Marble: the processing techniques

The marble of Carrara, once divided into blocks, is sent to the ships waiting for it in the port that transport it all across the world, or it is moved to the workshops that will turn the stone material in a processed product.

One of the main destinations of the blocks is constituted by the sawing factories all across the Apuan industrial area: these are workshops in which the marble is sawed and turned into slabs of various thickness. The sawing operation is done by using different tools: the most common ones are the diamond disc block cutter and multi wire or multi blade gangsaws, with wires or blades whose distance can be adjusted to obtain slabs or stripes with the desired thickness. There are also machines which carry out the rough-hewing work on blocks, if these are for the sculpture workshops that will turn them into art pieces.

Another operation that is done on the block to be processed is the polishing: slabs are treated by polishing machines, which apply abrasive materials on the marble surface to smooth (this operation is necessary to flatten the surface and eliminate possible asperities) and polish it, to exalt colours and patterns of the material. It is not a simple operation, because an error in the machinery programming can lead to non-uniform results. Generally, polishing is done on slabs which will be used for flooring.

Slabs can be reduced into smaller planks, by using cutters, machines that cut the rough slabs into smaller elements of pre-determined dimensions for the most various uses.