Marble faced planters

I just posted some photos of marble faced planters I'd built to the binaries group. Here's the accompanying text: -------------------------------------- In another thread, I mentioned the possible use of marble or granite as an inlay for a table or desk. That reminded me that I'd built some planters of marble and perhaps they'll give you an idea or two for your own home. The entry to our home was floored with marble 12" tiles that had a grayish color with deep purple and rust colored veins in it. I had saved several boxes of the marble as a "just in case" for breaks or future projects, so when we were planning a big wedding, I decided to make some planters for artificial flower arrangements out of it, along with some Carerra (sp?) tiles I bought. I think that the final count, spread over around 8-9 rooms was something like 12 of the rectangular (6" X 24" or 30") planters, plus the big dude for the Ficus. The Melamine framework, or box, was actually adjusted in size to minimize the need to cut the tiles. For instance, the length would be 2-3 tiles or adjusted for any spacer or inlay. Just lay your tile out on the workbench and then build the inside box to fit.
The biggest planter was 30" on a side and housed a 15' Ficus tree we'd grown in the great room. Since I had no ability to really waterproof the box, I cut down a big ABS garbage can to the height and forced it "square" into the top. It acted as a liner and worked perfectly. As with all of the planters, the frame, or box, was made of Melamine board, that was glued and screwed to make the box. I also liked the looks of an inset, narrow base or reveal at the bottom. The reveal was faced with black marble, while the surface of the box was either the floor marble or the white Carerra. The pieces were simply glued in place with no grout line, using Liquid Nails. Masking tape held the tiles in place until the glue set. Since my cut down garbage can liner left some of the inside Melamine edge visible, I placed 12" black marble tiles around the upper inside edge.
Trust me on this: a hurricane in the house would not have tipped that Ficus tree over. <grin>
The cruciform planter seen below the table was intended to be a centerpiece for on our dining room table, when not in use. Unfortunately, Mrs. Nonny felt that it was too big- especially loaded with artificial flowers- and had it moved to the location below the table in the adjoining great room. It was pure luck, but the large cruciform planter seemed to have been made for that location and I got quite a few compliments from visitors on how clever I was to build a planter for that location. <grin>
All the small planters were filled with florist foam, covered with floral moss and then the flower stems inserted in the foam.
I'm sure that all of you have noticed the inexpensive diamond wet saws sold at Lowe's and Home Depot. Back then, mine was the Harbor Freight overhead tub saw. All of them are darned good and a great addition to any shop. In the case of the older HF overhead tub saw, the saw itself could be detached and with a toothed blade made one of the handiest little panel saws you could hope for. Cutting the marble or other tiles with a diamond bladed wet saw is no different than using any contractor or cabinet saw in your shop. You just need to remember that the material is brittle and go slowly. Given a choice between the old overhead tub saw and the Home Depot table saw for cutting tile, I really have no preference for one over the other.
One thing I learned about the marble is that exposed cut edges can be made to match two different ways. On the earliest planters, I sanded the marble exposed, cut edges on the table sander, using an OLD 120 grit belt, followed by my 3 X 21 belt sander with a 240 belt, then 800 grit wet/dry in the tub sink in the shop. That gave it enough of a sheen to get by. Then, one day I was dreading the nasty wet work when I had an inspiration: I did the 240 grit to make it smooth, then PAINTED the exposed edge with clear lacquer. It looked like I'd wet polished the marble for hours. Some might view that as cheating, but I had no problem accepting the fact I was lazy.

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