[Sca-cooks] Food and kitchen related stone and shell work

Daniel & Elizabeth Phelps dephelps at embarqmail.com
Wed Jul 9 16:22:43 PDT 2008

Was asked:
> --How stones were split or smoothed to get flat surfaces for floors

Some stone naturally parts along bedding planes, some sand stones, often 
called flag stones, are good example of such.  To get an even flatter or 
polished surface a stone slab would be polished on a flat surface covered 
with cloth charged with grit.  At right angle to the bedding planes such 
stones were probably hammer drilled using fish tailed drills then split with 

> --How stones and shells were cut for mosaics

Non-powered lapidary work often depended on some of the very techniques used 
in flint knapping that and grinding by hand on a flat cloth charged with 
grit.  Very labor intensive, very slow.  A recent illustrated example of 
this is shown in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption".  Disk saws made of a 
copper dish charged with grit worked as with a pole or bow lath will cut 
stone as will a simple wire saw charged with grit.  I've an early lapidary 
book that describes such techniques.
> --Shell containers

As one might expect certain  shells with matching sides can be formed into 
containers rather easily.  However I suspect that is not what is intended in 
this case.

> --Shell handles

If you mean like mother of pearl forming the scales on the hilt of a knife 
the rough pieces are slabbed to shape.  Then they are drilled, perhaps with 
a bow drill, for soft metal mounting pins.  They are then attached by 
peening the pins.  The slabs are then ground and or polished down to final 

and inlays
Don't know how inlays are done.


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