Glass Cutting Tools

by Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

When it comes to working with glass, many people feel hesitant about cutting glass pieces to size. This article is an overview of the tools you need and how to use them like a pro. Put on a pair of safety glasses, grab a pair of sturdy gloves and soon you will have more pieces of cut glass and more designs on your to-do list than you may have time for.

Safety Glasses

Marking the Glass for Cutting

Before you begin the cutting process, draw your pattern onto the glass. It is best to make cuts edge-to-edge, so cut beyond your pattern if needed.

Glass Cutter

The pistol grip oil cutter is designed for comfort and to ease hand fatigue when cutting glass for extended periods of time. The handle is also a reservoir designed to hold glass-cutting oil. Glass-cutting oil keeps the blade wheel lubricated and free of any debris that might appear during cutting.

Item Number 4015TL Glass Cutter

How to use it:

To fill the cutter with oil, remove the plug on one end of the handle. Then use the bulb syringe that comes with the cutter to extract oil from the bottle and deposit it in the reservoir. Replace the plug.

Press the cutting wheel to the glass surface then drag the cutter along the glass to score. Oil is automatically emitted as the tool is moved along the glass.

Running Pliers

Running pliers are used to break glass along the score line. Running pliers have rubber tips on the curved ends with a mark at the center to position the pliers right at the score line. The set screw adjusts the pliers for different thicknesses of glass, preventing too much pressure on the glass or the pliers.

Item Number 4013TL Running Pliers

How to use it:

Once the glass is scored, place the glass into a pair of running pliers so the mark on the pliers is lined up with your score line. Squeeze the handles to "run" the score and then ease the glass apart along the score line.

Use the notches along the metal head of the tool to break any pieces that did not break cleanly or use a pair of breaking pliers to accomplish the same task.

Breaking Pliers

Breaking/grozer pliers can be used for both breaking and grinding. Use these as breaking pliers to break glass along the score line if the score is in a difficult place. Use these as grozing pliers by applying the serrated jaws to the glass and grinding the glass away when the break is not clean or straight.

Item Number 4014TL Breaker-Grozer Pliers

Glass Nippers

This type of glass cutter is often referred to as a mosaic glass and tile cutter. The glass nipper has two precision cutting wheels that come together when pressure is applied to the handles, breaking the glass into small pieces. These cutters are also used to cut glass stringers into manageable lengths. The wheels are replaceable which makes this a tool for life.

Once the glass is cut and ready for use, it is advisable to wash the pieces with soap and water to remove any oils from either the glass cutter or your hands. This step will prep the glass for either wrapping the edges with copper foil or for fusing.

Item Number 4017TL Glass Nipper Pliers

For more information about glasswork in jewelry designs, check out the ''Intro to Glass'' article.

Glass Cutting Tools Glass Cutting Tools
Glass Cutting Tools

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