run cemetery that its going to be fairly generic. That is a decision that must be made by the family. However, be sure to keep in mind that it is always possible to relocate your loved one if you do not feel comfortable with their resting place or you feel as if they are not being honored in the way they should. While this is not an easy process, it is always an option when your peace of mind is being disrupted.

Easy Maintenance

The other main reason for cemetery restrictions is to ensure easy maintenance of the cemetery. If you were to walk through an older cemetery and then take a walk through a newer one, you will most likely notice that there is much more variety in an older cemetery than in a newer one. It is only very recently that cemeteries began allowing only flush markers in their cemeteries. When a cemetery does not allow any upright or slant monuments, it is typically to ensure that the caretaker is able to quickly and easily cut the grass, without having to cut around each monument individually. When every monument in an entire cemetery is a flush marker, the caretaker needs only drive right over top of them to cut the grass. 

If your loved one’s final resting place is in a cemetery which only allows flush markers, do not get discouraged. I have had many clients contact me in tears because they felt as if they could not honor their loved one’s they way they felt they should with something as generic as a flush marker. Thanks to modern technology, we can do just about anything. Even if a cemetery requires that the flush marker be gray, or another color which does not allow laser etching, we have many options for designing a beautiful, unique memorial to your loved one.

Also, keep in mind that you can always create a memorial garden outside of the cemetery if you feel as if the monument placed on their burial plot has not done them justice. When I lost a loved one and was not able to help create the monument because their spouse did not want any suggestions, we designed a bench to honor our loved one and placed it in his mother’s garden. So, we have a place where we can go to remember him and we were able to create a beautiful memorial which truly reflected the person he was, as our final gift to him.

It is important to remember that each cemetery has a different set of rules and regulations. Prior to staring your search for the perfect monument, it is best to request a written description of these rules and regulations. In doing this, you will ensure that the monument you choose will be approved and accepted by the cemetery.

If you have any questions regarding cemetery restrictions in general, please feel free to leave a comment. To begin designing a monument for your loved one, visit our website at http://www.mikeslaseretching.com.

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The official definition of “gravestone” is ‘a stone placed on a burial plot which is often inscribed in order to mark the person or persons who are buried there’. Gravestones can also be known as grave markers, headstones, and tombstones, and more recently monuments and memorials. In earlier times, there were no community cemeteries such as there are today. Rather, people had burial plots near their family homes. These can still be seen today and are even still used by some families, so long as they still own the ancestral land. Visiting these small family cemeteries allows one to see the evolution of gravestones.

The term gravestone emerged from a Jewish custom in which the visitors to a grave used to place stones at the head as a way to honor the deceased. This custom, in turn, was inspired from an incident wherein a Jew broke the Sabbath in order to write a note so as solve a crime. Later, he felt guilty for the act, even though it was necessary. After thorough contemplation of the incident, he decided that his grave should be ‘stoned’ after his death. So, the tradition of placing stones on a grave became popular thereafter.

The earlier graves were usually marked with rough stones, rocks, or wood. These items were placed on top of the grave apparently as a way to keep the dead from rising. Typically even the wooden markers would be inscribed with the deceased’s name, age and year of death. However, some only included a name, while others were not inscribed at all.

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As churchyard burials gradually evolved, large, square-shaped tombstones prepared from slate (1650-1900) or sandstone (1650-1890) replaced the random rocks or wood used previously. The inscriptions carved on slate used to be shallow yet readable. Many of the slate gravestones are now unreadable due to the elements wearing the rock down until it was even with the shallow inscriptions.

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As public cemeteries evolved in the 19th century, people started giving importance to the gravestones, headstones, footstones, etc. as a means to memorialize the dead. Thus, they started engraving the headstones with a small epitaph or a few words about the deceased. Some of the deceased would even instruct those who would survive them of what exactly they wished to be included on their gravestone.  In addition, they bore the identifying details that had been included on the original gravestones: the date of birth, the date of death and the full name of the departed. The greatest advantage of this tradition is that by reading the inscription on a gravestone, one can derive information which is vital to tracing his or her family history.

The Victorian era (1837-1901) greatly emphasized customs and practices associated with death. So, the period gave birth to elaborate tombstones and grave markers. The cemeteries appeared more like parks as they had such lavish and decorated gravestones, resembling statues rather than the traditional gravestones. It was during this time that the inclusion of sculptured designs, artwork and symbols became popular. These symbols denoted religious beliefs, social class, occupation, and several other aspects of the life of the deceased and included:

• angels of death

• star of David

• the Dove
• Egyptian symbol Ankh
• Eye of Horus
• weeping willow tree
• maple leaf
• flowers
• horseshoe
• sword
• broken column

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Unlike these symbols, which showed a respect and anticipation for death, most tombstone symbols from the Colonial period reflected fear of afterlife as they believed that only a few people would be allowed in the Heaven after death and the rest would be categorized as sinners.

Interestingly, in the 18th century, there emerged a short-lived burial practice of covering the graves with iron cages known as mortsafes. While there are many theories as to why this practice began, there is no real explanation. Most historians agree that fear of the departed returning to them as a vampire was likely a motivator for the placement of the mortsafes. This strange practice, though, died out by the end of the Victorian era.

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The most popular materials for gravestones during this era were marble (1780-1930), granite (1860-untill date), iron, and wood. Earlier, gravestones were used only by the middle and upper classes. However, after the emergence of the new Protestant theology, even lower classes started using grave markers for commemorating the life of the departed loved.

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Today, there are a large variety of gravestones one can choose from, although nearly every one is made of granite. Some cemeteries place strict limitations as to what type of gravestone can be placed in the cemetery. Typically, these limitations and restrictions are put in place for one of two reasons. Cemeteries which only allow flush markers to be installed do so in order to prevent the ground keeper from having to mow around each individual gravestone. With the flush markers, they can simply ride right over top of the gravestone, rather than having to mow and then use a weed eater. The cemeteries which are affiliated with religious organizations will often have limitations as well. Specifically with a Catholic cemetery, there are often only a few symbols allowed on a gravestone. These symbols will normally include a specific cross, praying hands, rosaries and other religious symbols. Typically, if a gravestone is installed with symbols which are not approved, the owner of the plot will be forced to remove the gravestone and replace it with one which meets the requirements.

However, if a gravestone is being placed in a family cemetery or a cemetery which does not have limitations, there are thousands of options as to what can be installed on the burial plot. Not only are there different shapes and sizes of monuments, there are a huge variety of colors as well. With the introduction of lasers, a photo can now be duplicated onto a gravestone, so that the deceased’s image will be forever remembered. Any poem or symbol can be laser etched or sandblasted onto the gravestone. A custom design can also be ordered from a manufacturer if one finds a monument company who deals directly with the manufacturer. Anything from a guitar to a butterfly can be seen in cemeteries.

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It’s amazing how far gravestones have come since the 1500’s!  Where do you think we’ll be in another 100 years? How will gravestones change will technology evolving so quickly? Let us know what you think!

Check out our custom monuments at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/custom_orders.html