Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Glass Cutter

Glass Cutter
A simple small tool for cutting glass.

glass cutter
An extra tip glass cutter
A modern oil filled cutter
The two bottom images thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Rasbak and Itzuvit

The tool at the top is my own ultra cheap cutter that I have used in a limited way for cutting the odd ceramic tile an a glass louvre blade or two. The notches in the end are in theory an aid to breaking off small section of glass.

In the middle is maybe an improvement, I am not to sure. It has a few cutting wheels that can be changed when they get dull.

The bottom one is a modern oil filled cutter.

So any of these will do the job, but the job isn't cutting glass. What happens is that the hardened wheel indents a groove in the surface of the glass. Then the back of the sheet of glass is tapped with the ball on the end of the cutter and the glass breaks along the score line.

The tip has only to score the glass and then pressure on the glass will snap it. See this page for more details.

For every different cut the tool tip should be dipped in oil to clean it. I normally use a small saucer with kerosene in it, but any light oil will do. This is messy and so most professional glass worker use the oil filled versions. They are quite a lot more expensive so you would have to guess that the quality of the wheel and axle that do the work is better than the cheap ones.

The trick when cutting glass is to have a flat and clean surface and apply a firm and steady pressure along the full length of the desired break. All cuts that I have done have been using a straight edge to guide the cutter to make a straight line. However to see a stained glass artisan at work is a real delight as they can follow curves just by eye and hand co-ordination and get perfect breaks all the time.

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