How to cut glass without chipping

Glass has always stood apart among the building materials. Fragile, mostly transparent, it is not given to everyone, but those masters who make friends with glass can do real miracles out of it: incredible beauty of frescoes, mosaics, stained glass windows. And even simple windows, if they are fitted and inserted correctly, are akin to magic: passing light into the house without letting out heat from it.

Glass cutting technology

Glass cutting technology.

The main wealth of the glazier has always been, is and will be the knowledge of how to cut glass so that its pieces are of the right size and shape, with smooth, without chipping, edges. But if before both the glass itself and the tools for cutting it cost fabulous money, so cutting was trusted to the most experienced craftsmen, then today the situation has changed dramatically. Today, anyone can work with glass, and rarely a home workshop of a self-respecting owner goes without tools for cutting glass.

Which tool to choose

Glass Cutter Types

Varieties of glass cutters.

Glass, like no other building material, requires a good and high-quality tool to work with. Therefore, you need to start with his search and purchase. But if you just go to the hardware store and buy the first glass cutter, then there is almost no chance that he could cut the glass.

First of all, you need to decide what kind of tool you need. Glass cutters are of several types:

  • diamond;
  • roller;
  • oil.

The diamond cutter uses a small diamond as a working tool. The extraordinary hardness of this stone is well known to everyone; therefore, it has been used since time immemorial by masters for cutting glass. Despite its age, the diamond glass cutter is still considered the best tool for cutting glass.

Patterns of glass cutter movement

Patterns of movement of the glass cutter on glass.

Roller glass cutters use a roller made of a high-strength tungsten-cobalt alloy. The standard diameter of such a roller is 6.6 mm, which allows cutting glass with a maximum thickness of 4 mm.

An oil glass cutter recently added to the list of tools for cutting glass. In fact, this is an improved roller glass cutter, in the handle of which a special reservoir is mounted for supplying lubricant to the cutting roller. The lubricant binds the glass microparticles formed during the cutting, reducing the friction of the roller and ensuring smooth movement, deep penetration of the cutter into the glass. This glass cutter can cut glass up to 20 mm inclusive.

When buying a glass cutter for any model, you will surely require the seller to demonstrate the tool in operation. If the result of the demonstration suits you, you can purchase the tool, but not necessarily the one with which it was produced. It is definitely not worth buying an untested tool, even if they are from the same batch with the demo, because very often in modern glass cutting machines the cutting edge is defective.

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Glass preparation for cutting

Electric glass cutting

Glass cutting by electric current.

It is a mistake to believe that it is enough just to put a sheet of glass on the table and start cutting it. Preparation for cutting, even the most minimal, should be. New glass can be simply cleaned of dust and dry wiped with newspapers. The fabric for this is better not to take, because after it on the glass there are small villi that impede the normal operation of the glass cutter.

If you have to cut a used glass, then you first need to degrease it. It is easy to make a clean linen or flannelette cloth soaked in kerosene. Then the glass must be thoroughly rinsed using special detergents. And the final stage of preparation will be the drying of the glass in a closed clean room so that a minimum of dust gets onto the cleaned surface.

For preparatory work can be attributed, and cutting glass, as well as the preparation of containers for waste. It is better that there are two of them: then it will be possible to put small waste into one, to be disposed of later, and the second - larger, which can still be useful for other purposes.

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How to cut glass

Drawing of a rectangular glass coffee table

Drawing of a rectangular glass coffee table.

When cutting glass, you should always follow the principle “from simple to complex”. In practice, this means that you need to start practicing on ordinary window glass, and the cutting itself should be done with straight lines. And just by gaining enough experience, you can take up cutting art or cutting expensive glass.

The cutting technique is quite simple. First you need to prepare a table or other flat surface on which to cut. It is better to cover the surface in 4-5 layers with a newspaper, this will, firstly, protect the surface of the table from glass chips, and secondly, more evenly distribute the pressure of glass on the table, preventing it from cracking.

Glass must be completely put on the tabletop, departing from its edge by 5-7 cm. The cutter itself must be directly opposite the cut mark. It is better (and more convenient) to spread your legs shoulder-width apart to securely fix the body and at the same time it is possible to freely move the body over the incision site. This situation gives the maximum chance for a successful final result.

During cutting, glass should fit snugly to the tabletop, therefore, in order to avoid vibration, press it to the surface with your free hand, but without fanaticism, otherwise glass, especially thin, can be crushed.

Taking a glass cutter in your hand, you need to draw a line from one edge of the sheet to the other. The glass cutter wheel should go strictly along the marked line, but it should still be strictly at right angles to the glass surface all the time.

There are some subtleties when using different types of glass cutters. They cut it with a diamond glass cutter, taking it from the very bottom of the base of the handle, tracing along the ruler smoothly, like a pencil, along the marked line, practically without pressing it on the glass.

If you do the cutting correctly, then during the movement of the glass cutter you will hear a subtle crackling sound. A properly made cut line will be thin and shallow, barely noticeable against the background of the glass.

Unlike diamond, on a roller glass cutter, when it moves along the glass, it is necessary to press lightly, therefore the incision line is distinguished by a whitish, clearly visible stripe, besides, deeper than with a diamond glass cutter.

Failures when cutting glass are most often from 2 reasons:

  • too much pressure with a glass cutter;
  • holding a glass cutter several times in one line.

The glass cutter during cutting should be pressed evenly along the entire length of the cut.

Glass Cutting Techniques

Receptions cutting glass line.

For glass with a thickness of 2 mm, the pressure should be from 1 to 1.5 kg, for 4-5 mm of glass, such an effort should be significantly greater - 5 kg. But the speed of the line does not matter.

If you, while driving a glass cutter, noticed that small splinters fly off the glass at the cut location, this means that you are pressing too hard on the glass cutter. To correct the situation, you need to immediately reduce the pressure.

Repeated cutting of glass along a single line is unacceptable in any case. It practically ruins the cutting part of your glass-cutter, and the probability that the chip will go wrong in this case is very large. No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to repeat the exact copy of the first line, imperceptible shifts to the side will be necessary.

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How to break off the glass

Usually thin glass break hands. Put the cut glass on the edge of the table, so that the cutting line is on top and slightly protrude from the edge of the tabletop, and most of the glass is on the tabletop. With one hand, press the glass to the table, and with the other, hold the glass by the half protruding at the table. Then with your second hand, gently push the glass down.

In case the breakable edge is too small and there’s nothing to do with it, then break off the glass with pliers. Take the pliers so that the edge of their lips is on the cutting line, lightly squeeze the glass and gently push the handles down. Usually with pliers it is impossible to break off the cut strip as a whole, therefore several such approaches will be needed.

Theoretically, knowing how to cut glass, take some unwanted glass and practice on it to feel the tool and fill a little hand. And then, if you have to cut the glass, the hand itself will remember the desired position of the glass cutter, and the necessary pressure.

Good luck!

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