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Just what is "Post Rock"?

Eons ago, much of what is known as Kansas was covered by a sea.  Sediment from that sea eventually formed a layer of hard limestone studded with fossils.  The first pioneers of the central plains found fields of buffalo grass, but little timber.  Searching for an alternative building material, they soon came to realize the potential hidden in the chalky ledges jutting out of the windswept plains.  Quarried stone was used for fence posts, as well as building material for homes, churches, and schools.  Use of the stone for fencing was so prevalent it began to be called "fence post" limestone, or "Post Rock". 

Our signs are made both from antique posts and freshly quarried post rock.

How was the stone quarried?

Located just a few feet below the surface, post rock limestone tends to show it's edges where the soil has eroded around it.  Clearing the soil from the surface, the early settlers then used hand drills and pinch bars to pry blocks of stone loose to use for building material. Specialized tools were soon in use to assist in the quarrying process.  After drilling holes approximately 8 inches apart, a set of feather and wedges were placed in each hole and hammered tight until the rock would split.  Stone posts typically would be cut 8 inches wide by 6 feet long.  As each post weighs approximately 300 - 450 pounds, moving them was a challenge for the landowner.  The posts were dressed at the quarry, a wagon driven over each post, and the post then attached to the underside of the wagon with a sling.  The landowner would then drive the wagon to the post hole and unleash one end from the sling, allowing the post to slide into the hole.  An average of 25 posts could be set in a day.  Considering that over 40 thousand miles of post rock fencing was used, the ingenuity and spirit of the pioneers is to be admired.  Much of these fence lines are still in use today, as a drive through the area will attest.   For more on the history of this unique material, please visit the Post Rock Museum located in LaCrosse, Kansas.

By the generosity of some wonderful landowners, we are able to quarry the stone ourselves, using much of the same technique, the drilling of the holes and feathers and wedges, but with the help of modern tools and machinery.

How are the signs engraved?

After smoothing the face of the stone, a rubber mat is glued down.  The design is printed onto paper that is in turn glued to the rubber mat.  Using exacto knives, the design is cut out, exposing the areas to be engraved.  The stone is then sandblasted deeply.  After painting the etched areas with Lithichrome (TM) paint, the rubber mat is removed and the stone cleaned and sealed with StoneDri (TM), a silicone sealer.

How long can I expect my stone to last?

Post rock only gets harder as it ages, which is why so much of the original fencing can still be seen today.  We recommend that your sign be sealed with Thompson Water Seal (TM) or something equivalent once a year.  This is easily done with a common sprayer.  With proper treatment, your sign should outlast you. 

 



Scarecrow Stone & Steel
Kathy & Tim Cameron, owners
2780 East Hwy 24
Hill City, Kansas  USA  67642
785-421-2388
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