Getting a Perfect Glass Score Every Time


Ah, the perfect scoreevery glass cutters dream. But is there really such a thing? Lets put it this way: If you run your glass cutter around your pattern, apply pressure to the glass surface and the glass breaks predictablywhats so imperfect about that? Nothing really, but if your su cessful breaks are the product of luck rather than skill, well hope for the best, but expect otherwise. To guarantee a good glass score every time takes nothing more than observing a few non-negotiable facts about how your glass cutter interacts with you and your glass.

Step One: Get Comfortable

You must be comfortable with your glass cutter. If you havent already, find a glass cutter you like, and most importantly, likes you back. That means finding a glass cutter that isnt uncomfortable to hold. You should be able to cut glass without getting fatigued or feeling any pain. Blisters are sometimes unavoidable, but pain and fatigue will undoubtedly frustrate you. The right, comfortable glass cutter will allow you a long cutting session, during which you can concentrate on technique and not be distracted by discomfort.

Step Two: Get In Position

Position is everything. The wheel at the end of your glass cutter is designed and milled to interact with the glass surface in only one way. It has to be absolutely perpendicular to the glass surface and must spin freely during a score. If it is twisted to the left or right, or tilted to any angle, it will not score the glass, it will most likely just scratch the glass. And scratching will not result in a predictable break, nor will it do any favors for your glass cutters wheel. Practice holding the cutter in the proper position until it becomes second nature to you and you will be well on your way to improving your chances for a perfect score every time. Also remember to keep your cutting wheel lubricated throughout your glass cutting session.

Step Three: Apply Pressure

Most glasses do not require much pressure from the glass cutter to be scored properly. What they all require though is continuous and consistent pressure. If you have a tendency to let up on the pressure half way down your scoreyoure asking for trouble. Where there is no score, or an inconsistent score, your glass may not break as planned. Practice scoring and breaking on a number of different glass types until you find a comfortable technique that works for you and results in a predictable break.

Step Four: Be Real

Remember, even the pros lose a piece now and then. Dont get discouraged, glass can be funny some times. Always work on your glass cutting technique, get comfortable with it and keep moving forward. Revel in your successes and dont fret the failures.

Thats it: Comfort, position and pressure. Keep those three important concepts in mind while youre cutting your glass.

Tip courtesy of Joe Porcelli and Glass Craftsman Magazine. For more tips like this, subscribe to Glass Craftsman Magazine.

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Joe Porcelli

Joe Porcelli

Publisher, producer, instructor and artist Joe Porcelli, author of The Lampmaking Handbook and Jewels of Light, a history of stained glass, has always believed that information, and the sharing of that information has been a defining characteristic of the phenomenal glass movement of the last 30+ years. In response to that, his company Arts & Media, Inc. reaches beyond the publication of Glass Craftsman into book publishing and the latest digital technologies, i.e., video/DVD production (The GCTV Productions catalog of glass videos), to keep the flow of information in tune with readers’ preferences.