People ask me "How do you engrave memorial garden stones?". Good question. You can engrave using a dremel tool and hand engrave softer stones. But the stones in the Northeast tend to have a lot of granite in them and it is more difficult to engrave that way.
Another way, is to use a laser engraver. A laser engraver is great for granite which is very tough. But you really need a flat surface to get the proper cut of the stone. So a flat granite is perfect for a laser but not for riverstones. I like to engrave memorial riverstones.
Most of my stones are handpicked from a quarry that collects the stones from the Pocono Mountains area. I first clean the stone. Then I create a graphic that I want to use as my design on the computer. I send the graphic to my plotter. A plotter will cut the design out of a thick, stencil. Once it is cut, I need to weed out the letters on the stencil. I then pull the plastic backing off the stencil and stick the stencil onto the stone. I might have to do this a few times to get the best fit and alignment.
I cover the rest of the stone with painter's tape of masking tape to protect the part of the stone that I don't want to engrave. I place the stone into my blasting cabinet. This cabinet, is made of iron and has a viewing area in front. It also has rubber gloves that I place my hands into to hold the stone. I then pressure up the air compressor and pressure up the pressure pot. The pressure pot holds the grit that will cut into the stone. Once I pressure up the pressure pot, air and grit will shoot out of the nozzle in the blasting cabinet which is connected to the tubing from the pressure pot.
While holding the stone with one hand, I use the other hand to engrave holding the tubing and nozzle and I aim at the stencil area that needs to be cut. The depth of the engraving depends on the hardness of the stone.
Once I determine that the stone has a deep enough engraving, I use compressed air to blow off any residual grit and then apply 3 coats of paint within the engraving. Once dry, I remove the tape and stencil from the stone and touch up and remove any areas that have any paint outside the stencil area. Then I apply one more coat of clear, matte paint on top for added protection from the elements.
The stone is ready to be shipped. And that's how I engrave a stone.