Posts Tagged ‘tombstone’

Here is the completed monument for Anton Tracy Buckheit! Feel free to share the link with your friends and family. Keep in mind that this picture was taken before the stone was installed in the cemetery.

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There is a large variety of designs which can be laser etched or sandblasted onto your monument. The type of design you can use depends on the type of monument you have chosen. To find out which method must be used on your monument, please read the following blog:

https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/question-of-the-week-what-color-granite-should-i-choose-for-my-monument/

To review our Sandblasting Designs, please click the following link, which will take you to the Sandblasting Designs page of our website.

http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/traditional_designs.html

To review our Laser Etched Designs, please click the following link, which will take you to the Laser Etched Designs page of our website.

http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_designs.html

Please keep in mind that all monuments which can be laser etched, can also be sandblasted. You are only limited when your monument requires only sandblasting.

If you have any questions regarding designing your monument, or to get started placing your order today, please call us at 877-836-0332 or send us an email at info@mlestones.com.

Over the past decade, the amount of products available for online purchasing has increased from 20% to 98%. Even things that you would not think possible can now be purchased online. Everything from DVD’s to clothes to groceries can be purchased online and delivered to your door!

Monuments are no exception to this. Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials offers monuments which are available for purchase online. Although there are some people who prefer to physically go to the monument dealer, many people prefer to contact us through email. 

When you choose to work with the monument dealer in person, you must take time out of your day to drive to the monument dealer’s office. Once there, you then sit in the office while the graphic artist designs the monument. When you work with us online, you simply provide us with the product number of the monument you wish to purchase, along with the information to be included on the monument and any design numbers you would like added. We will take the information and create a preview, which is then emailed to you for review. If there is something you are not satisfied with, you simply have to respond to the email with the changes you would made. The updates will be made to the preview and we will forward it to you for approval.

If there are several family members who have come together to purchase the monument, and who all want a say in what the monument looks like, designing the monument online is much more convenient then trying to find a time when everyone can make it to the office together. Each person can advise the graphic artist as to what they would like the monument to look like and the graphic artist can take all of the suggestions and create a preview which will best satisfy everyone involved. By working through email, each person can take their time to review the previews and talk with each other about what they like or don’t like.

In addition to the convenience of ordering a monument online, there is also a money aspect. All of our customers will notice that the prices we offer are lower than most other local or online monument dealers. We order our monument directly from Europe and Asia, rather than working with a wholesale dealer in the United States. By cutting out the “middle man”, we pay a lower price. This allows us to pass the savings on to our clients. We also frequently offer online specials and clearances, so it is always good to take a look at our website, http://www.mikeslaseretching.com, to see what specials we are currently offering.

No matter where in the United States you live, Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials can work with you to create a unique and beautiful memorial for you loved one! Contact us today to get started on designing your monument!

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.

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

 

Question of the Week!

Posted: July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Mike’s Laser Etching has decided to do a weekly post for our readers. Each week, the staff here at Mike’s Laser Etching will be choosing a frequently asked question to answer for you. This week, our question is:

“Is it okay to pick out, design and purchase your own monument?”

This is a question that we get a lot. Up until recently, even speaking about a monument, (aka tombstone, memorial, gravestone, grave marker, etc) was taboo. Anything to do with death was never really discussed because it was such an uncomfortable topic. Thankfully, the newer generations have come to realize that even if you never discuss death, it is inevitable for everyone. Not only does this mean that people are purchasing life insurance and creating wills, it has also caused an increase in the number of people who are pre-purchasing their burial plots as well as their monuments. If you were to ask anyone who works in the funeral and monument business if they have pre-planned all of their arrangements, they will more than likely tell you that they have. There are several reasons for this.

If you have ever lost a loved one, and then had a large family, of which each individual had their own opinions about how things should happen, then you will understand the first major reason why we prefer to arrange everything ourselves. If every family member believes that things should be done their way, this can cause huge falling outs during a time when the family should be coming together to support each other and grieve for their lost loved one. I have seen families become so angry with one another, that they have ended up going to court to decide what should be done. After witnessing this, I recommend that everyone make it known exactly what you want when you pass. If possible, purchase and design your own monument. So long as your burial plot has been purchased, the monument you design can be placed on the plot long before you pass away. If you can save your family from the inevitable arguing designing a monument causes, why not just take care of it yourself?

Have you ever gone to visit a burial site of a close friend or loved one and when you saw the monument the family chose and designed, you knew that your friend or loved one would NEVER have chosen it themselves? This is something that I have seen more often then you might think. In one case, a 42 year old woman passed away and her parents designed her monument. Although her children hated it and insisted that their mother would have hated the design, since they were underage, there was nothing they could do about it. The children waited until their grandparents passed away, removed the original monument and replaced it with one they had designed to reflect the person their mother really was. Had their mother purchased and designed the monument herself, it would have not only prevented the tension between her children and parents, but it would have saved them from essentially paying double by purchasing two monuments.

If you have ever purchased a monument, you will know that it is not like picking out what to have for lunch. Instead, it is more like purchasing a car. Purchasing a monument on top of paying for a funeral can cause severe financial strain on family members. Even if you have life insurance, the amount they receive may only be enough to cover the funeral expenses. For many people, purchasing and installing a monument at the burial site is urgent because they not only feel it is disrespectful for visitors to be unable to find the person they love, but the thought of their loved one being in an “unmarked grave” is extremely unnerving. In the rush to get a monument installed, they can end up regretting the monument they chose because they did not think about it long enough, rather than taking the time to save the money to purchase the monument, they may wipe out their savings, not knowing if there will be an emergency before they can replenish the funds or they could even end up paying much more then a monument is worth by purchasing a monument off of the first dealer they find without researching the prices of other dealers. By pre-purchasing and designing your own monument, you are relieving your family of the extra stress that would be put on them if you had not. Rather than passing on the added stress of making these decisions, you are ensuring that they will be able to grieve for you long before anything ever happens.

When I tell people that, at 27, I have already designed my own monument, more often then not, they look at me like I am crazy. However, after I have explained why I have done so, most of them tell me that they are going to go home and begin researching so that they can do the same. There is nothing wrong with planning for death. There is not a single person alive who can avoid eventually passing away. So, why not plan for it to ensure that everything goes the way you would like it?

Please keep in mind that the date of passing CAN be added to the monument AFTER it has been installed. So, it is not necessary to wait for the person or people the monument is for to have passed in order to design the monument!

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To browse through a large variety of monuments, visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/index.html. In addition to the monuments shown, we can also order custom monuments. To view some of our custom monuments, visit the Custom Monuments page at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/custom_orders.html. We can design a monument off of any image or design you provide. If you have an idea of what you would like for your custom monument, but do not have a drawing, please let us know as we have an artist who can create a custom design for your review.

Once you have chosen the monument you would like, forward your information (including your name as you would like it to appear on the monument, your date of birth, any images or designs you would like included, the shape and size of any porcelain portraits you would like included in the design along with the image to be used and any designs or information you would like included on the back of the monument) to us and we will create a free preview for your review. The preview will allow you to see what the exact layout will be on the finished monument.

We look forward to working with you soon!

Memorial Definitions You NEED TO KNOW!

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 they say something you don’t understand. However, at some monument companies, 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: http://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