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O’Neil, who has been in the industry since 1972, started the company in February of 2000. Working by himself at the time, stoneworking equipment was limited to a bridge saw from GMM. But in the short period since opening, Russellville Cut Stone has brought in an extensive range of equipment, and it now has 18 employees. O’Neil explained that the new equipment was purchased as customer demand increased. "As jobs came in, we’ve needed different equipment for different jobs," he said. "Of course, we want to use the equipment that we add for future jobs as well."
Recent purchases include a new gauging machine from Sawing Systems as well as a 120-foot-long complete sawing complex from Sawing Systems -- including double-head 36-inch rip saws and a 36-inch joint saw -- which work on a 6-foot-wide conveyor. In addition, blocks are processed with a Standish belt saw, which uses diamond belts from W.F. Meyers and can process materials as large as 11 x 7 feet in size. Overall, the plant is 250 x 60 feet in size.
As the company grew, O’Neil relied on his experience in the Alabama limestone industry to find skilled stoneworkers. "Basically, all the employees I have now are people I’ve worked with for the past 20 to 25 years, with the exception of a few," he said. "I try to find experienced employees when we can, but if we can’t, we hire individuals and train them. We have the only four stone carvers in this part of the country."
Ironically, even though Russellville Cut Stone sits in close proximity to Alabama’s limestone belt, it works primarily with Indiana limestone. O’Neil explained that the major source of Alabama limestone in the area fabricates all of its own quarried material, and that trucking Indiana limestone to Alabama is a cost-competitive option.
The company fabricates a wide variety of stone products, including columns and balustrades -- which are processed on two lathes -- water tables, window and door surrounds, sills and other architectural elements. Clients have included universities, libraries and residences, and the company has completed work for projects in the Northeast as well as the Southeast. The future for the company is well set, as it has a year’s worth of work on the boards at the present time, including a total of ten 30-foot columns for a public library in Florence, AL, which is currently underway. And even with the expansion of the past year and a half, O’Neil said he anticipates further equipment investments in the future.
Russellville Cut Stone Equipment List* Sawing Systems Model 999 76-inch
surfacing and gauging machine
* Sawing Systems Model 521 C single carriage gantry saw
* Sawing Systems Model 521 CXX dual
carriage gantry saws
* Sawing Systems Roller Conveyors
* Standish Narrow Belt Block Saw
* GMM Axia 38 full profile saw
* DoAll band saw with diamond-tipped
blade for radius cutting
* Rockford open side planer
* Gray open side planer
* small baluster lathe
* column lathe
* Demag overhead cranes
* jib cranes
* Taylor 30-ton fork truck
* Komatsu 6,000-point fork truck
* Bobcat loader