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Stone Carving Terms and Descriptions

Stone carving terms used in the industry for hand-carved stone fireplaces and stone mantels, stone range hoods and stone architectural elements.

abrasive finish

A flat and nonreflective surface finish for stone mantels, stone range hoods or stone architectural elements.

acid wash

A treatment applied to the face of a stone to achieve a distressed textured finish


A volcanic, quartz-based stone with a variety of colored aggregates and pumice.


A fine-grained, semi-transparent variety of gypsum, generally white in color. May be cut and carved easily with a knife or saw.


A metal fastener used for securing stone to a structure. Anchor types for stonework include those made of flat stock (such as strap, cramps, dovetails, dowel, strap and dowel, and two-way anchors) and round stock (such as rod cramp, rod anchor, eyebolt and dowel, flat-hood wall tie and dowel, dowel and wire toggle bolts).

antique finish

A stone finish that replicates rusticated or distressed textures. It is produced through mechanical or chemical means to simulate the naturally occurring effects of the aging process.


A trim piece under a projecting stone top, stool, etc.


The curved or pointed carved stone construction over a doorway or opening. Arch shapes range from flat to semicircular or semi-elliptical to acutely pointed.

stone architrave

The decorated stone surrounds of a window or door at the head and jamb.


An edge or angle where two surfaces meet including moldings and raised edges.


The process of covering the back of a stone tile with thinset material in order to ensure proper mortar coverage. This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles. Also helpful to ensure a level installation.


A short post or vertical member in a series that supports a railing or coping, thus forming a balustrade. May be curved or straight.

stone balustrade

An entire stone railing system with top rail and balusters, and sometimes including a bottom rail.

bearing check

A slot cut into the back of dimension stone to allow entry of a supporting angle or clip.

bed joint

A horizontal joint between stones, usually filled with mortar, lead, or sealant.


A sloped surface contiguous with a vertical or horizontal stone surface.

book match pattern

A layout in pairs of all stone elements to confirm that the design matches.


Placing mortar on stone units with a trowel before setting them into position.


Closing a stone joint by sealing with an elastic, adhesive compound.


To cut away the edge where two stone surfaces meet in an external angle, leaving a bevel at the junction.

chat sawn finish

A rough stone finish produced by sawing with coarse abrasives.


The ability of a rock mass to break along natural surfaces; a surface of natural parting.

chiseled edge

A process of mechanically chipping stone tile edges, thus giving the stone a rustic, aged appearance.


A vertical stone support, usually consisting of a base, shaft, and capital.

control joint

A joint that allows for dimensional changes of different parts of a structure to prevent development of high stresses in the structure.

cove base

A concave stone molding.

cove molding

A concave stone molding, typically found at the sloped or arched junction of a wall and ceiling.

cubic stone

Stone dimension units more than 2 inches thick.

dimension stone

A stone that has been cut and finished to specifications.


The shaping and squaring of blocks for stone storage and shipment. Sometimes called “scabbing.”

dry seam

An unhealed fracture in stone which may be a plane of weakness.

dual finish- Two finishes, such as thermal and polished, on one piece of stone.

eased edge

When referring to a slab stone material, the square edge profile normally has softened edges as opposed to sharp square edges for added safety.


A drawing of the vertical faces and elements of a stone structure, either interior or exterior.


The curve resulting from the gradual diminishing of the diameter of the upper two-thirds of a stone column.

epoxy resin

A flexible, resin used as an adhesive.


A decorative surface pattern on stone created by a variety of methods, most often with abrasive chemicals or sandblasting.

exposed face

The visible side of any stone element.


A stone carving expression used to indicate the filling of natural voids in stone units with cements or synthetic resins and similar materials.


The final surface applied to the face of stone during fabrication.


Shallow, concave, parallel grooves running vertically on the shaft of a stone column, stone pilaster, or other stone surface.


A decorated stone band along the upper part of an interior wall or the middle member of the entablature, located above the architrave and below the cornice.

gauged or gauging

A grinding process to make all pieces of stone to be used together the same thickness.

guide specification

A recommended specification for the finishing and installation of dimension stone.

hand or machine pitch-faced (rock-faced) ashlar

A rustic finish for veneer stone created by chiseling the stone face, usually with a hammer.

hone finish

A satin-smooth stone surface finish with little or no gloss.


To cut stone inwardly or engrave, as in an inscription.


A space between installed stone units or between a dimension stone and the adjoining material.


A slot cut into the edge of a stone with a saw blade for insertion of anchors.


The central stone of an arch, sometimes sculpted or otherwise embellished.

lewis bolt

A bolt with a large, tapered head, fixed into stone or masonry.


A sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite.


A horizontal beam or stone over the opening of a door or window that carries the weight of the wall above it.


A condition where one edge of a stone is higher than adjacent edges, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance.


A metamorphic crystalline rock composed predominantly of crystalline grains of calcite, dolomite, or serpentine, and capable of taking a polish.


Decorative stone deviating from a plane surface by projections, curved stone profiles, recesses or any combination thereof.

natural stone

A product of nature. A stone such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, or sandstone that is formed by nature, and is not artificial or manmade.

off fall

A stone remnant, or extra piece, from a partially cut stone slab. Off falls are often used for stone samples or additional projects.


A stone molding with a reverse curved edge concave above, convex below.


In classical architecture, the support for a stone column or statue, consisting of a base, dado, and cap.


A shallow, engaged stone pier or stone column projecting from a wall, typically decorative.

pitched stone

A rough stone face or edge, cut with a pitching chisel.

polished finish

A glossy stone surface finish that brings out the full color and character of the stone.


The location of an operation where a deposit of stone is extracted from the earth through an open pit or underground mine.

quirk-miter joint

An external corner formed by two stone panels at an angle, with meeting edges mitered and with exposed portions finished.


An angular cut on the face of a stone.


The inside corner of a stone member with a profile other than a flat plane.

rough sawn

A surface finish resulting from the gang sawing process.


A matte-textured stone surface finish with no gloss, finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under pressure.

sawed edge

A clean-cut stone edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade, gang saw, or wire saw.


An experienced journeyman who installs dimension stone.

setting space

The distance from the finished face of a stone mantel, stone fireplace or stone structure to the face of the backup material.

shop drawing

A detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing dimensions and methods of anchorage.


A property of stone used to describe relative freedom from cracks, faults, voids, and similar imperfections found in untreated stone. One of the characteristics encountered in stone fabrication.

thermal finish

A stone surface treatment applied by intense heat flaming.


The dimensional allowance in the fabrication process.


Stone cut so as to present an overhanging part.

vein cut

A cut into quarried stone perpendicular to the natural bedding plane.

wire sawing

A method of cutting stone by passing a twisted, multistrand wire over the stone.