PRESCOTT STONE OFFERS REGIONAL SOAPSTONE
In response to requests for regionally quarried materials, the principals of our company have committed to locating and offering stone quarried in our region.
Earlier this year we began this process by visiting a regional soapstone quarry. The majority of soapstone fabricated in the United States is imported from Brazil. (Even well recognized New England companies are importing their soapstone!) The company we visited is fewer than 170 miles from Durham and is the only active soapstone quarry in the United States. They provide a variety of soapstone in different colors and patterns which are obtained from various quarries on their property. Currently, the color available encompasses gray tones, all of which can range within the same block of stone. Some of the stones are black-gray and some are black subtle-green. The presence of veins is unpredictable; sometimes they are present and sometimes not.
The quarries have been in existence since the late 1800’s. Until recently, the operation was harvesting old blocks that have been there for decades. Currently, the stone is obtained from 200-300 yard wide “ribbons” which go very deep into the earth and from which blocks are cut using core drills and a diamond wire saw. There is no blasting and the state department of mining closely monitors the sites for compliance with state regulations. We were told that there is an abundance of wildlife at the quarries as their access is tightly controlled with no hunting, etc. A water recycling system is in use at the plant and the plant employees were all using proper personal safety equipment. The employees are paid a good wage and enjoy full benefits inclusive of health insurance. Local artisans work at the facility rendering sculptures and other works of art.
The predictable performance of soapstone is well documented and it lends a natural beauty to a variety of decors be they historic or contemporary. Maintenance is minimal with the application of mineral oil being the only requirement (some people forgo this and simply keep the stone untreated).
We would love to show you samples of the stone currently available. Prescott Stone can obtain large slabs of this beautiful material to fabricate islands and counters with few, if any, seams. Please call us to set up a time to come by and see this material: 598-7509.
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