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Birkendale Photo Gallery >>> Processing Stone

Stone is processed into a finished product by hand and machine at Birkendale. The stone is split into flagstone by hand.

The guillotine (say 'gill-o-teen') allows flexibility in finished products which has allowed us to expand our product base to include ledgerock, building stone, mantels and more. This guillotine is diesel powered with a straight six 425 hp isuzu engine that produce 800 tons of pressure per square inch. Its lift bar extends 8 feet with an opening of 5 feet wide. The four hydraulic conveyers are able to handle 20 tons at a time.

Click on any of the thumbnails (small images) to see a larger view of the graphic.

A stone selected for its good grains or lines is set up to be split into flagstone slabs. Experienced splitters 'hit' the line advancing the split until the whole slab separates from the rest of the stone. We have many splitters like this who spend their workday splitting flagstone.

Hand Split Stone (Image 1 of 2)
The stone in this picture and the following picture have been split by hand.

Hand Split Stone (Image 2 of 2)
The stone is hand split according to the grain lines on each piece. This piece was almost four feet high and split into three.

Raw materials from holding areas are transported by loader and placed on the guillotine for shaping. Hydraulic conveyer feeds materials.

After the rock is identified for a specific finished product, the rock is measured and marked for shaping according to specification. This stone was sheared into two slabs measuring 5' X 18" and then was split by hand. Some stones are shaped into products and then split. The 800 tons shear allows us to make better edges to strike for our splitters. This process lends to easier splitting and fewer cuts on the guillotine per finished product.

The operator is setting the teeth of the guillotine to square this rock into a 5' X 18" tread for a landscape stairway. The teeth of the machine form to the rock. The upper 'jaw' then pushes on the stone until it shears from the pressure.

When the stone has been sheared, the waste products from the cut are sent to the scrap pile, stone that must be split by hand is sent to the splitters and the finished products are skidded, weighed, wrapped and placed in inventory or on the loading area.


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