How Glass Cutters Work

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Cutting Glass

Cutting glass does not mean cutting as in separating by using a knife. Cutting glass is actually the act of scoring glass or making a mark or groove across the glass. This weakens the glass along the score and with additional force the glass breaks apart along the scored seam. Techniques for cutting glass are similar whether the glass is a mirror, a window, picture frame glass or stained glass. What varies is the size of the sheet of glass and its thickness.


Components Of A Glass Cutter

The glass cutter is made of two main pieces—the stem or handle and the roller or wheel. The wheel is not sharp, like a blade, but does have an angled or pointed edge. The wheel or disc moves freely so that when it is pressed to a surface it will roll when pushed with the handle. Handles are a length that allows the hand to grip them in a full and steady manner. There are different styled handles—pencil grip, pistol grip, Thomas grip, and a number of custom-styled grips. A third part of some glass cutters is an oil chamber that allows an oiled score line. Connecting the oil to the wheel is a piece of string that carries drops of oil down to the wheel.


Using a Glass Cutter

A glass cutter can be held or gripped any number of ways as long as the person doing the cutting is comfortable in his stance and grip, he can see the wheel in relationship to the line he is cutting and the glass cutter is perpendicular to the line and glass at all times. The choice to use oil or not is always up to the cutter. Becoming accustomed to the right amount of pressure to use grows over time. Pressure should not be so heavy as to gouge the glass. Oiled glass cutters should be stored upright and oil should not be left in the chamber if the cutter is not used very often.


The Act Of Cutting

The same amount of pressure should be used from the start of a cut to the finish of a cut. Standing up to cut will allow for the use of the body to gain better control over the process. Cuts should begin 1/16th inch from the edge and continue to the end by rolling over the final edge. Break glass from the edge the cut finished on. Glass should always sit fully on a work surface. Never hang glass over the edge of a table or surface and then attempt to cut it.


Alex Burke

Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.