Woodworkers can offer a real stone appearance without being stone masons with a new flexible stone veneer introduced by Rapha Stone USA.
The average woodworking shop can cut and shape the material, which comes in thin veneer 1 to 2 mm thick (1/32 to 1/16 of an inch thick). It comes in 2 x 4 and 4 x 8 foot sheets and is available in 11 colors.
It has a polyester resin/glass fiber backing, and is designed to be used for both interior and exterior applications. It can also be used in wet applications when used with a PUR adhesive. The material can also be used with a peel-and-stick adhesive backing.
One of the biggest advantages is cost. Buying and fabricating solid stone can be very expensive. With the peel and stick backing, it can be used for kitchen backsplashes, fireplace surrounds and similar applications, even do-it-yourself applications.
No special tools or adhesives are required. All pieces for the AWFS display in Las Vegas were produced by Wood Cabinet Design, a custom kitchen cabinet builder.
Using stone veneer
Elvir Seferovich of Wood Cabinet Design in Stone Mountain, Ga., has made a circular reception counter and an 8-foot storage counter that were finished in Rapha Stone. Wood Cabinet Design makes custom cabinets primarily for high-end residential customers, and also does commercial work. The company operates out of a 20,000 square foot shop and does many “turnkey” jobs in the Atlanta area that may include remodeling an entire kitchen.
Seferovich says the stone veneer behaves like a regular laminate, but there are a few things to watch for. He cut the material on a table saw using a blade designed to cut laminates. A standard router could be used on the edge of the material.
He also used regular paint-grade plywood and contact cement applied with a brush or sprayed on. A good quality press or a vacuum press is needed to best glue the veneer. Seferovich says that care must be taken when gluing, especially in watching for thickness variations and thick spots where the glue didn’t fully hold the material to the plywood.
Also, Seferovich says that a finish can be applied to the stone veneer after laminating, and recommends one or two coats of lacquer to protect the surface, especially on applications such as countertops.
“It can go anywhere you want,” he says. “There’s nothing on the market like it. It can be used in showers, backsplashes, wall coverings and commercial applications.”
Shaw says the stone veneer is made in Asia. First, a smooth top is cut in a large block of slate or Quartzite slate. A glass-reinforced polyester resin is laid down. After it has cured, the slate is sliced very thin, and the resin acts as the binder or backer to hold it together. This process is repeated over and over, and the sheets can be laid down side by side to see the repeating pattern.
Rapha Stone is available in North America from Rapha Stone’s warehouse, also (and appropriately) in Stone Mountain, Ga.
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