We receive numerous enquiries regarding curling stones, in the following pages we have answered those questions that are most often sent to us.
 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TILESET/AILSET AND TILESERT/AILSERT CURLING STONES?

There is no difference in the way the stones run, because they have identical running edges and cups, and identical material when setting or inserting the stones.

The Tileset/Ailset process, protected by our patent #2,083,446, is installed in the following manner;

We slice 3/4 inch of granite off one surface of the club's curling stone and using a special granite epoxy adhesive, we adhere a disc of Porcelain tile or Blue Hone Ailsa Craig granite to this surface. We then reshape this surface, providing a 5 inch diameter running edge with a 1/4 inch depth cup. When the polishing is completed and while the stone is rotating in the chuck, we touch the surface of the running edge with a 6 ½ inch square, machined brass plate. The brass transfers a thin line onto the running edge, and by examining this line, we can assure that the running edge is perfect. Should there be any problems in the grinding or polishing the brass line would be irregular, which is usually caused by a worn bearing.

The following are some very elementary reasons why Tileset/Ailset is superior to Tilesert/Ailsert.

On a Tilesert/Ailsert, the inserted disc material (Tile or Blue Hone) has a different expansion and contraction rate, to that of the stone to which it is attached. This could cause a very serious problem if the spacing between the inserted disc is not perfectly centered.
This is not a problem with our patented Tileset/Ailset.

The seam of adhesive on a "Tileset/Ailset" stone is around the shoulder of the stone and away from the ice surface.

The seam of adhesive on a "Tilesert/Ailsert" stone (6 ½ inches diameter) is very close to the running edge (5 inches diameter) therefore, it is possible to get damaged and become dislodged.

Also, when pressing the "Tilesert/Ailsert" disc into the cored hole of the stone, air tends to get trapped in the adhesive leaving voids, which in turn causes the bond to be weaker than that of the Tileset/Ailset.

Also, with the "Tileset/Ailset" the dense material is a complete slab all across the bottom of the stone nullifying chances of fractures.

The Blue Hone granite has been quarried from the Island of Ailsa Craig but this Island has now been designated as a bird sanctuary, and quarrying has not been allowed for some years.
 

MORE ABOUT PORCELAIN CERAMIC
RUNNING SURFACES FOR CURLING STONES

Due to the closing of the quarry on the Island Of Ailsa Craig in Scotland we have been searching for a granite that would be as suitable or better than the Blue Hone granite now being used for running surfaces of curling stones.

In 1993 we discovered a very dense granite which was quarried in Eastern Canada, and after extensive testing found it to have the same qualities as Blue Hone. Since there still was an abundance of old, mismatched, chipped, Blue Hone curling stones available, we decided to purchase them from curling clubs and recycle them, by cutting them into slabs for Ailsets and Ailserts.

I estimate that there is still enough of these old Blue Hones stones available to supply our requirements for another couple of years, but they are becoming somewhat difficult to find.

We could still rely on the supply of the granite from Eastern Canada, but since this quarry is not presently in production, it would have been expensive for us to have it re-opened.

Along with our search for a suitable or better granite we have also been continually searching for other materials to be used for the running surfaces. This included a variety of composites and alloys.

After extensive testing "Porcelain Ceramic" proved beyond our expectations to not only be as suitable as the Blue Hone granite, but far superior to it.

Here are the specifications and reasons that prove the Porcelain Ceramic to be superior for use as a running surface for curling stones.

1. Extremely low moisture absorption, less than .03%
2. Unbelievable abrasion resistance.
3. No calcium deposits, (white specks) to become dislodged, causing inconsistent running of a curling stone.
4. Endless supply for the future.
5. As the supply of Blue Hone granite diminished the price increased, therefore the cost may have soon become out of reach for most curling clubs.
6. Incomparable fracture resistance (guaranteed for an extra 10 years.)

