Dimension stone (Mt. Airy)
Mining (quarrying) continued - water jet / wire sawing

A wire saw is used to make the bottom cut. Previously a high pressure water jet  was used to cut 3-inch wide vertical cuts up to 21 feet deep. The wire in placed in the vertical cuts and the wire saw is started. Rock masses up to 40 feet by 40 feet are bottom cut in 30 to 40 hours -- a significant time savings over previous the method. 

This view of the horizontal wire saw show the track on which the saw is mounted and the horizontal wheel at the front of the saw. As the horizontal wheel  pulls the wire saw, the machine slowly moves backward along the track to take up slack and to keep continual pressure on the bottom cut. The horizontal floor on which the machine is mounted was cut by the the horizontal wire saw.


Beginning in late 2000, the North Carolina Granite Company began a new quarrying process. The process involves water jet drilling in combination with horizontal wire sawing.

The new process allows quarrying faces to be developed throughout the property, extends reserves, and provides a more efficient quarrying process.

These images show the horizontal wire saw in operation.  The saw wire is placed in vertical slots cut by water jets. The water jet cuts 3-inch wide slots as deep as 21 feet. The dark vertical slot in the left image background  is a vertical jet drilled cut.  The wire saw loop is placed in these slots and the floor of sections up to 40 feet by 40 feet are cut by horizontal wire saws. As the bottom cut advances, the machine moves backward along a track. This keeps pressure on the wire and reduces saw wire slack. 

A closer view of the front of the horizontal wheel at the front of the machine is shown in the lower left view.

This side view of the horizontal wire saw show the track on which the saw is mounted.