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Starting a Granite Shop
Last Post 18 Dec 2012 02:55 PM by Oldryder. 50 Replies.
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Andy Graves


Andy Graves

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28 Dec 2006 08:30 AM

    OK, I have been in the countertop business for about 20 years and we are thinking of actually fabricating our own granite and quartz in house.

    What would it cost to start a basic fabrication shop to produce about two kitchens a week.  I know that we could spend half a million but we are not looking to do that.  What are the basic tools and machines needed to get started?  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

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    andy@thefabricatornetwork.com
    Countertop Company - www.OliveMill.com
    Karl Crooks
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    Karl Crooks

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    28 Dec 2006 03:52 PM
    Andy, you may know this already, but I have learned so much by spending many hours reading post at www.stoneadvise.com
    RESTORE ~ RENEW ~ REJOICE !
    Len Smith
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    Len Smith

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    28 Dec 2006 04:23 PM
    Andy, What you really need is more time off, or a good therapist. I think the time off will be enough for you to come to your senses.
    Tom M
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    Tom M

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    28 Dec 2006 06:19 PM
    I'm withg Len. One advantage I can see to your own fabrication is that you have eliminated at least one finger pointing at others when a problem arises. I'm still not fabricating hard materials, though. There are so many things you'll need to learn about regarding fab info versus selling info (what we/you do now), that the curve might be long and expensive.

    If I were to make that move, I would try to hire someone who really knows his stuff, then listen to him, instead of us schlubbs.

    Tom
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    FEDSAWDAVE
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    29 Dec 2006 12:33 AM
    Andy, we have set up many Solid Surface fabricators that have started to fabricate stone. As well, we have set up many granite shops that started fabricating Solid Surface. It IS NOT that expensive to fabricate granite or e-stone with several basic tools. While I can't type fast enough to post them all here, call me and I'll put you in the right direction.
    Jeremy Bowlin
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    29 Dec 2006 10:25 PM
    All air/water/filtration systems aside, tooling only; $50,000 - $100,000. 1st order of buisness should be a decent saw. Aside from a myriad of hand tools (grinders, routers, polishers, ect), maybe consider getting a used inline polisher for your backsplash.

    Having solid air/water/filtration systems is critical though. Redundancy is also key...if every tool in your shop uses water and air, and your air compressor goes down all the time, or you don't have good water pressure, your not going to get anything done.




    ....then again, you can very easily drop 5mil+ opening up a granite countertop shop.
    Travis Harper
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    29 Dec 2006 11:13 PM

    Andy, I realize you have been doing countertops for a long time and everyone on here knows that you are no dummy so this may sound like a dumb question. Are you currently doing Granite and Quartz and just outsourcing the fabrication?

    I have heard of some shops that pump out some tops doing all fabrication by hand. I think realisticly you could get into fabrication in this manner for under 10k. Obviously if you decide to get a bridge saw that will cost a pretty penny.

     We to have recently decided to take the plunge into the stone market. We will not be fabricating but installing. I have done some jobs with a fabricator out of Salt Lake and they have been great in trying to train us to do good quality installs. We were takin our time doing a job or 2 per month when Home Depot kind of asked if I would do there silestone. I thought it over and decided to do it thinking I would have a couple of months to polish up my skills. Well the next day I received 10 po's and now getting about 2-3 a day. Oh yes and of course they said well since your doing our laminate and silestone you might as well do corian and granite as well. BAM here are somemore po's. So we start installing silestone next week and

    YES I AM VERY NERVOUS. New fabricator(To me) I am dealing with. I make templates, no tops built yet and I email the fabricator and ask him to save my templates incase things dont fit. He replies, Sorry I already threw them in the trash.

    At my shop the last step of fabrication is to set the template back on the top and double check everything fits.

    Does anyone find this odd that they through my templates away before they built my tops?

    Travis <br>CounterWise, Inc.
    Shane Barker
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    29 Dec 2006 11:25 PM

    Andy,

     Are you having problems with your outsource company? Or do you just want more control of the whole process. I don’t like not having the control but I have no desire to fabricate the stone or quartz products, I just don’t think I can make that transition from dust to sludge.

     
    Travis,

    I find that very odd. It can be as much for their protection as yours if they were to hold on to the templates until the job is done. I would suggest you tell them you want to pick up your templates with the tops so they don’t throw them away next time. Good luck with your installs!



    Shane

    chicocustomcounters at yahoo.com
    Jeremy Bowlin
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    30 Dec 2006 01:43 AM
    [QUOTE]Travis H wrote

    Does anyone find this odd that they through my templates away before they built my tops?

