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Glass Saws

This is part three of a multi-part series on glass saws.  Click here to go to part one, which deals with some things to think about before you decide to buy a glass saw.

This tip deals only with inexpensive saws made specifically for cutting shapes in glass.  These kinds of saws tend to cost in the range from $250 to $500 US.  There are three main types: band saws, ring saws, and wire saws.

Band saws cut glass using a thin blade with diamonds on one edge. You cut the glass by pushing it into the blade, which is flexible enough to permit maneuvering the glass to cut intricate patterns that can't be cut by hand. The blade requires water at all times, so that the glass doesn't overheat and crack.  Glastar and Diamond Tech make the most popular models in this range.

Ring saws, which also require water at all times, use a round, diamond-coated blade that's capable of cutting in any direction, rather than the single direction of the band saw. They can cut slightly tighter curves than band saws, but since the blade is relatively thick they remove more glass than the typical band saw.  The Gemini Saw Company makes the best-selling ring saw, which is called the Taurus.

Another type of inexpensive saws is the wire saw, available from Gryphon. This saw, which has the ability to make inside cuts without a lead-in, uses relatively inexpensive (but short-lived) diamond blades that can cut in any direction. It is not as fast as similar band saws and, like the other kinds of saws, the wire saw requires constant bathing with water to keep the glass from overheating and cracking.

If you do purchase a glass saw, realize that it will supplement, not replace your manual glasscutter and pliers. While these kinds of glass saws can make intricate cuts, they're generally not a good choice for cutting straight lines or cutting through thick glass. 

Click here for information on tile saws, which can be used for cutting straight lines in glass.


Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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

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