Posts Tagged ‘online monument dealers’

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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How accurate are the previews that you provide to clients? Does the finished stone actually look like the preview?

We get this question a lot. I think the best way to answer it is to provide a few examples of the preview with a photo of the finished monument.

 

BOUKNIGHT 24″ x 14″ India Black Flush Marker with Sandblasted Gold Lettering & Laser Etched Lettering and Design Preview:

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BOUKNIGHT 24″ x 14″ India Black Flush Marker with Sandblasted Gold Lettering & Laser Etched Lettering and Design Completed Monument:

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PROCTOR Single Upright Carnation Pink with Custom Rose in Heart with Sandblasted Lettering Preview

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PROCTOR Single Upright Carnation Pink with Custom Rose in Heart with Sandblasted Lettering Complete Monument:

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CHANDLER 24″ x 12″ Forest Green Flush Marker with Pine Cone Design and Sandblasted Lettering Preview:

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CHANDLER 24″ x 12″ Forest Green Flush Marker with Pine Cone Design and Sandblasted Lettering Complete Monument:

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CARRIER Single Jet Black Upright with Custom Laser Etched Design and Lettering Preview:

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CARRIER Single Jet Black Upright with Custom Laser Etched Design and Lettering Completed Monument:

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DUTTON Single Gray Upright with Sandblasted Lettering and Custom Design Preview:

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DUTTON Single Gray Upright with Sandblasted Lettering and Custom Design Completed Monument:

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STRAWBRIDGE MK80 24″ x 24″ Jet Black Upright with Custom Beveled Edges and Laser Etched Lettering and Design Preview:

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STRAWBRIDGE MK80 24″ x 24″ Jet Black Upright with Custom Beveled Edges and Laser Etched Lettering and Design Completed Monument:

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Our monuments come with a guarantee that they will be installed into the cemetery in perfect condition*. We were contacted by Ms. Carroll regarding her son Sean’s monument, as there were scratches on the stone at the time of installation. Although our Setting Crew works diligently to ensure all monuments are handled with the up most care, there may from time to time be circumstances which are beyond their control in which something is missed. In these cases, we uphold our commitment to customer satisfaction by replacing the damaged monument.

Unfortunately, that was the case with Ms. Carroll’s monument. The moment Heather & Sara were notified of the issue, we took action to get it corrected as soon as possible. After determining that it would be more prudent to replace the monument, rather than attempt to repair the scratches, we immediately placed a marker, identical to the original one purchased, in line to be sandblasted and etched (Ms. Carroll’s monument design used a combination of both methods).

The replacement monument is below:

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After a monument is shipped out (for online sales) or installed (for local sales), we always ask our clients to give us a call to let us know what they think of the completed monument. No matter how many previews and pictures you have seen of your completed monument, there is nothing quite like seeing it in person. The staff of Mike’s Laser Etching want to ensure that your loved one is honored with a beautiful, unique and flawless monument.

*Please Note: This does not apply to monuments purchased at a discounted price due to damage. When purchasing a monument from our clearance section, please be sure to review the listed damage to ensure you will be satisfied with the completed monument.  All clearance items are purchased as is. Any damage existing at the time of purchase does not qualify the monument for replacement or repair. If you are purchasing the clearance item without viewing it in person, we will be happy to forward pictures of all angles of the stone, pointing out all of the damage.

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