If you have any doubts about the durability or wearability of Porcelain when used on curling stone running surfaces, consider and compare it in the following applications;

1. Protective shielding against extreme heat and cold, on the U.S. Space shuttle.
2. Flooring for manufacturing plants and warehouses, where heavy production machinery is used, also where solid rubber and metal wheeled fork lifts are used.
3. Lining for industrial furnaces and foundries .
4. Tools, jigs, and abrasives.
5. Turbine blades, precision instrument parts.
6. Artificial teeth, and bones.
7. Light emitting and laser diodes.

Considering all of the above information, if there still is any doubt in the minds of curling club executive about choosing Porcelain tile, instead of Blue Hone, we would urge that they wait one more season before resurfacing their stones. We will supply two or more Tileset stones, free of charge for trial next fall.
 

WE HAVE HAD ENQUIRIES ABOUT HOW CRUCIAL IT IS THAT;

the running edges be exactly 5 inches diameter.
the cup be deeper than 1/4".
the weight of the stones be within ounces of each other, if not should they be weighed and matched.
 

WE CONDUCTED MANY TESTS USING;

Three stones, one with a 4 ½ inch diameter running edge, one with a 5 inch diameter running edge and one with a 5 ½ inch diameter running edge, all three stones were the same weight.
Three stones with one weighing 36 lbs 6 ounces, one weighing 40 lbs 2 ounces and one weighing
48 lbs 12 ounces, all three stones had the same diameter running surface.
Two stones weighing 39 lbs 6 ounces, one with 3/16 inch cup depth and one with ½ inch cup depth.
All these eight stones had newly reconditioned running edges with the exact same contours.

OUR ANSWER;

The result was that there was absolutely no difference in the amount of curl or speed of all of these stones. Should anyone doubt this or be interested in seeing it, we would be happy to conduct this test in their presence. Contact us and we will arrange it.
 

WHAT IS TILESET AND TILESERT?

Prior to this season it was common to use the term "Ailset" and "Ailsert" when discussing the refurbishing of curling stones by installing a Blue Hone granite running surface onto stones.

With the discovery and totally successful testing of Porcelain Ceramic material, it is now necessary to make a further explanation.

We have a patent pending on the use of Porcelain for curling stone running surfaces and we are brand naming the porcelain as "Tileset" and "Tilesert" to avoid confusion.
 

The term "Ailset" meant that Blue Hone Ailsa Craig granite was "set" or adhered to the running surface of the stone and "Ailsert" meant that the Blue Hone Ailsa Craig granite was "inserted" into the curling stone. Tileset will be installed the same way as Ailset, and Tilesert the same as Ailsert.

WHAT IS FUDGING AND WHAT CAUSES IT?

If you have watched the major events on television in the past few years, you will have noted that there is a lot of mention by the commentators and by the players about the so called "fudging" or loss of pebble down the slide path at both ends of the curling ice. In our tests we have proven that the major cause of the loss of this pebble is caused by the stones as they are delivered down that path with every shot. Stones that have a prominent scoop on the inside of the cup, tend to cause excessive wear of the pebble, due to the relatively sharp inner lip of the running edge. Think about it, all stone manufacturers have a gradual contour from the shoulder of the stone to the outside of the running edge. So why not have the exact same contour from the running edge inward, instead of a scoop and lip. Furthermore many of the top curlers are complaining about these stones with scooped cups. During the delivery, the stones grab the pebble, which can be felt with their fingers before the release. Another complaint is that if a definite spin is not put on the turn, the stones will "pick" and/or lose the turn.

Twelve years ago, when we first developed our stone grinding machine, we conducted countless tests changing the contour of the running edge and after months of tests and changes, proved that the best running stones had a gradual contour from the outside, to the running edge, and the same contour from the running edge, inward.
 

HOW DO YOU GET THE HIGH GLOSS POLISHED FINISH
ON CURLING STONES?

This is a very good and important question. When we have completed the grinding process on stones, the surface is so smooth that only a slight buffing with four different compounds of polishing bricks is required.

