Rub only solid stones
in good condition. Check for any cracks, evidence of previous breaks and
adhesive repairs, defoliating stone with air pockets behind the face of
the stone that will collapse under pressure of rubbing, etc
Become educated; learn
how to rub responsibly.
Use a soft brush and
plain water to do any necessary stone cleaning.
Make certain that your
paper covers the entire face of the stone; secure with masking tape.
Use the correct combination
of paper and waxes or inks; avoid magic marker-type pens or other permanent
Test paper and color
before working on stone to be certain that no color bleeds through.
Rub gently, carefully.
Leave the stone in better
condition than you found it.
Take all trash with you;
replace any grave site materials that you may have disturbed.
Don't attempt to rub deteriorating
marble or sandstone, or any unsound or weakened stone (for example, a stone
that sounds hollow when gently tapped or a stone that is flaking, splitting,
blistered, cracked, or unstable on its base).
Don't use detergents,
soaps, vinegar, bleach, or any other cleaning solutions on the stone, no
matter how mild!
Don't use shaving cream,
chalk, graphite, dirt, or other concoctions in an attempt to read worn
inscriptions. Using a large mirror to direct bright sunlight diagonally
across the face of a grave marker casts shadows in indentations and makes
inscriptions more visible.
Don't use stiff-bristled
or wire brushes, putty knives, nail files, or any metal object to clean
or to remove lichen from the stone; Soft natural bristled brushes, whisk
brooms, or wooden sticks are usually OK if used gently and carefully.
Don't attempt to remove
stubborn lichen. Soft lichen may be thoroughly soaked with plain water
and then loosened with a gum eraser or a wooden popsicle stick. Be gentle.
Stop if lichen does not come off easily.
Don't use spray adhesives,
scotch tape, or duct tape. Use masking tape.
Don't use any rubbing
method that you have not actually practiced under supervision.
Don't leave masking tape,
wastepaper, colors, etc., at the grave site
Source: Some Gravestone
Rubbings Dos and Don'ts
From "Gravestone Rubbing
for Beginners," a leaflet available from the Association for Gravestone