Mosaics Which Cut of Marble to Use?

Which Type of Marble to Use?

More and more artists are wanting to use more natural materials in their mosaics. Here is just a brief outline of the diferent cuts of marble than are available. If you’d like more details or for availability them please do get in touch.

 Antique Cut         26 kgs per m2          Cutting; hammer and hardie

This material is the best you will ever get if you’re making a copy of a Roman mosaic (outside of making a piece for piece copy, see ‘Rods’ below) It comes pre cut. The depth/height is a regular 10mm but looking from above the profile is irregular. The sides are about 5mm – 15mm along each edge. Each piece has been tumbled so no grinding to finish is needed. You can use either the Reverse or direct method.

The main advantage is the speed with which you can work. Some cutting is required but this is only for triangles etc.

If I had only one cut of marble to work with, this would be it. Only about 10% – 15% needs to be cut, you work as fast as someone using ceramic tiles yet end up with a mosaic looking very close to the originals.

Rods                  26kg per m2 (10mm) 13kg per m2 (5mm)            Cutting; hammer and hardie

Good to use to practice cutting with. Also used for piece for piece copies, each tessera is individually cut. The inside cut surface is used to show the true colour of the marble. Not generally ground down.

Not much use for floors and there is the extra time needed for the cutting. The marble can also be supplied in 10mm x 10mm x 20mm pieces.

Cubes             18kg per m2                                   Cutting; hammer and hardie

Regular, machine cut 10mm x 10mm x 8mm cubes. Easy to use but difficult to lose the appearance of very regular sides. Roman mosaics can be made using this cut but the finished piece does look very modern.

4mm Cut              9kg per m2             Cutting; Nippers 10mm x 10mm x 4mm depth.

 These are very regular, like the cubes but as they are only 4mm thick you can cut them with nippers. This allows you to work with marble without the added expense of a hammer and hardie.

Tile Shop           Cutting; Hammer and hardie

If you have a hammer and hardie look out for end of line and sale marble tiles. Usually you’re stuck with black and white only and you have to figure in the time to cut but you can get some good offers.

Warning! Watch out that you don’t end up getting black slate, it looks like marble but it can’t be cut with the hammer and hardie as it just shears.

Stonemason’s off cuts            Cutting; Hammer and hardie

A very time consuming option. The material tends to be too thick and you have to spend a lot more time cutting. If you are on a tight budget though it might be worth a look.


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