Tombstone Rubbing - Gravestone Rubbing
Tombstone rubbing or gravestone rubbing is normally a job that is reserved for professionals. There are people who are paid for the process of maintaining the appearance and inscriptions on a tombstone, in order to record or retrieve the information that is marked out on them. Rubbing a tombstone is something that you can do yourself and what better way of showing your loved ones the kind of respect they deserve than by doing this process yourself?
You can take up tombstone rubbing or gravestone rubbing as a service for yourself, your family or even people in your town or village, doing a lot of good for others while also working on something that you enjoy. It doesn't take too much time to rub a gravestone but if you are going to take up this as a hobby or as a profession, you need to get good at it. You are dealing with the emotional remains of people so you have to pay the utmost respect to the people associated with it.
The Tombstone Rubbing Process
The first thing you need to do is check with the local cemetery whether they allow people to come in practice tombstone rubbing or gravestone rubbing on their premises. Many cemeteries do not allow amateurs to come in rub or clean tombstones because of the potential damage they cause. However, if you do find one where you can try your hand at it, you need to make sure that the tombstone you pick is quite sturdy and well-attached. If a tombstone is wobbly or flaking or chipping, you will end up doing more damage to it than anything, so stay away from those kinds.
Once you've found the tombstone that's ideal to rub, you need to wash it down to get rid of the dust and grime. Use plain water and a soft-bristled brush to scrub the stone. Use light strokes to avoid leaving streaks on the stone. Once you're done with this part of the process wash it down again. Next, you need to take some plain white paper or rice paper that's slightly larger than the size of the tombstone you are working on. Tape the paper to the tombstone and make sure its flat against the surface and make sure that it doesn't slide around.
Then, use a pencil or stick of charcoal or crayon and start rubbing along the outer edges of your paper, working your way towards the inside. Make sure you do this slowly, holding the marker lightly, to ensure that you do not tear through the paper. Do not damage your paper because that will just lead to you damage the tombstone behind it as well. Be gentle, take your time and get it done right. Once you are done, remove the paper and store it away carefully. There are many different materials that you can use, including things like wax. Find out about what all you can use and how easy of difficult they are to work with. Once you have all the options open in front of you, you will find it easier to work your way through the process.
Some Things to Remember
The first thing you need to do is take permission from the cemetery commissioners or the historical society, as per the regulations of the place you plan to practice tombstone rubbing or gravestone rubbing in. Once you are there, do not try to rush things. The more you rush, the more likely you are to make a mistake and if you make a mistake, you will get into trouble for damaging someone's tombstone. Do not use magic-markers for the rubbing process - only use pencils or wax or other materials that come approved or recommended by tombstone rubbing societies or professionals.
Before choosing your paper, you need to make sure that it can handle the colour you put on it as well as the force of rubbing onto it. Always clean your surroundings and try to leave them cleaner than how you started out. When cleaning out the stone before starting off, remember not to use detergents or any hard cleaning agents. Maintain that same cleaning process once you are done tombstone rubbing or gravestone rubbing. If there is a problem with the clarity of the inscriptions, do not use any kind of chalk or dirt to try and make the inscriptions more legible. Use a mirror to direct sunlight onto it.
Never use any sharp instruments either! Nothing damages more or quicker than a sharp object. As long as you don't try to remove anything that's stubbornly stuck onto the gravestone and take care of the smaller and more important aspects of tombstone rubbing, you should have a nice time indulging in the wonderful and interesting hobby of gravestone rubbing.