We originally tried polishing by spinning the stone on a turntable at high speed. We would then press a hinged arm onto the stone, which was covered with sheepskin. This sheepskin was loaded with a wet "mud", a polishing compound. We would let the stone spin for approximately 30 minutes, at which time the mud compound would become totally dry. The stone would then be so hot from the friction that when water was applied to cool the stone for removal, the water would sizzle and steam. We found that this method of polishing was less expensive but that is resulted in severe damage to the surface of the stone. This damage was not visible, but it caused premature pitting of the granite. We immediately ceased using this method of polishing. In our method of grinding, and polishing there is never any heat used, in fact, the stone is always cold.
 

WHAT CAUSES STONES TO JUMP ON THE IMPACT OF A TAKE-OUT?

The simple answer is that the striking bands are too convex. There was a serious concern when new stones were used at a major curling event, in 1998. These stones jumped or "saucered" on the impact of a take-out shot. This not only caused bruising of the ice, but likely caused an abnormal finish to the travel of the stone. Once these bands flattened through wear, the saucering stopped. There are some who say that a rounded striking band is better so we will let you be the judge. Once the convex or rounded area has worn flat, the stones will start making contact on the polished area. By convexing the band, a lot of material is being removed leaving very little surface contact between two stones. If the impact occurs on the polished area of the stone, the granite will readily chip.
 
 

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN REPROTRUDING THE STRIKING BANDS?

When we reprotrude the striking band, we leave the flattened or worn area as is. Using a diamond tooling, we remove a small rim of granite above and below the striking band. This procedure stops the stones from making contact on the polished area above and below the band. Even in a busy curling rink, reprotruding with our method would not be required again for 30 years or more. If instead, 1/4 to 1/2 lb of granite is removed from the striking band, in order to make it convex, there would in fact be less granite there, and the band would soon wear to the point that it is again making contact on the polished area. So what do you get with a convex striking band? Jumping or saucering stones and soon thereafter, chipping when the band wears and makes contact on the polished area.
 

IS THERE A GUARANTEE ON RECONDITIONING AND REFURBISHING OF CURLING STONES?

Yes, the following is our guarantee which has been in place from the first day that we started reconditioning stones. With the introduction of the Porcelain Ceramic material, our Tileset and Tilesert guarantee will be extended from 10 years to 20 years.
 

GUARANTEE OF MATERIALS AND WORKMANSHIP
 

THE FOLLOWING IS EXACTLY WHAT WE GUARANTEE;

A totally precision running edge on both sides of the stones, with absolutely no so called "break-in" period whereas the stones would tend to run heavy or inconsistent.

If the stones are matched sheets (16 stones) they will all run identical after we recondition them and there is no need to match them in pairs.

We do not guarantee against pitting of curling stones because this is totally beyond our control, unless the granite or material is the non-absorbent type, (i.e.) Porcelain Tile or Blue Hone Ailsa Craig. We use the Porcelain Tile and Blue Hone granite in our process of installing a new running surface onto curling stones, and in this case we do guarantee against pitting due to moisture absorption. We also guarantee against separation or breakage of the new surface and of the epoxy adhesive. Our Ailset and Ailsert guarantee is in effect for 10 years. Our Tileset and Tilesert is guaranteed for 20 years.

This guarantee will be null and void if proper care and storage of the stones is not maintained.

To assure a complete understanding of our guarantee it is very important that you read the pages under the heading of "Tips and Suggestions on Stone Reconditioning" also "Care and Storage of Curling Stones", and also "Our Method of Reconditioning Stones."
If for some reason these are not included you should insist on reading them before getting reconditioning done by anyone.
 
 

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS TYPES OF STONES

BLUE HONE AILSA CRAIG; Usually a plain or marbly grey color although some have brown, pink, blue or green shades. One of the original granites used for stones, it was the best for a running edge because it is so dense it doesn't readily absorb moisture or pit. See our information on the Tileset and Tilesert stones. Unfortunately, it was not so good as a striking band because it is so dense that it would eventually break away upon impact and cause break out on the band which appeared like knots in wood. Another problem was the calcium deposits (white spots) which tended to wear or pitt out, causing inconsistent running of the stones. Some of these stones may be over 70 years old and the older stones were bought in pairs by the curlers. At that time the sizes, shapes and weights varied from pair to pair because there was no regulation as to size and weight.

