Stone World

California stone quarrier looks forward

February 1, 2012
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With a quarry and processing facility in Ridgecrest, CA, Sydney Peak Stone extracts and processes stone for a broad range of finished products, which it sells through its growing dealer distribution network. Furthermore, in addition to operating modern stoneworking equipment, it is making a conscious effort to respect the environment in its operations.

The company was originally founded by Roy Blake in 1953 as Blake’s Wholesale Stone, and it extracts stone from a deposit of quartzitic schist within the Mojave Desert of Central California. Today, under the leadership of John Chesney, Sydney Peak Stone remains a family-owned and operated business, and it is making advances in technology as well as environmentally friendly practices.

“We are a full-service quarry,” explained T.J. Jaworsky of Sydney Peak Stone. “We produce veneer, flagstone, boulders, and any type of fabrication.”

Like most quarries of its type, the extraction methods of the quartzitic schist are labor intensive. “We extract our stone by ripping it from the ground using bulldozers,” Jaworsky said. “We then send in our stone crew, who hand splits our stone into various products.”

The company produces wall veneer, tile and pavers as well as architectural products such as hearths, mantles, fire boxes, fountains and countertops with “any type of edge treatment you can think of,” according to Jaworsky.

Equipment for stone processing includes hand tools and table saws, along with more advanced equipment. This includes a range of machinery from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, such as the TSX ThinStone® system for producing thin stone veneer, including flat edges as well as corners. For countertop production, edgework is completed using a Park Wizard radial arm polisher. In all, the company has a total of 50 employees.

Production currently stands at 800 square feet of veneer, 300 lineal feet of corners and around 40 tons of flagstone daily. The company has a dealer distribution network in place in California, and it is also currently looking to expand its sales area.

In terms of environmental stewardship, the company practices land, waste and waste oil reclamation. It also operates new Tier 3 diesel engines in all machines, and has installed solar panels to help power its facilities.