Thursday, 22 May 2014

Cutting Glass

Glazing my "new" greenhouse I've been a little short of glass. The guy I bought the greenhouse from said there was only one pane missing. Not sure why I had to buy 18 on Tuesday then...
Essential kit for cutting glass: straight edge, tape, gloves, goggles, glass cutter
 It worked out much cheaper to buy standard sizes from a wholesaler than to get it cut locally. So on Tuesday the girls and I made a trip over to Evesham, a stones throw from where we use to live, to a garden wholesalers, BHGS, that's open to the public. Instead of paying £6.40 a pane from the local glass merchants it worked out at just over £3.
The trouble was I then had to cut the angled panes of glass and four narrower panes that I couldn't buy off the shelf.
Years ago I brought a glass cutter from a car boot sale just in case, so I dusted it off and got to work. On it was engraved "Made in West Germany" so it might have a little age to it.
Mark the glass with a pen, then hold the straight edge on the line and run the cutter a few times down the glass firmly.
Then tap the cut all over, hold the glass on the edge of the table and carefully lever it down.

And SNAP!
It all goes wrong.
Lucky I brought a few extra panes to have a go with.

In the end I was getting pretty good!
I managed to glaze the remaining parts of the greenhouse last night so now it's just a case of getting it full of tomatoes and peppers! Cutting the glass like this saved me money and in some small way it's also a part of the whole self reliance of being on a smallholding/homestead.
Anyone else cut glass lately?

13 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You haven't seen the pile of broken glass...

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  2. Your very brave cutting glass panes, not something I would like to do, the only glass I have cut is glass bottles and it still frightens the life of me, I am always worried about glass shttering and shards flying off causing injury.
    Well done look forward to seeing it full now.

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    1. That's why I wear the gloves and goggles! Although I don't think it a job I'd ever enjoy!

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  3. It made me chuckle when I saw that you bought the glass cutter "just in case". When we moved here we bought many weird and wonderful things we had bought "Just in case" and 33 years on we are still pulling things out of dusty corners that we knew would "come in". Glass cutting takes a bit of nerve doesn't it? but is now another string to your self-sufficient bow.

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    1. The less I have to get other people to do the better I feel about it. Being "self contained" is quite important to me. You never know when these skills are going to come in.

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  4. I have found that setting your glass pane on a nice 3/4 inch thick sheet of MDF so its nice and flat and well supported when you work it seems to help the success rate a bit.

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    1. Yeah my table wasn't the best place to do it. I little uneven so it meant that as I scored it would push it down harder in some places than others. I need a workshop really!

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  5. I cut glass for over 35 years. There are several things to remember: Make only one score. When you go over it more than once you make a trough instead of a small even fault line and you can dull a spot on the wheel causing it to skip. The thinner the glass, the lighter the score. Plate glass needs a dull cutter so as to make a wide score. A score that will be right for thin glass will be but a light scratch on heavy glass and it won't make enough of a fault line. The glass then will not follow the cut. Dip the cutter in light oil every score or so.. This lubricates the axle and seals the cut allowing for a clean score line. Use only enough pressure to make a light score. If small pieces are flaking off along the line, you are pressing too hard. Practice on the scrap until you find the minimum pressure needed for the glass you are cutting. Different kinds and lots of glass cut differently. Always hold the cutter so that the wheel is at right angles to the glass. Leaning it will make for a bad score, and will quickly wear out the axle. Support the glass on a flat surface. If working on a table, to snap the glass, lay the score just inside of the table edge, lift the glass holding the half overhanging the table, and bring it down smartly. It will snap apart cleanly if the score was good. This is the best way to part it, as even if there is a slight mistake on the score, it will usually break across it.
    There is more, but that should do for just clear glass.

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    1. That's what I was doing wrong then. I was scoring the glass multiple times and the cutter did seems to blunt quickly. Next time I'll try what you suggest. Also I'll try the oil as it makes sense that should help. Thanks for the advice!

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    2. Think in terms of making a fault line on the glass. The thicker the glass, the wider the line has to be & vice versa. A sharp light score which is perfect for 1/8" glass will not work at all on 1/4" or plate. Any skip from a dull spot on the wheel can & probably will cause the break to go off on a tangent.

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  6. I'm sure I'm turning dyslexic, I came over to read your post on Grass Cutting !!

    I have never tried to cut glass, LH has, with varying degrees of success, luckily my polytunnel will be easier to cover .....unless of course it's windy ;-)

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    Replies
    1. I had to keep re reading it to make sure that wasn't what I'd wrote! Poly tunnels are easier to cover but hopefully this will be the only time I glaze this other than the odd pane now and again!

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