Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kitchen cabinet replacements - Glass cutting

The cabinet panels are coming along nicely.  The glass is nearly all cut.  In the meantime, I'm posting this quick update on the process of hand-cutting the glass.

Use the manila folder pattern to trace the design on the glass, using a Sharpie pen, black for lighter glass, silver for darker glass.  If the glass is textured, as is the Glue Chip glass shown here, turn the glass over to the smooth side and turn the pattern face down as well.  You won't be able to score glass on the side which has texture.

I use a pistol grip cutter which is oil-filled and readily available on any stained glass site or through eBay.  (The oil in this cutter is green.  There's no need to fill the entire cutter.  A small amount is fine). Press down on the glass at a 90 degree angle.  For straight cuts as shown here, I lean the blade against a ruler to assure that the cut remains straight.  (Ordinarily, I would be holding down the ruler firmly with my left hand, but in this case, I'm holding the camera).

Here are two ways to snap the glass .. First is to use the metal back of the pistol grip cutter and with the glass flat on the work surface, tap repeatedly along the scored line, both front and back.  Use a firm, but loose grip.  Eventually, you'll see the glass begin to separate.  Keep tapping until it separates completely.
Another method is to use "running pliers" (the blue ones shown here).  With the glass laying flat on the work surface, tap along the score line, front and back.  Line up the scored line with the straight line on top of the cutter and apply moderate pressure, remembering that the glass is the boss.  If it won't break right away, go back and tap some more, then try again.  Some glass takes more patience than others.  This Glue Chip is usually very agreeable to cut.

As a general rule, for longer cuts I use the "keep tapping until it breaks" method .. for shorter cuts, I use the running pliers.  Its just a matter of preference.  For more complicated cuts, I use my Omni 2 Plus Diamond Wire Saw.  Its very loud and takes some experience, but is a great bail-out if hand cutting is wasting too much glass.

Once the glass is cut, the sharp edges must be ground with a motorized grinder.  This assures safe handling and also provides a rough surface on which to apply the copper foil later.  (Pardon the condition of my grinder .. It gets a lot of use).  The grinding wheel spins quickly and is adjustable, up and down, to extend its life.  It is kept wet by the sponge (purple one here) which wicks water up from the base of the unit.
Notice that for safety purposes, I wear rubber protectors on my fingers.  They (somewhat) protect a manicure and allow you to grip the glass more securely, especially when its wet.  Staples carries them in different sizes .. Find them here.  After grinding, each piece gets rinsed in the sink, dried, and then placed onto the pattern and trimmed as necessary for a perfect fit.

The next post will show the glass cut for all three panels, and the project will proceed from there.  Stay tuned ...

Visit my website http://www.boehmstainedglass.com/ to see more of my work .. or find me on FaceBook ..https://www.facebook.com/BoehmStainedGlassStudio  Thanks!

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