I was so taken by the chief
October 24, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light? An excerpt from Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani, which follows a foreman at a marble quarry.
posted by klangklangston (24 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Needs more Prokofiev.
posted by vapidave at 1:27 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Very cool. But how do you move those blocks around once you've knocked them over? Wonder if that's in rest of the documentary.
posted by echo target at 1:33 PM on October 24, 2014


Beautiful! ... it looks like they put filler or scrap material below to cushion the fall.
posted by quazichimp at 1:40 PM on October 24, 2014


It sounds dumb when I say it out loud but for some reason I was surprised how much the marble looks like marble.

This was really neat.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


But how do you move those blocks around once you've knocked them over?

I just went back to one of my first posts, which was called "How to move an obelisk," but the links are both bad. Moving heavy, oblong stones is a hard problem because of shear strength, but is basically considered a solved one. You strap long bits of wood or metal to the sides of it, and use those to lift it. At least, that's what you did a few thousand years ago. The tech may have advanced some by now.
posted by carsonb at 1:44 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


It sounds dumb when I say it out loud but for some reason I was surprised how much the marble looks like marble.

Same here. I guess I thought it was more like granite, where in its rough state it doesn't look particularly un-stone like. Marble is just made like that. Crazy.
posted by Think_Long at 1:46 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pretty amazing looking stuff. I look forward to seeing the full film if I ever get the chance.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:59 PM on October 24, 2014


"Otherworldly" is the right word. Gorgeous.
posted by Skorgu at 2:00 PM on October 24, 2014


I just went back to one of my first posts, which was called "How to move an obelisk," but the links are both bad.

Sounds like it's time for a double.

It doesn't seem fair that your link to eternallycool.net is broken.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:00 PM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ah, here's the old book: Della Trasportatione Dell'Obelisco Vaticano
posted by carsonb at 2:01 PM on October 24, 2014


So marble cleaves like wood. Huh, you'd think I would have known that.
posted by Curious Artificer at 2:02 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light?

I read this line and figured this was about video games.

I definitely want to watch this documentary now. The video's amazing.
posted by curious nu at 2:17 PM on October 24, 2014


It sounds dumb when I say it out loud but for some reason I was surprised how much the marble looks like marble.

I think some of that has to do with how they carve the blocks out. I think they used to do it by drilling a bunch of holes in a line and then getting it to fracture along those lines. Then it took a lot of smoothing and polishing before it was down to the finished surface.

Now I think they use a couple of different purpose built saws, one of which is basically a big loop of cable with some kind of abrasive coating that gets threaded through some starter holes or looped around the block like this. The other is basically a gigantic chainsaw. Both of them go really slowly and the cutting surfaces are very fine so cut surfaces don't need much polishing to look like the final product which wastes less material.
posted by VTX at 2:31 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


It is fun to watch a maestro at work, but those are pretty standard construction signals to guide machinery and cranes.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I dunno, when I think of the "standard" versions I envision 10 complete fingers.
posted by agentofselection at 4:19 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The quarry should give him Google glass and connect the machines directly to his gestures.
posted by BentFranklin at 4:36 PM on October 24, 2014


The eternallycool.net page was basically just pulling some cool plates from the Archived book, here's the Wayback version.
posted by carsonb at 4:47 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


"So marble cleaves like wood. Huh, you'd think I would have known that."

It doesn't necessarily want to as much as wood. You can't help but split lodgepole pine any less than parallel but if you try to split mahogany you are making wood for the fire.

Way back when and still they used "feathers and wedges" or "plug and feather" or "wedges and shims". They are different terms for the same thing. [wiki]

But the clean vertical cuts you might be referencing are likely made by a giant chain saw. [link] Elsewhere they are made by giant circular saws. [link]

I'm obviously and unapologetically enamored of the process.
posted by vapidave at 5:33 PM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Awesome stuff, dave! Thanks!
posted by klangklangston at 6:18 PM on October 24, 2014


> The quarry should give him Google glass and connect the machines directly to his gestures.

Down.
Left.
Right.
Right.
DOWN!
Backup slowly.
(Get a 40% discount on marble counters today only on CheapMarble.com!)
Down.
Right.
Right.
Forward.
Forward.
(Gloves! 40% off until Sunday only at GlovesRUs.com!)
.
.
.
[throws glasses under granite just as it tips and walks away]
posted by Poldo at 6:33 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Damn. And I just HAD to have an office job.

...Damn.
posted by happyroach at 2:24 AM on October 25, 2014


I wonder how slippery the quarry gets when it's raining.
posted by furtive at 8:37 AM on October 25, 2014


At first I really wanted to know what happened to the terminal digits on a couple of his fingers there, but then I didn't.

Guy's an artist. Very cool to watch.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:36 PM on October 25, 2014


I was looking over things,
Just wandering back there -
Down there,
Now here.
There.
No, there!
Now here.
Here!
STOP.

Okay.
Well, how's it look?
Uh, not too good.
Okay, let's try another one.
Let's go back over here.
No, up a bit.
Over to the left.
Up two.
That one!
Yeah, this is okay.
This one is okay!
This one is alright!
This one is O-K!!
posted by hydrophonic at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2014


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