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I got interested in stained glass by admiring the work of my wife's uncle this past Thanksgiving Holiday and am taking a class after the first of the year. I am at a crossroads however as my wife's uncle prefers the pen type cutter and my instructor prefers the "pistol grip" type cutter. My instructor states that better control is achieved with the pistol grip versus the pen type. These two opinions come from people who have been working with stained glass for about 12 years. I would like a non biased opinion to help make a decision on purchasing a cutter since I would like to spend enough money to get the best as I believe that a good cutter would make the hobby much more enjoyable. Thanks for your time.
Selecting a cutter is a personal preference; there is no right cutter. Generally, men prefer the pen type and women prefer the pistol grip (because they can apply more pressure). In reference to control, there really isn't a difference between the types of cutters. The pen style can be held in a variety of positions -- like a pencil with the barrel nestled between your index and middle fingers and held by your thumb, index, and middle fingers; or even in a "fist" grip. Regardless of style, use one with a carbide wheel because it's sharper and last much longer. Personally, I prefer a pen style. I hold the cutter like a pencil in my right hand and guide the cutting head with the index finger of my left hand for the best control. If you have the opportunity, try the different styles before you invest in a cutter; this will definitely help you decide.