Stone World

A 16-slab altar renovation

October 1, 2012
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Founded in 1858, the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Napa, CA, underwent a $850,000 renovation to its sanctuary last year that included innovative use of natural stone. In addition to an elaborate travertine staircase leading to the tabernacle, the church has an altar made from 16 custom-cut slabs of Crema Bordeaux granite, which was fabricated and installed by Pinnacle Stone & Tile of Fairfield, CA.

The slabs were cut to size using a Fusion 4000 bridge saw/waterjet from Park Industries, and the edges were processed using a Park Titan CNC stoneworking center. Moreover, advanced nesting software was a key component of the process.

“Being a digital shop, we were able to use SlabSmith to vein match 16 different slabs across a 42- x 28-foot altar,” explained Scott Cheeseman, President and CEO of Pinnacle Stone & Tile. “This job is a perfect case study for the benefits of digital fabrication and the ability to lay out multiple slabs using SlabSmith.  While our reputation as a quality fabricator was important, our ultimate selection as the fabricator for this job was based on our ability to accurately portray the final layout before we cut a single slab. It increases customer confidence in purchasing more expensive material that may contain a disconcerting amount of vein flow and movement.”

The successful sanctuary renovation is the first phase of a five-year campus improvement project for the church.