COMMON AILSA CRAIG; Usually green shade with Robin egg black speckle, quarried from the same island as Blue Hone Ailsa Craig. It is not a dense granite, therefore, it didn't break out on the striking band as bad as the Blue Hone but it does absorb moisture on the running edge, and consequently is very prone to pitting.

RED TREVOR STONES; Usually have a reddish or brown shade, are great as a striking band but do absorb moisture into the running edge, eventually pitting, which causes the stone to run inconsistent. Quarried in North Wales, U.K.

BLUE TREVOR STONES; Some are light grey, dark grey, or dark blue. This granite is quarried from the same quarry as Red Trevors, it usually is slightly more absorbent than the Red Trevors on the running edge.

KEENEY STONE; Usually a sandy brown color with square shaped shoulders. Poor granite because it is very brittle causing early wear on the striking band and also readily absorbs moisture into the running edge causing pitting and flaking.

INDIAN GRANITE; Looks similar to Grey Trevor, is very similar to the Keeney in respect to early wear on striking band and absorption of moisture into running edge.

There are also a few other types of granite stones in use, some are a very glassy black color. This is very poor granite.
 

CARE AND STORAGE OF CURLING STONES

Curling stones are the most important piece of equipment that a curler uses. No brush or broom, no matter how well swept, can correct the travel of a stone that runs inconsistent.

Very often this is not taken into consideration by the curling club executive. In their wisdom they will spend thousands of dollars on renovations of the Club Room, Bar or Locker Rooms, meanwhile the curling stones are in very poor condition.

The poor condition of the stones may be:

Pitted running edges; caused by absorption of moisture which freezes in the granite, expands and then dislodges particles of granite.

Flat and/or broken striking bands; usually caused by long wear. The flat or broken striking band on one stone will damage the striking bands of all the other stones on that particular sheet of ice. This damage is caused every time the flat spot on the damaged stone hits the other stones making contact with the shiny area above and/or below the striking band on the good stones. This shiny area will eventually chip out causing irreparable damage. The striking bands should be re-protruded as soon as possible before any more damage is caused to the good stones.
 

DO'S AND DON'TS

1. Do turn stones each season for even wear.

2. Do leave them on the ice on a thin, moisture proof mat at all times. If stones are removed for a short time in order to clean the ice surface, be sure to properly cool them to ice temperature before using them again by setting them on the thin moisture proof mat on the ice surface.

3. Don't ever set or play stones on wet ice.

4. Don't store stones on the walkway or back boards. Any slight rise in temperature will be absorbed by the stones causing them to melt in and absorb moisture, and this also will cause stones to run heavier. Sometimes the melt in is so slight that it may not be readily noticeable nevertheless, it does happen.

5. Don't pile stones on top of each other or on any abrasive surface.

6. Don't allow persons to deliver two stones in motion at the same time toward each other, because if the stones make a head-on contact it is very likely that they will break under this abnormal impact.

7. Should ice surface become wet, due to freezer plant failure, don't remove the stones from the moisture proof mat until ice is completely re-frozen. If plant has shut down long enough to allow the melt to overflow the moisture proof mat, the stones must be removed, properly dried, and re-cooled as explained in No.2

8. Do make sure that stones are dry before placing them on the moisture proof mat on the ice surface. Anytime a lot of ice flooding is being done, there can be an extreme amount of humidity in the rink, which condenses on the cool curling stones, runs off the stone onto the moisture proof mat and then becomes absorbed into the running edge of the stone. If this happens, the stones must be removed from mat, properly dried and re-cooled as explained in No.2.
 

