Creative uses for old cut stones (blank tombstones)?
October 4, 2013 2:11 PM   Subscribe

My house was built in 1890. When I had foundation work done several years ago, the workers dug out a lot of dirt from under my house, and in that dirt they found a bunch of cut and carved stones - pure white marble, limestone, and granite.

Some are obviously grave markers - BLANK ones, I hasten to add, because the first thing most people guess is that my house was build on top of a cemetery. It's more likely that my house was built on a stone cutter's yard, because I have dug up other, smaller stones with one perfectly flat side.

Because they are different sizes and thicknesses (and very heavy), using them in a patio or path is not really feasible. I did use the smallest (about 14" by 14" by 8") stone as a grave marker for my cat, but other than that they're just piled against the back fence. There are ten of them.

I'd also consider selling them to someone who could use them. Sculptor? Stonemason? Someone who wants year-round Halloween decorations?

posted by caryatid to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
if you have a smooth marble one, marble is supposed to be the perfect surface for making pastry on...
posted by runincircles at 2:21 PM on October 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Stacked or placed on top of cinderblocks, they'd be incredibly weatherproof patio end tables.
posted by Sullenbode at 2:23 PM on October 4, 2013

Time to learn how to sculpt!
posted by Max Power at 2:59 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ask at your local juggling club. They are good for training bounce juggling.
posted by emilyw at 3:01 PM on October 4, 2013

Paving, you might have to dig them into the ground a little depending on the thickness.
posted by wwax at 3:07 PM on October 4, 2013

Best answer: How exciting!

I would contact stonemasons in your area - particularly ones who do dry laid work. You could find a way to incorporate the stones into a wall or patio project for sure, or sell the stones outright. (I immediately imagined using them as lintels in a stone spring house or garden gate. Something like this.)
posted by minervous at 3:25 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

An outdoor firepit?
posted by easily confused at 4:28 PM on October 4, 2013

Walls for raised beds?
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 5:07 PM on October 4, 2013

Seconding looking for my line of work, this would be a gold mine! I hasten to add, however, that is a mental gold mine...all the masons I know would be looking first at the artistic potential, and much later at the monetary potential...
posted by PlantGoddess at 5:23 PM on October 4, 2013

I have been looking for one for an art project, if i pay for shipping could you send it to me?
posted by PinkMoose at 5:26 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you contacted a local historical society or state historical society/history center? They could be potentially important.
posted by Miko at 7:13 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: PlantGoddess, I see you are a horticultural consultant. I know you get paid for this and of course I don't expect you to work for free (well, not exactly) but:

You say in your line of work they'd be a gold mine, but why? How would you use them? I have a large yard with gardens (vegetable, herb, ornamental), raised beds, patios, paths, and a pond. I am MUCH more interested in the artistic than monetary potential. I'd prefer to keep them, but I'd trade some for a completed project on my property using some of them. Is that something a stonemason would go for?
posted by caryatid at 8:26 PM on October 4, 2013

I'd carve things with / into them. But then, I have the tools and some skills for that. It's probably decent stone but probably not exceptional. If it's marble, it's fairly soft (3 on Mohs scale.) Limestone is on the soft side of that. If granite, it's hard (8 Mohs). You aren't carving any granite, friend. You can shape/carve limestone and marble fairly easily. Tools to do precise work aren't cheap. You can get starter kits at the Compleat Sculptor and other places on the web. It's simple, but not easy.

Personally, I hate limestone. It's like carving dirt. Ick. You can make it smooth, but it's ugly, IMO.

Those aren't large pieces, at least to people like me. Large pieces are refrigerator sized and bigger. What you have is small, if it's up to 300 pounds or so ( less than 2 cubic feet). Probably suitable for relief carvings and lettering. Makes good bases and stands for other stuff.

Good marble (statuario with a specific provenance and color) is a buck or two a pound, retail.
posted by FauxScot at 10:16 PM on October 4, 2013

Best answer: Caryatid, sorry for the delay, I just saw your question.

I would first look at them and your existing yard / landscaping to see if there might be a way to incorporate them as a sculptural element, probably using several to build something interesting and /or useful. I often use large slabs of stone in my work, and have made benches, waterfalls (wet and dry), incorporated into other, different stone in walkways and patios; partially buried them and grown moss on all or part for a textural focal point...the list goes on, since I love stone and use it all the time :)

I have several very good friends who are self-employed (one of whom helps me on projects quite a bit), and they might be interested in trading, although to be honest, most are like me - self-employed, so kinda need some monetary incentive in order to make a living. Of course, we all have yards and gardens ourselves, so it would not hurt to ask!

Thanks for phrasing your question so respectfully btw - feel free to memail me if you want to brainstorm a bit :)
posted by PlantGoddess at 8:38 AM on October 8, 2013

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