Over the years I have received numerous questions on templating from the best materials to use to the need for templating or not. The follow are some of the more common questions I receive.
Q. Dear Fred: I have just started a stone shop and have very basic equipment. I have a small bridge saw, router and some hand tools. I have been looking at templating systems and find they are very expensive. Are these templating systems necessary?
A. The best way to answer is this: Think of the car you drive to work. You can get there with a beat up ol’ Chevy or you can go in style driving a Bentley.
Advanced templating systems are very nice and have many benefits that can save time, money, etc., but to answer your question, they are not an essential element of fabrication. I have used basic stick templating for years with few problems. Make sure you know how to template and remember this one rule: Make the template the exact size and shape as what the finished stone will be. Don’t mark up the template with a lot of notes to be interpreted later such as “add ½ in.” Don’t leave anything to guesswork.
Q. Dear Fred: Do we have to template every job or are there situations where measuring will suffice?
A. It is always a good idea to template everything, but situations have come up where I only measured, rather than created a physical template. Keep in mind, though, how easy it can be to make a mistake measuring even if you do it all the time. Just remember the old saying, “Measure twice. Cut once.”
Q. Dear Fred: We use luaun templates and are having trouble with strips falling apart on the trip back to the shop. Is there any other way to hold them together other than hot glue?
A. Hot glue is most commonly used when templating with luaun strips, but at times it can be a problem. I would do two additional things to prevent the glue from coming apart. First, make sure you don’t let the glue set before attaching the strips, as hot glue can cool quickly leading to failure when you attach the strips. In addition, you can use staples to help hold them in place. Another useful tip is to mark the strips where they are attached with a black marker in case they do come apart so you can reattach them in the same location.