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS ON STONE RECONDITIONING/REFURBISHING

Before choosing a Company to recondition your curling stones we suggest you read and seriously consider the following -

Get a list of at least five curling clubs that have recently had stones reconditioned or refurbished by the Company and contact the club executive or icemaker. If the stones had been reconditioned some seasons earlier it is important that you ask how the stones reacted from the start on each side, and if there was a "break-in period" before the stones ran consistent and/or keen.

Have the Company recondition or refurbish at least two of your Club's spare stones and have many of your club curlers test these stones to check if they run keen and/or consistent. If your Club does not have two spare stones, insist that they provide two newly reconditioned or refurbished stones on a loan basis for trial. Inspect the running edge of the loaner stones, if they show obvious wear, it is unlikely that they have been newly reconditioned.

Insist on a written and signed quotation. Ask if this quote is subject to "change upon inspection or type of stone", or if there will be any "assessment of travel expenses". If the reconditioning is not performed at your Club you should get a quotation of freight charges.

Ask if the Company is actually going to recondition or refurbish the stones or just re-polish or sandpaper them.

Ask if the company's quote includes reconditioning of both sides of the stones. Your Club's stones may only be cupped on one side and the Company may not have the proper equipment to cup the other side, consequently, it will not be done.

Check accessibility of contact with the responsible person in the Company in case there should be any problems with the stones after they have been reconditioned (i.e.) does the Company have an office open 12 months of every year, or is there just a telephone answering service or telephone message recorder.

In most cases there is a period of ten years or more between the time that Curling Clubs have the stones reconditioned. A Company that not only reconditions stones, but also sells a complete line of products to the Curling Club, would not likely jeopardize these sales by providing poor workmanship in the reconditioning or refurbishing of stones.

Check if the Company has local or regional representation across Canada and U.S.A. in order to assure fast service in case of any problems.

Insist on a written guarantee in plain, straight forward language, as to exactly what is covered in the guarantee.

Ask what type of equipment will be used to recondition and polish the stones (i.e.) will precision diamond grinding and polishing wheels be used, or instead, will they be using silicone carbon wheels? Will there be a lot of heat built up by using compounds to polish instead of diamond wheels? Is their equipment portable or light weight allowing vibrations to cause imperfections in the running edge?
 

OUR METHOD OF RECONDITIONING STONES

1. We do not use Silicone Carbon grinding wheels, which we find provide a very inconsistent running edge. We instead use Diamond Segment grinding wheels which are totally precision.

2. We do not use Silicone Carbon sanding discs, or honing stones or polishing compounds. We find these can cause an extreme amount of heat build up, increasing the possibility of "cooking" or "scorching" and causing early pitting. These polishing methods could also cause stones to run inconsistent because they are not precision. We instead use Diamond Segment polishing wheels which leave a totally precision finish and there is absolutely no heat build up whatsoever.

3. We do not have a light weight, portable reconditioning machine, because we found that unless the machine is extremely rigid and well framed, the slightest vibration will cause an inferior running edge. Our machine weighs over 1,000 lbs. and is lag bolted to the concrete floor of our shop.

4. We do not fasten the stone to the turntable of the grinder or polisher by using a stone bolt through the centre of the stone. We found that many of the holes through the stones are not totally centered and therefore the grinding wheel would not properly centre the running edge to the circumference of the stone. Our stones are held secure to the turntable by use of adjustable jaws which clamp at the circumference of the stone thereby totally centering the stone to the grinding wheel. This method also allows us to recondition the stone right to the center of the cup without cutting off any stone bolts.

Because we provide a totally precision running edge, there is absolutely no so called "break-in period" whereas the stones run inconsistent or heavy, not even on the first delivery of the stone.
 

OTHER SERVICES WE PROVIDE

Installation of Tilesets and Tileserts onto your Club's stones.
Installation of Ailsets and Ailserts onto your Club's stones.
Reprotude the striking band of your Club's stones.
Outright purchase or trade-in of your Club's stones.
Manufacture new granite adult and junior stones.
Manufacture new plastic with granite junior stones.
Manufacture new Bantam with granite stones.