Panels made from stone/solid surface material


Hi all.
I am planning a sideboard piece with a carcass structure using frame and panel design. I want the panels to be made from a translucent white(ish) material with the look of a smooth natural stone -- think alabaster. However, I understand that true stone such as marble would be much too fragile in the thickness range (1/4 - 3/8") that I would need for floating panels.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? Is 1/4" Corian translucent enough that it lets light shine through? I have also considered frosted glass but think it might allow too much light and have that green look. Any other suggestions (and sources for materials) are much appreciated. I am open to both natural and engineered products.
Best regards,
/afb
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On 8 Jun 2005 00:28:23 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Agreed. I've done this successfully with those thicknesses, but only on small boxes. I wouldn't like to do a sideboard that way.

Corian is a fake stone, so it's full of mineral fillers - not noticeably translucent. There are plenty of non-filled acrylics though. You'll probably get the colour and translucence you want, but the surface will be soft and a little damage prone. Matting the surface with wire wool avoids much of the "plastic" look.

Try art glass, as used for stained glass etc. There's a _huge_ range, and you can also apply surface treatments like etching or grit blasting. Spectrum glass is probably the sort of quality you want - the high end one like Ouroboros get _very_ expensive (Spectrum's expensive too, but then you did mention Corian!)
Probably the best though is a good grade of plain window glass, with a surface grit blast treatment, possibly combined with etching. There's a rec.crafts.glass ng. that might be able to advise you more.
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1/4" solid solid stone used to be fragile, not anymore. There is a new product called ThinSlabz
http://www.surfacingproducts.com/slabz.php
the stone is covered on one side with a thin coat of epoxy. giving it great strength. You can get this material in several different stones, do line search for local supplier.
Ken

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Looks like it might get a decent place in the surfacing market. Wonder what it costs, how heavy it is, how hard to cut, how easy/hard to apply? Guess time will tell.
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depending on the type of stone and size, it runs about 300-400 dollars / 30x96 inch sheet, weights in at 7 lb/sq ft. applied with a water based modified mortar or in a non-bearing application a stand alone piece can be applied with silicone. Suppliers usually have smaller pieces on hand and will sell for a nominal price. Ken

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That's pretty steep. About $10 a square foot. Of course, I'm sure there's applications where it would be pretty cost effective as compared to the alternative of real stone or perhaps concrete.
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That has been tried with a product called Brevetta from Technograniti. It has enormous strength for 3/8" granite material providing the load is toward the backing. They used to demonstrate that by putting a sheet on two sawhorses and a man would jump on the middle of it. HOWEVER... when two guys picked up a sheet in the middle, it would crumble and cracks would form all over. Such is the nature of the beast. One-directional strength. Quite a few guys lost their shirt trying to build countertops with it, because it looks like granite, because it is granite and wears like granite. All you had to do was get it to the jobsite in one piece.
One of the biggest problems was that the sheets were always a wee bit concave and as soon as you laid them on a flat surface, it would crack...not come apart, just crack.
I know where there a couple of diamond beam saws for sale.
I'm really glad I only sold about a dozen of those tops.... smaller ones.
I just noticed that the Technograniti website no longer functions...imagine that.
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That reminds me when I was driving a truck some thirty years ago. We delivered one of those new flat top stoves to a house and home show, unpacked it for the salesman and then stayed awhile to look around. We happened to be watching when a spectator asked how breakable the stove tops were. The salesman said they were guaranteed against breakage and then slammed his fist down on the stove top to demonstrate. It shattered into a dozen pieces. I've never seen anyone's face go red so fast in my life. :)
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have seen capiz shell made into panels. Not as fragile as one would think.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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Adam...
You might find the discussion and photos at http://www.talkshopbot.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=2&post $430#POST2443 0 of interest. The participants are discussing cutting photographic images into Corian (lithophanes). You might join the discussion and ask there also.
-- Morris
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

It sounds like you want "cultured onyx" (which is powdered stone in a resin binder - ends up acting like a cross between stone & plastic. Corian is a similar product). Will the stone panels be only in the sides, or also in the top? If it's only in the sides, I would think the cultured onyx would be amply strong. You might consider putting some tracery or gridwork over it, just to add a bit of stiffness, the "cultured" products can flex somewhat like a plastic panel. Remember that stone isn't going to move like a wooden panel, so you can design the frame to support it more strongly.
If you check the yellow pages for kitchen & bath remodelers, you'll likely find someone who can show you the material, and probably cast a sheet of it to your specs.
John
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John, that sounds like exactly what I want, provided I can get it in a smooth white finish. The panels will be in the top as well as the sides, but I can support those with a lattice work to prevent them from the cracking under their own weight.
One further question: I want to do some marquetry-like partial inlay in the material. (The inlay will be metal, and proud of the surface.) I have access to a pretty sophisticated CNC machining facility. Would "cultured" products be workable with typical mill tooling? How about with a handheld router?
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
/afb
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Should be - I've used a router to put a round-over on an edge, with no problems (other than the bit getting dull more quickly than it would with wood).
John
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