Once a monument has been engraved and inspected at the shop, it is ready for delivery and to be set up at the cemetery. Generally, a number of monuments are loaded onto the truck for delivery to a particular area. At LONS, the tablets are loaded their normal upright position, separated by softwood or packing foam, and are securely strapped together. The granite bases are then loaded, and any markers, footstones and corner-posts required. Usually the truck begins a trip well loaded, but on occasion along trip is made to deliver only one or two monuments.
Before any monument is delivered, a proper concrete footing must be installed in the cemetery to provide a flat level surface. A number of cemeteries install their own footings and bill the monument companies. Sometimes these charges seem excessive, but LONS normally absorbs them and does not pass them on to our clients. Often, it is necessary to wait more than a month for a cemetery to complete a footing.
Monuments are set ‘dry’ on the footings. That is there is no mortar or bonding agent used. This is so that a monument may be temporarily moved to permit the safe operation of cemetery machinery (or if struck by such, offer less chance of damage to either the memorial or the offending equipment). Occasionally, some shimming material might be placed between a monument’s base and the footing to prevent wobble, but this is quite rare for LONS because our men are fussy about finishing the footings smooth and perfectly flat.
Between the two parts of the monument (the base and the tablet), four non-ferrous metal shims or spacers are positioned and a continuous bead of specially formulated sealing putty is applied under the edge. The weight of the granite tablet slowly compresses the putty and any excess which squeezes out from under is trimmed away. The purpose of the spacers is to take enough of the weight of the tablet to prevent it from ‘floating’ on the putty and ‘drifting’ off-centre as it cures. The curing process takes several weeks during which time it penetrates the granite to form a remarkably strong, water-tight bond. It is NOT a good idea to try to”shake” the monument or test the strength of this bond, especially if the monument is small, until the sealer is fully cured!