    [/QUOTE]

    Not if they messed up one of the tops and didn't want a "record" of their screw up.
    Andy Graves


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    30 Dec 2006 08:42 AM

    Shane,

    I don't want to do it, but I might have to.  I talked with a gentleman on the phone the other day that advised the best approach would be to really set out to find a quality company that can do the work for me.  We currently do have a company that does all of our granite and quartz, but we want to do more and they are already up to their eyeballs with our work alone.

    Travis,

    We currently sub out 100% of our stone work.  I don't like stone because of the weight involved and I am with Shane, I don't like sludge.

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    andy@thefabricatornetwork.com
    Countertop Company - www.OliveMill.com
    Andy Graves


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    30 Dec 2006 08:43 AM

    Travis,

    We don't throw away the templates until we get money from the customer.  It is just a superstition of ours.

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    Countertop Company - www.OliveMill.com
    Seth Emery
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    10 Jan 2007 02:57 AM
    Andy,

    We just started fabricating stone this week. Previously, all of our stone fabrication was outsourced. Slowly, the outsourcing will go away. There is a new guy working for us who has over 10 years experience fabricating stone. We put in the water recycling system. I can get you some details if you want. The first job didn't have any cutouts. I am interested to see that process. I've heard it takes 3 to 4 hours to manually cut out and polish an undermount sink cutout. It is exciting to see things coming together. Hopefully someday I'll be programming a stone CNC also. I'm really not clued in on the costs, but could put you in touch with one of the owners if you'd like.

    Have a nice evening,
    Seth
    CAD Drafter/CNC Programmer -- Henry H. Ross & Son, Inc.

    My posts are based on my opinion and are not necessarily the beliefs or recommendations of my employer.
    Andy Graves


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    10 Jan 2007 04:41 AM
    Yea, I would like to talk to them.  I am starting the search, but not positive which direction I want to go.  It must be exciting seeing a new process.  Plus if you are the CAD guy, it will give you a little job security.
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    Mark Urbaniak
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    11 Jan 2007 01:12 AM

    We have the templates sitting with the tops when they pick the job up...so they see its a match.......so dont come crying to me if it dont fit .....they also can use the template for any ajustments from a bad template job

    Seth Emery
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    12 Jan 2007 01:23 AM
    Andy,

    I'll talk with the owners about getting in touch with you. It might be best if they waited a couple weeks, because we are still accumulating some of the tools. We fabricated our first stone top today that has a sink cutout. It wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be. It is exciting to see a new process, and increasing job security is also good.

    Have a nice day,
    Seth
    CAD Drafter/CNC Programmer -- Henry H. Ross & Son, Inc.

    My posts are based on my opinion and are not necessarily the beliefs or recommendations of my employer.
    FEDSAWDAVE
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    12 Jan 2007 01:29 AM
    Seth, did you use a 5" diamond contour blade on a VS grinder? And yes, it is not complicated with the right diamond tooling.
    Seth Emery
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    13 Jan 2007 11:52 PM
    Dave,

    I'm not quite sure of the size of blade that was used because I did not do this first-hand. I did get the basics though, which included the cutout being roughed out and then finished with a flush cutting tool which ran against a plywood template that I made the program for. Then it was polished. I hope to get some first-hand experience soon.

    Have a good one,
    Seth

    CAD Drafter/CNC Programmer -- Henry H. Ross & Son, Inc.

    My posts are based on my opinion and are not necessarily the beliefs or recommendations of my employer.
    Eric Campbell
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    Eric Campbell

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    05 Apr 2007 06:58 AM

    Hi Seth,

    I think if your guy takes 3-4 hours to fab an undermount sink that it should be absolutely pefect. There are some tricks that I can show you to shave about 2-3 hours off that time and have excellent results. However it will require a few diamond  tools from FEDSAWDAVE to get you started.

    Eric Campbell
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    Eric Campbell

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    05 Apr 2007 07:13 AM

    Hi Andy,

     I can give you alot of tips about how to setup a very  economical shop that can run very well with just a few workers and minimal tooling. I feel  that I have minimalized the amount of hand tooling needed for fabrication to a very reasonable level and you should be able to get every thing from FEDSAWDAVE. Email me and I will be glad to discuss my method with you. I am very efecient and most of my edges do not need any enhancers. The awesome thing is that I do not  use any grinding wheels at all! This cuts production time in half and cuts the dust factor down by nearly 75%!!!

    Always glad to help.

    EMC.THM@gmail.com

    Mory Ludwick
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    Mory Ludwick

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    06 Apr 2007 01:35 AM
    King of Rock

    Will you e-mail me your Phone #   mory@premiercountertops.com

    Mory
    Where Service is on the Surface
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