How to make Texas Popout Address Stones.

Defining the Outline with an Air Hammer

We still have a lot of air hammer time left to finish this rock. We will use the air hammer to reduce the area west and north of El Paso. Then we will chisel the area around the Gulf of Mexico and up the Rio Grande to make it more defined.

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We round out the right side, the carve around South Texas, then come back and smooth out the carve. Inside the Texas shape, we use a large kitchen knife, and a smaller flexible blade knife to smooth the surface of Texas. A rough surface holds too much glue, and acts as a resist. We want a smooth surface to glue the mask, or stencil. Sometimes I will use a drywall plane to help take the rough surface down. Some limestones are quite soft when freshly quarried. This one had a large fissure running north to south that I had to smooth out, but if I take too much away, the stone looks like formed concrete instead of natural stone. We will leave the fissure in the area that will not be glued.

Lugging around a stone that is 25 X 18 X 4 is not an easy task. It weighs about 100 pounds. After knocking away the cut out area, it is down to 80 pounds. Even at that weight, we don't want to be picking it up until this stage is finished.

Blasting and Painting

The 15 inch texas leaves us a rectangle of 4.5 inches by 9 inches in which to put numbers. This stone will have three numbers. We can fit 5 numbers easily.

We create our numbers with a vector art software program, We cut 22 mil sandblast mask with a cutter/plotter. We place the mask on the stone, then "pick out" the numbers, leaving the islands inside.
We use duct tape to protect the Texas surface from accidental overspray while blasting. We place the stone in the sandblasting cabinet.
This particular stone only leaves about an inch of clearance in our 30 inch wide cabinet.

We sandblast the limestone inside each number, taking it down about 1/8 inch. When we have finished blasting, we blow away the silicon carbide dust. We take it to our Paint station. We paint the numbers with a special outdoor paint. It takes several coats. After the paint dries, we put on a coat of clear lacquer. After the laquer dries, we remove the mask and tape. We remove any glue residue, and smooth any blemishes.

The last step is to apply a clear finish only to the Texas shape, which brings the colors in the stone out. This creates our "Popout" look, making the "Texas" contrast against the base.

And of course, the last step is to deliver the stone.

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