How To Bookmatched Marble

Bookmatching is a method of installation of two surfaces with the same pattern adjacent to each other such that they visually mirror each other, producing the impression of open book.

Working with the vein of marble and developing patterns has been an art practiced by stone fabricators since human learned to sculpt.

When working with tile size marble, professional tile setters dry-set the tile on the floor and work with the veins until an eloquent pattern is developed. That same pattern is then transferred to the location where the permanent installation is to be done.

When dealing with slab stone with vein,the approach is different. Some stones like Calacatta Marble, the pattern of the veins can be dramatic and moving. If the installation requires bookmatching, then a pattern has to be developed for the fabrication.

In the old days, we used to take a picture of the marble, enlarge the picture, paste it on cardboards, then cut and fit the board together until a workable patter took shape. Today, the same operation could be worked out on the computer without resorting to arts and crafts.

But bookmatching cannot be done without the availability of sufficient number of slabs with the same pattern. That is to say that when the stone was quarried, several back-to-back slices would be made from the same block so that the veins would be consistent.

Bookmatching is also practiced with wood. Typically a block of wood with interesting mineral deposits is selected, milled, fabricated and finished … often with exquisite results.

The challenge with the project displayed here was to continue the patterns from the floor up the baseboard, shelf and the walls uninterrupted. The stone used was Calacutta Marble. Project date: 2004