Cut glass is an age old necessity. It began with Roman ingenuity which utilised primal stone wheels to produce sparkling pieces of perfectly severed glass. When glass is cut well, it seizes light to spring up, off its aspects and produce a beautiful rainbow effect. This outcome is enough to qualify glass cutting as a somewhat simple yet essential art.
Today this art has grown to be included in every component of our lives. It embraces industry far and wide, finding its rightful place in Aviation, Architecture, Auto, Energy, Marine, Medical and the Military sectors, among others.
As the humble glass cutter is now required to find its way through a much wider variety of material such as decorative glass or heat resistant glass, it has developed in its scope and application. All glass is cut in its basic, annealed form and treatment such as tempering or tinting necessarily follows the cutting process.
Since cutting the glass is a primary function, its importance is high. Attention to detail and expertise is required for this procedure.
Glass that is being readied to be cut is first lubricated along the cutting line with light oil.
A glass cutter is then pressed firmly against the surface and a line is etched in to form a guiding score. The glass is now weakened along the desired line and the panel is ready to be split.
The score is ‘run’ to extend the split using running pliers, or by applying the right pressure on other side of the glass. After breaking the glass along the score it reveals a clean cut edge.
Today, three basic categories of glass cutting cover all applications:
- Straight-Line Machine cutting – Designed to cut straight lines, circles and bevels
- Machine Pattern cutting – Designed to cut specific shapes or patterns
- Hand Cutting – Used for projects of a smaller scale
The glass cutter is a tool used to make the shallow score in one surface of the glass that is to be broken in two pieces. It may use a diamond to create the split or more commonly a small cutting wheel is used made of hardened steel or tungsten carbide.
With the many variations of glass that are available today, it has become necessary to change the penetration action of the cutting wheel. This is accomplished by varying the degree of the bevel which produces a progressively sharper or duller cut. This can also be done by differing cutter wheel diameters.
Bottle cutting, Rope method, Torch method and Water Method are also four techniques that are commonly used for cutting glass.
Post the cutting process, glass requires thorough polishing or smoothening for a fit finishing touch. The area is treated via buffing or polishing wheels, along with suitable polishing materials, such as pumice-stone, rotten-stone, oxide of lead, or ‘putty’, as termed by glass-cutters. Successive applications of pumice and metallic-oxide polishing powders mixed in water can also be applied to polishing wheels for the desired effect.
We at HouseOfGlass specialise in all kinds of glass cutting and polishing, for applications across industries. Glass cutting is one of our core strengths since it forms the basis for any high quality glass work. We consider it to be an art and one at which we excel.