Monday, March 25, 2013

Octagonal Clear Powder Room Window - Glass cutting

Now that the pattern pieces have been traced, cut and organized, its time to cut the glass.
With stained glass that has a texture, such as the Waterglass and Granite glass used in this window, the pattern pieces must be positioned face down.  All cutting must be done on the flat, or un-patterned side of the glass.  Below, I'm using a fine point black Sharpie pen to outline the piece to be cut. (Click on any photo for a closer look).
 Below, I'm using a pistol grip cutter to score a line directly on top of the Sharpie line.  Cutting should be done at a 90 degree angle, with moderate, even pressure on the glass.  You'll hear a slightly crunchy sound as the blade moves over the glass.   I'm shooting this photo with my left hand but normally I'd be using that pale green ruler on the upper left of the photo to lean against the cutter to get a perfectly straight line.  For a window such as this one, with so many straight lines, use a ruler to score the lines.
Also note the green liquid in the handle of the cutter.  That is oil which keeps the cutting tip lubricated and helps the glass break evenly.
 After the score is made, I repeatedly tap firmly but gently along the line, using the brass stopper at the end of the cutter.  This helps the glass to crack and separate.  Sometimes the glass will crack on its own.  Otherwise, I use a tool (not shown) called "running pliers".  Positioned at the beginning of the score, it will split the glass as soon as slight pressure is applied.  Some glass requires more coaxing than others.  Don't rush it .. Eventually the glass will split.
 To save time, I generally cut glass in a production line fashion.  I do all the tracing and cutting at one time, then all the grinding.  Here I'm using a SuperStar II Grinder by Glastar to smooth down the edges of each cut piece of glass.  Grinding the glass is necessary of course, so that injury from sharp glass is minimized, but also to allow the adhesive copper foil to stick.  Copper foil will not stick properly to sharp, un-grinded glass.
For protection to my fingers, I'm wearing rubber fingers, available in several sizes at Staples Office Supplies.  Notice the purple sponge which is wicking water up from the base of the cutting surface.  The grinding wheel must be kept wet throughout the grinding process.  The reservoir below the cutting surface holds about 12 ounces of water.  I recommend adding about a tablespoon of Glastar's "E-Z Grind Advanced Formula Coolant" to the water.  It conditions the water, makes grinding easier, and lengthens the life of the grinding wheel.
Several times during the glass cutting process, I use a small wisk broom to sweep up any tiny shards of glass which inevitably land on the Homasote work surface.  Even a tiny shard caught under a larger piece of glass can cause it to crack, so its important to keep the work surface clear of debris.
 And below .. All of the glass is now cut and ready for copper foiling.  Now the textures of the glass and bevels can be seen.  This window is coming along beautifully!

Next, the process of adding copper foil to the glass, followed by the soldering process.  Stay tuned ...

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! That's wonderful! I'm excited how it would look like if it's work is all done. :) Please do post it.