Gainesville Public Art: Setting up shop & getting started

One of the great joys of getting ready for the Gainesville art project was tooling up. In addition to a wonderland of new blades and grinding wheels, I got another grinder and a tile saw that I can equip with a contour wheel- a cup shaped diamond blade used for cutting radii. And for all the tool sellers I found on-line, the grinder was $20 cheaper from Amazon and offered free shipping.

Templates are essential for efficient production. My friends at Henco Reprographics print these for me. This sheet shows the actual length of the patio and is over fifteen feet long. This sheet is the first of nine big templates I’ll need.

I cut the templates with pattern shears, three blade scissors that remove a thin strip (5/64th of an inch) of paper as they cut. These shears are used for creating templates for making stained glass with lead came. The thin strip of paper is equal to the thickness of the lead, keeping the pattern consistent with the original pattern, also called a cartoon. The thin strip of paper is the width of my joints.


I have rented a temporary shop for this project. It’s the first time I’ve ever had my own shop and I love it. I built a sandbox (filled with pea gravel really) to lay the patio as I cut it. By leveling as I go, I can detail the fits between the stones so that there’s a minimum of fuss and time spent when I venture to Florida to install it.


The first three stones, done and dusty.

2 thoughts on “Gainesville Public Art: Setting up shop & getting started

  1. This is very much like stained glass. In stained glass, there are glass grinders to perfect awkward shapes. They cut through glass like butter. I have used my stained glass grinder to trim up stone or ceramic tiles with equal success. You would think they might make something big enough for what you’re doing here. Love your work -Dan

    • There are several different types of wheels and drum attachments to be used with angle grinders for the same purpose. Difference here is the stone holds still and I move the grinder, whereas with stained glass, the grinder- the ones I’ve seen anyway- are stationery and you move the glass. I’ll get some pictures later this week, as I’m doing a lot of shaping this way.

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