Monday, 6 December 2010

Preventing Chipping When Using a Tile Saw to Cut Glass

One of the most common problems in using a tile saw to cut glass is the tendency for the saw to chip the edge of the glass as it completes the cut. This occurs when the blade of the saw has less glass to cut through. Excessive and uneven pressure and the lack of support cause this break-out.

It's possible to improve the quality of the cut by slowing down and pushing the glass through the blade more gently, but this seldom solves the problem completely. Pushing equally on both sides of the cut is also important to minimise the break-out.

One solution that does work is to provide support for the end of the bar. This adopts a woodworking method for preventing splintering at the ends of cuts.
Use a scrap length of pattern bar or other thick glass. Place it against the glass being cut. As the blade emerges from the glass being cut, hold the two pieces firmly together and continue cutting. The blade should immediately engage the second piece of glass. Once the saw blade entirely clears the first piece, you can turn off the saw and remove a chip-free slice from the pattern bar.

You'll need to trim off the ends of the scrap piece from time to time, but you can use the scrap over and over until it becomes too small to do the job.

This works best with a tile saw where the blade is below the cutting surface. When you use an overhead saw, the breakout is much rarer.