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    Cutting glass

    Cutting Glass

    Author: Barrie McKoy

    The cutting of glass is not as hard as a lot of people think the tools that are needed are very basic and safety equipment is probably already in your home.

    The tools are a straight edge that is not too thick and a “diamantor” cutter and a container of light machine oil.

    Safety gear is eye protection and rubber gloves.

    I mentioned a brand in “diamantor” as it’s a cheap but very good cutter that we in my company use almost exclusively. There are other brands and most work well but the “diamantor” is probably the most used cutter in New Zealand. Self oiling cutters are very good and last for years if you look after them but for the price (normally about 5 times the cost) I don’t use them. The cutting wheel lasts no longer than a standard wheel unless it is treated ideally.


    We use a small jar/tin with an old rag on the bottom and tip enough oil into the container to dampen the rag. Your glass cutter should always be kept in this tin as that keeps the cutting wheel in good condition. Your glass is laid flat on a table or similar that has been covered with a thin blanket so as to “cushion” the glass without allowing the glass to sag into the cover. With a marker pen, measure and mark the first cut on both ends of the glass. Make sure that you are measuring from a good clean edge with no chips on then edges. Place your straight edge on the glass and line it up with the marker pen marks but allow for half the thickness of the cutter. Gently place the cutter against the straight edge so that you can make sure that you have allowed enough room on the marks.

    Ask someone to help hold the straight edge at one end and with your free hand, hold the “beginning” end. Your cutter should be holding a small amount of oil from the tin. Make a firm steady cut from one end to the other. When starting the cut, start 1 mm in from the starting edge as by starting over the edge can sometimes break the glass and will damage and shorten the life of any cutter.


    Glass has greater impact strength than steel so the square edge on the edge of the glass will put a small dent in the cutting wheel causing a “miss” in the cut and possible breakage.

    If your cutter develops a miss, don’t try to use it but instead throw it out as it will cause the glass to break or at best give a less that perfect edge.

    Make one solid cut and do not go over the cut again.

    If the cut has small misses in it, join them up. Do not recut the whole cut again. After you have made the cut, its time to break open the glass. You can either place the end of the cutter under the cut and press down evenly on both sides of the glass. Snap the glass as soon as possible after making the cut. If a cut is left too long, the cut goes cold and breakage will often occur.


    Or you can place a straight edge under the glass and again press down evenly on both sides of the cut.


    Repeat the above to make your second cut.

    After the glass has been cut, it would also pay to sand the edges at avoid cutting yourself and to help protect the glass from chipping. Do this by using a sanding block with 180grit “wet and dry” sand paper or greater. Run the sandpaper off the edge of the glass at about a 45deg angle which should create a nice “arris” and look far nicer than a sharp edge.

    Make sure to vacuum both the blanket and surrounding areas as small sparkles of glass will be almost impossible to see.

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