How is cemetery lettering done/what's the process?
A customer will contact us letting us know they need new lettering added to their headstone. Once we have the new lettering details, we will visit the stone to take measurements and get a "rubbing" of the existing lettering. A rubbing helps ensure that the new lettering we are adding will match the format, font, size, and spacing of the existing lettering. Each line of text, each word, is scrutinized and measured so the new lettering is an exact match of what is already on the stone. Working off the rubbing, we create a drawing of the new lettering using a CAD (computer aided design) program. The text is cut into a rubber stencil which will be used in the final engraving process; each character cut into the new stencil then gets removed, so what is left is a rubber template that shows the new engraving details. We take the rubber stencil back to the headstone, and after taking another series of measurements, the stencil gets applied to the headstone. After a final review, the headstone is ready to be engraved. Using a sandblast process, each character is engraved to a specific depth, which is usually based on the depth of the existing lettering, which again, ensures the new lettering looks as close to the original as possible. When the sandblast work is finished, each character is again inspected for consistency and Lithochrome is applied if applicable. The stencil is removed, and the new lettering area is cleaned of any residue left behind from the rubber stencil.
When is the best time of year to have lettering done?
Because engraving work is done outdoors and there are a number of variables to consider, such as the equipment we use and the chemicals with which we work that only function above the freezing mark, it is best to have this work done when the weather is mild (at least 50 degrees) and dry. The outdoor engraving season typically starts in early spring and ends around mid-November (weather permitting).
Do you have to remove the stone to do the work?
No. All of our work is done onsite wherever the stone is. The equipment is totally portable, so we can access the stone wherever it is.
What font styles can be used?
With the technological improvements in monument design software, we are able to match any font you need so you can rest assured that the new engravings will be an exact match of the older engraving on your family's stone.