Just over 15 years ago, Adirondack Natural Stone was formed in Whitehall, NY, as a producer of the region’s abundant granite resources. Today, the company has 40 employees, and it ships a range of finished products to the Adirondack region, the Northeastern U.S. and beyond.

Adirondack Natural Stone was founded in 1996 by André Hagadorn, who still works in the quarries today. “I had been in the welding business, and I did some work in the stone industry,” he explained. “We opened our first quarry in 1996 for Adirondack and Blue Mountain granite, and we were mostly processing by hand. It seemed to take off, and we added equipment and hydraulic splitters.”

The company currently quarries a range of granite varieties, which are often specified in blends. These include Hawthorne, Heritage, Saranac, Dolph Pond, Blue Mountain and Adirondack.

Finished products offered by Adirondack Natural Stone include thin veneer, roughly squared and rectangular veneer, mosaic pattern veneer, ashlar veneer, flagging, wall stone, boulders and step slabs. The company also recently added a gantry saw for fabrication of other architectural products.

Among the company’s employees, André Hagadorn’s son (also named André), daughter (Diana) and sister (Karen) work at Adirondack Natural Stone.

Quarrying operations

At present, Adirondack Natural Stone is extracting material from three different quarrying sites, with a new property also being developed. Stone is extracted using a combination of drilling and blasting, and material is maneuvered around the quarry site with backhoes and wheel loaders from Komatsu and Case. “We bump [the quarry face] and loosen it up using light charges,” Hagadorn explained. “We try and work with the natural joints in the quarry. That way, we use less explosives and we have less breakage.”

Once large blocks are freed and moved into place, they are then drilled using hydraulic equipment, and then the traditional feather-and-wedge technique is used to split them. “There are just certain things you can’t do with a machine,” Hagadorn said.

Most of the quarry sites produce stone for products that will be finished into thin veneer, building veneer, flagging and landscaping materials. Additionally, quarries such as the Hawthorne site produce larger blocks of material that can be fabricated into hearths, sills, lintels, mantels and other specialty applications.

Once an area of the quarry site is exhausted, it is reclaimed by refilling the land, ensuring that the site has no grades greater than 15% and then seeding it down so new vegetation will grow. “We are also looking into crushing of our waste materials,” Hagadorn said.

Quarrying operations typically run from mid-March to Christmas, and the company makes sure in advance that the processing facility is stocked with ample stone reserves.

In terms of stone processing, material is processed on a range of splitters from Steinex of Italy. Based on the company’s positive experiences with Steinex splitters, Hagadorn formed Apex Equipment International in 2008 as the sole U.S. distributor of Steinex splitting equipment.

Pieces are also cut to size as needed using saws from MK Diamond, and the company operates two models of the TSX ThinStone® system from Park Industries. Each machine can produce flat edges as well as corners.

Although Adirondack Natural Stone has steadily invested in new equipment, Hagadorn pointed out that the human element is a key part of the production process. “Our workers need to use their personal judgment in creating pallets,” he said. “The stone doesn’t just come directly off the splitter.”

The company sells to local contractors as well as wholesale customers, and its products are shipped across the U.S., including destinations in New York and New Jersey as well as the mid-Atlantic States, Canada and as far away as California and the Caribbean.