Minick Materials, a family owned business that was founded in 1958 by Kenneth and Nova Minick, hosts an annual quarry tour. The 2014 event included stops at the Oklahoma Hackett quarry, Arkansas sandstone quarry, Oklahoma Farmers quarry and the Oklahoma Tamaha Blue quarry. Recently, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) approved eight Continuing Education Units for the two-day quarry tour, which provided education on the quarrying and fabrication of Oklahoma and Arkansas sandstone.

Day One

The tour began with a walking tour of the Green Country Stone Hackett quarry, where the group was able to see the versatility of this stone. The quarry ran a chopping and tumbling operation on site as well. “The highlight of this tour was the photo we took of the group against the ‘wall’ where the natural layers of stone that formed over time can be seen,” said Mike Mayzak, commercial/architectural sales manager for Minick Materials. “This is also the photo we give each attendee upon completion of the tour along with their AIA Certificate of Completion.”

The second stop of the day was at the Lamar I – Arkansas Sandstone/Flagstone quarry.  Guests were permitted in the driver seat of the machinery, literally having the opportunity to participate in the mining process. “Our guests got to operate the excavator that broke the ledge of stone up as well as the Bobcat equipped with forks to collect up the slabs,” said Mayzak. “This quarry is where we source our sandstone and flagstone from – sugarloaf to be specific.”

Day Two

The second day of the tour started with a home-cooked breakfast by the ownership of Rock-It Natural Stone and a presentation on “Designing and Building with Natural Stone” (AIA approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit). Following the talk, the group met at the chop/saw/fabrication shop to see firsthand how the raw material they saw the day before were either sawed down or chopped down to the requested size. The saw/chop team pointed out the different planes of the stone that could be laid up showing the different characteristics of each. “Our final stop here was the fabrication shop where dimensionally cut slabs and thin stone was produced,” said Mayzak. “It was interesting to see how a single piece of building stone can produce up to double the cover when ‘thin veneered.’ Several of our guests had never seen stone veneered and were particularly fascinated with the way the corner pieces were fabricated, using conveyors to feed the material into an apparatus with perpendicular mounted saws.”

The final stop on the tour had the group exploring the Oklahoma Tamaha Blue quarry. The unique color range is only found in this region of the country. Stone from this formation can be requested chopped, sawed, veneered or tumbled. The quarry team was able to explain and demonstrate the different characteristics of this material as well as spotlight the tumbling process.

“During this tour, we had the opportunity to not only teach, but learn,” said Mayzak. “We found out from the architect and landscape architect perspective what stone accomplishes for them in the creative process. We were able to have some question-and-answer time on successful projects as well as some upcoming things in the design phase. Armed with this, we were able to discuss how there may be limitations with the stone — and how to call stone out to avoid them, or if necessary, request a different material all together.”