Friday, August 12, 2011

Art Deco stained glass cutting tips

Glass cutting for the Art Deco window is moving along well.  As of today, I've cut 240 pieces .. only 50 more to go.  I'll soon be posting a photo of the window with all the glass cut.  Before I do, though, I want to share a couple of glass cutting tips.

Cutting thin strips can be challenging.  If the score is not perfectly straight, or if you do not tap the glass enough times, or if the glass just decides to be weird, the strips will break exactly where you don't want them to.  Its very frustrating and it can be expensive.

The two nearest stained glass stores are each a one-hour drive, round trip.  Neither of them generally carry the exact glass I need for a particular project.  And since neither store has the inclination to say over the phone what they have in stock, they require an in-person visit. When I'm in the throes of a wonderful project, the last thing I want to do is leave my work and make a one-hour round trip, only to come home empty handed.

I use two wonderful online suppliers who are better stocked, but they both have minimums and a two- to three-day wait for delivery.  Neither option is good.  The best option is to buy enough glass, allow for breakage, and then do everything possible not to break what isn't supposed to break.

Quite by accident during the course of this window, I discovered a better way to cut strips without using running pliers. I successfully used this technique to cut most of the strips in the window.  I also cut a 15" x 2" strip with no issues.  Try it.

Working on a homasote board, lay the pattern piece on the glass and outline it with a Sharpie pen.  Pressing your pistol-grip cutter against a ruler and into the glass, score the straight lines.  Keep the scored glass flat on the homasote board.  Then, using the back (metal) end of the pistol grip cutter, lightly tap along the score lines, front and back, repeatedly.  You need to tap firmly, but loosely .. Let the glass know who's boss but give it some respect, too. Eventually, the pieces will split exactly at the score line. You'll know when you've hit the sweet spot. It will sound like a thud instead of a clink. 
After you've cut the pieces, of course you must grind them.  Since each piece of glass has its own individual number, its essential to keep each piece identified until it is placed in its own spot on the pattern.  When you wash the glass after grinding, considering using cold water instead of warm.  I found the markings are less likely to wash off.  If they do wash off, keep a Sharpie by the sink and re-mark each piece immediately.  Keep the pattern pieces nearby so you can immediately match them to what you are cutting.
Next post:  The Art Deco window with all glass cut.

Boehm Stained Glass Studio website and FaceBook site.

No comments:

Post a Comment