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Basic Glass Cutting

This is part four of a multi-part series on glass cutting.  Click here to go to part one.  

Once you’ve scored the glass, it’s time to break it.  There are several approaches, some requiring specialized tools to make the breaking go easier.

1.  Whichever method you choose, breaking the glass should be done firmly, holding the glass securely, and immediately after making the score. If you wait too long, the score will begin to “heal” and it will be difficult to get a clean break.

2.  For best results it's often helpful use a pair of pliers (glasscutters, not household) to help you break the glass.  Running pliers can be used for straight lines, regular glass pliers for smaller ones. 

3.  For stubborn breaks, sometimes it helps to tap along the opposite side of the score with the cutter or another tool.   You might also consider

4.  To break long straight lines, use the edge of the tabletop to coax the glass to break along a scored line. Just place the score so that it lines up with the edge of the table.  Use one hand atop the glass that's on the table to firmly hold it in place, and with your other hand grasp the glass securely and quickly push down.  Be careful when doing this, and make certain you hold the glass securely as it breaks.

 The key to good breaking, just like good cutting, is practice. Use scrap window glass until you feel comfortable with how to use your cutter. If you have a grinder, you can also use it to trim up your mistakes, but with practice and time you’ll cut the glass perfectly every time.

Finally, be careful when disposing of glass. One safe approach is to wrap the small slivers and chips in scrap newspaper and tape together. This quickly tidies up the workplace and also avoids accidental cuts.

Click here if you're interested in reading a list of tips specifically tailored to cutting thin glass strips.

Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Most of these this information adapted from Contemporary Warm Glass:  A Guide to Fusing, Slumping, and Related Kiln-forming Techniques

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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