Monday, 3 June 2013

Cutting thin strips

Cutting thin strips of glass such as used in Mission Style patterns and precision fusing projects requires skill and assistance. For transparent and translucent glass you can arrange a right angle guide on a board and tape a piece of lined notepaper to the jig. Use a cutting square and move it right along the lines on the note paper making four or six scores at a time and then breaking on the last score first and then every other score, and then each one in half.

Another method is to use the edge of the bench as a guide. With a small adjustable carpenter’s square, you hammer in nails at the predetermined width (plus half the thickness of the cutter head). Align the glass to the edge of the bench between the nails. Place a straight edge against the nails and score. This gives strips of the same width every time, but works best with strips of 10mm (3/8”) or more. This is illustrated in the processes section.

The thinner the strips are to be cut, the more important it is to make the scores and then divide the sheet in half - the two halves in half each - the 4 quarters in to halves, etc, until you are down to the piece that only needs to be divided in two.

The thinnest strip that can be cut is a fraction wider than the thickness of the glass.  This is because the glass will always break toward the weakest area.  If the strip is thinner than the glass is thick, it will break within the strip.  The narrowest strip that can practically be cut is at least one or two millimetre wider than the glass is thick.  So, if you have 3mm glass, the narrowest you can cut is 4 or 5 mm.  Four millimetre wide strips can only be cut from really smooth consistent thickness of glass sheets.  It is much more practical with decorative glass to limit the width to twice the thickness of the glass you are cutting.