Recently, I got to do something I’d been wanting to do for over a decade. I went down to North Carolina and spent a week with Stu Rosen, Cameron Demille, and the rest of the folks at MB Stone Care Pros. We learned to polish marble, limestone, travertine, and granite (MLTG).
Time to go to training!
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in things that shine. I have always enjoyed detailing a car, for instance, watching the reflection come back as I polished the paint.
Learning to put a shine on a piece of marble or granite felt different. Perhaps because the medium—stone—is more permanent than something like paint, or metal. It all felt kind of surreal how much I enjoyed the classes. I’ve described the feeling as “coming home after a long and difficult day” to friends because I found the process of bringing out the shine on a piece of stone to be so satisfying and pleasant.
The class allowed for people that have never done anything with stone to feel included. We learned about techniques, different types of MLTG, and so on.
On to countertops!
On the second and third days we learned how to work on countertops. Everything from putting a shine on stone that’s gotten dull over time, removing scratches on a granite piece, and even making repairs on different types of stone. Watching Stu walk around with a hammer, hitting stone to cause chips and lifting a slab of tile over his head and throwing it on the ground to break it into pieces, caused me to cringe a little. Once he finished smashing the stone, though, we learned how to put it back together. We even replace a corner that was “missing”. In reality, that part wasn’t included but we learned the techniques to create what didn’t exist in reality.
A lot of “Maker” principles are involved in this, and one of the things I like the most about that is that if you break it, it’s not a problem…you can always just FIX it.
Working with countertops was great; however, I was there for floors.
There was a warehouse in the back that they’d installed 10 or 15 different sample floors. Little 4’x5′ sections of different types and colors of marble, limestone, and travertine. Just about ALL the colors were there, each one with its own mineral content, and the inherent challenges associated. Some softer marble polishes up so quickly and easily that if you’re not careful, you’ll create an “orange peel” effect in the surface. Other types of stone, like serpentine (green marble), and granite, seem to be unfazed by anything you may do. For those, use more aggressive products to make it “pop”.
It all comes down to understanding what you’re working with and how to deal with any quirks that particular material may have.
Stu and Cameron are great instructors and I give them a lot of credit. When one of us has questions or interest in knowing more about a particular aspect of something being discussed, they pull that student to the side for hands-on instruction while the rest of the class continues.
Stu is from New York and is generally pretty quiet and unassuming. If you manage to get him talking, though, he LOVES to tell stories. Listening to him tell stories about Maurizio Bertoli (the namesake of MB Stone), and talk about the things he used to do and say was great. Stu’s also taken a lot of time to mentor me. When I come across something that’s a little more complicated, he doesn’t mind spending an hour on the phone with me. We talk things over and he makes sure I know how to proceed.
Cameron is a California guy. He’s a little rowdier in his approach to life, which balances the two of them well.
Cameron has been around the stone industry his whole life. It’s awesome how he can just look at a picture of a stone floor or countertop and immediately identify it. Immediately, he details how to polish the surface and what troubles you’re likely to encounter. I’ve been part of a lot of classes over the years and these guys are top-notch.