Headstone rubbing is a great way to preserve even hard-to-read headstones. This method is usually used by family history researchers as a way of preserving the inscriptions on the tombstone.
However, there are a few individuals who consider grave rubbing a hobby. It is a way to create an impression of the headstone on paper by rubbing or grazing a crayon, soft pencil or charcoal. This is pretty much the same activity that kindergarteners do by creating an impression of a coin or a leaf on paper by rubbing coloured pencils or crayons on it.
If done properly, stone rubbing can help bring out great details from the headstone. This is especially useful for headstone restoration. If details of the inscriptions on the headstone are not visible, this method is used to create an impression of what was once carved on the tombstone.
The inscriptions on old gravestones can be very interesting and rubbing is a simple way to preserve a small slice of history.
However, there are a few things that need to be considered before rubbing a headstone. In this blog, we have listed some of the things you should consider before rubbing a headstone as well as the proper steps you should follow.
Can Rubbing A Headstone Be Harmful?
Headstone rubbing is a fairly old technique. However, at times it can be very abrasive and can cause damage to the headstone. Some forms of memorial rubbing require the use of harsh chemicals that further deplete the structure of the stone. These chemicals are usually used in combination with brushes that have stiff bristles.
It is advised that you don’t perform similar rubbing on a headstone that is not in good condition. If you must find out what was inscribed on the headstone, it is better to ask for professional help.
Is Headstone Rubbing Illegal?
Since gravestone rubbing, even if done properly, can cause some damage to the monument, it is a controversial practice. However, it has not been termed illegal as of yet.
Nevertheless, it is best to contact the cemetery to make sure that it is allowed and is within the policies of the area. Some headstones are too fragile and might end up breaking or cracking due to rubbing. This is why the practice is forbidden in many cemeteries with older gravestones.
If you are planning on performing a monument rubbing yourself to get a monument restored, get in touch with Summit Memorials, we have a team of trained experts who can perform several headstone restoration services for you.
Performing Headstone Rubbing
Here are some instructions on how to take a proper monument rubbing:
- Use a piece of paper that is large enough to wrap around the surface of the monument.
- Tape the paper to the monument. The tape can wrap around the monument and attach at the back of the monument so it doesn’t interfere with the rubbing.
- Take a rub of the entire outside edge of the monument as it will give the dimensions of the surface of the monument.
- Use the edge of the crayon rather than the tip, rub all lettering and designs using light to medium force. If you are trying to match the design, please try and get a rub of the entire surface of the design.
- It is important to have a clear rub that has not moved (use lots of tape on a windy day, it definitely helps).
When restoring a memorial, we usually take gravestone rubbings to match the font and design details. For this, we need clear photos as well as a rub of all the lettering. This way, even if we cannot find the font and have to draw the lettering, we have a rub of all the letters present.
In addition to this, it is important that the rubs and photos are straight. If we draw from a photo that is on an angle, then the design won’t match exactly. Even if we try to straighten out the photo, there are chances of slight distortion in the final product.
About Summit Memorials
Let us help you honour your loved ones in the best way possible. Our specially trained staff tries to make the toughest time of your life a little bit easier by providing high-quality memorial services and products. The headstones that our craftsmen build are the best in the business. The granite headstones we provide in Alberta and Saskatchewan are guaranteed to never wear out or crack due to normal elements and weather conditions.
At Summit Memorials, we provide our customers with premium quality and well-crafted monuments, headstones, tombstones, and grave markers. For more information about our services, visit our website or contact us here today.