Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Use of the Glass Cutter

When cutting glass your are first scoring the surface to weaken the glass and then breaking along the score line. The glass will always follow the path of least resistance. It is important to keep this in mind when “cutting” glass as it has significant implications for scoring and breaking.

Use the cutter by moving it away from you, so you can see the cartoon lines as you score. When using a straight edge, you can pull the cutter toward yourself or push it away, whichever suits you.

Grasp of the cutter
The classic or traditional grasp is for use with a pencil cutter. The cutter is placed between the first/index and second /ring fingers with the thumb at the back of the cutter. This initially is awkward. Its advantages are that it transfers most of the work to your arm rather than fingers and wrist, and it restricts the movement of your wrist, leading to smoother curves.

The modified grasp is also for use with pencil cutter. The cutter is placed between the thumb and first/index finger. The second /ring finger is also most often used beside the first/index finger. The fingers should be straight to avoid excessive strain on the fingers and possible carpal tunnel problems later.

The fist grip for use with pistol grip cutters. The cutter is held similar to a gun, with the first/index finger pointing down the shaft holding the cutter head. This pointing action seems to aid the accuracy of cutting. This applies to cutters with right angle handle attachments also.

The palm grasp is for the small Toyo and other palm cutters. The cutter is placed on the pad beneath the thumb and held with the first/index finger and thumb.

In all cases it is important that the work is done from the forearm rather than the fingers or wrist. The forearm should be held closely to the body. This reduces the freedom of movement, giving clean flowing score lines. It also reduces the actions that can lead toward repetitive strain injuries. Any turns required by tight curves can be done by turning the body from the hips or shuffling around the bench.