Cutting glass: second try successful

I’m glad that I took a step back from my first attempt at glass cutting a few days ago. I think that I set myself up for failure, without knowing it.

First, I spent some time learning more about the glass cutting tool I got from HD. The tool has a ball on one end that I found to work well for tapping along the opposite surface of the glass’s score line. When you tap along the bottom of the score line with the ball, it helps form a crack at the score line through the thickness to the other side. That way you encourage the glass to form a clean break. You don’t always need to do this tapping step, but I did it whenever I thought I didn’t apply enough force to my scoring tool when cutting.

Next, I figured out that the first size of glass that I bought from HD was too close to the final size. The sides only needed about 1/4 inch cut off, and I think that this is simply too narrow of a piece to break off without unnecessary headaches. Cutting a 10″x12″ piece to 9.75″x11.75″ ended up being too much of a pain, and not worth the effort of conserving materials. My solution was to instead purchase a 12″x36″ piece, and cut this into three separate pieces. This worked much better, and I was able to cut the six panes in about ten minutes.


You might notice that I like to think about how efficiently I’m using materials. I calculated that using a 12″x36″ piece of glass to cut out three 9.75″x11.75″ panes uses 80% of the glass (and wastes about 20%).

Steve Quillian from Wood Window Makeover helped talk me through the process when I got stuck, and I agree with his view that it’s really simple to cut the glass once you get through the initial anxiety of cutting/breaking the glass.

Next steps are to finish mounting the glass within the frame using putty and glazing points. I purchased a Red Devil PD-1 point driver off eBay for $30 (free shipping), some No. 1 5/16″ diamond points from Scott Sidler’s Craftsman Blog for $26 ($18+$8 shipping), and a quart of Sarco Type M Multi-Glass Putty from Atlas Preservation for $29 ($20+$9 shipping). That should get me up to the final painting step!


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