I mentioned last week that I started a Stained Glass class. Most of the ladies in the class have never cut glass, so last week was spent practicing cutting. The instructor specializes in glass blowing and stained glass and I found it fascinating how his glass cutting methods were so different from mine. I doubt these are related to which medium we like and rather to how we learned and what we have just come to do over the years.
I learned using tools: a good glass cutter (I like the pistol grip kind) and running pliers. Basically, you score the glass with the cutter and then use the running pliers to gently break the glass along the line you scored.
The instructor also uses a glass cutter, but then basically breaks the glass using both hands on either side of the score and pulling down. At first this really intimidated me and I flinched each time I tried it, but in reality, it works well. If your score is not straight and especially if an inside curve, then he takes something like a straight cutter and uses the ball on the other end from the blade, and taps gently underneath the score until you can see it run and then breaks it.
He also taught me the value of grozer pliers. I have used these before, but typically only when cutting circles. I learned that when my pieces are small and I am trying to cut off a small piece of this already small piece, then grozers work really well. And in the above example with the inside curve, grozers again work really well and most of the time didn’t even require the tapping first.
Now what do I really think after cutting for a few hours trying his methods? I prefer to use my running pliers. But sometimes the running pliers take a small chunk out of the glass, and using my hands did not have this issue. This missing chunk doesn’t matter so much in a typical fuse as it melts out. But when doing strip construction, it makes a big difference, so perhaps next time I do a strip construction I will try the grozers instead of my running pliers.
Second, I really did not like the tapping gently from the bottom method before breaking. It seemed to leave a very jagged edge. I am guessing you grind this edge off before adding the copper foil and so it really doesn’t matter, but from a first thought’s perspective, it was not my favorite. It would be hard to lay 2 pieces of glass next to each other for fusing and not having a gap due to some extraneous glass shard along the edge if you didn’t first grind the edge. With my running pliers, I get a pretty nice sharp edge each time.
Last week I promised to share my template for my stained glass piece. I have not chosen colors yet, so would love any suggestions!