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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cutting Glass...

One of the things that led Miss Ginger this new blog focus was her refined taste for wines and cocktails.  After sending many, many (many!) empty wine bottles into landfills, she decided to start saving them in an attempt to "up cycle". (She also wished to avoid a "Bree Van de Kamp" moment!)   Once she saw the evidence, she decided it my be prudent to substitute S. Pellegrino for her beloved Pinot Grigio during the week.. then the green glass REALLY piled up! 

That stash is 4-deep, folks, so there is a lot of glass craft coming your way!!

Miss Ginger had seen a couple of different methods of cutting glass on Pinterest using yarn and acetone, and they made it look WAY too easy... which is was. The science seemed solid... use yarn soaked in acetone to heat a burning ring around the bottle, then dunk it into ice water to stress the glass and cause it to break.  It broke, alright, but here's the problem with that science:  the glass breaks in a line at it's weakest point. The bottles used for water and most wines are designed to protect a relatively cheap product, so the glass is extremely cheap, meaning there is a lot of variance in thickness throughout the bottle.  If this glass is forced to break along its own volition, the line will be notched, jagged, and not at all straight.

A much more reliable way is to use a glass cutter to score a line along the surface of the glass, thus creating a straight, controlled point of weakness for the glass to break.  You still use a hot/cold shock, but you have shown the glass where to break!

There are 2 readily available devices designed to create this line.  The first, sold all over in craft stores and on the internet, is a cheap black plastic pos with which Miss Ginger became disgusted from the moment she tried to use it! 

The other readily available cutter is the G2 "Generation Green" bottle cutter, which Miss G highly recommends!  

This unit is made of sturdy aluminum levers and is easily adjustable to the diameter of the bottle and the height of your cut.  Once the dimensions are set, you can cut bottle after bottle at exactly the same place to create a "set" of glasses, candleholders, or other crafty items!

Using the G2 is simple!  Assemble the unit according to the package instructions.  Hold the pivot point in place with your left hand, and adjust the horizontal and vertical planes to position the cutting head perpendicular to the bottle. Once the unit is tightened into position, keep the base of the bottle flat against your work surface as you push the cutting head into the bottle with your right hand and rotate the bottle with your left.  The key to a clean cut it to ensure consistent pressure against the glass as you turn the bottle. Done properly, you should hear a scratching sound as the cutter score the top layer of glass.
After the bottle is scored,  hold it into a pot of simmering water to heat it along the score. (Miss Ginger has discovered that her asparagus pot it the perfect size and shape for this adventure!)
After heating, plunge the bottle into ice water above the depth of the score.  You may feel a "bump" as the glass breaks along your score line.  If the bottle doesn't separate at the score line, hold it above an below the line with your hand and twist gently in opposite directions.  If it doesn't easily separate at that point, dunk it into the hot water again, and it should separate immediately.  If it doesn't separate after the 3rd dunk, it's probably a bad bottle- try again with a new one!
If your score was successful, the bottle will separate cleanly along the score line, and all you have to do is scuff the razor sharp inside and outside edge with emery cloth to prevent cuts and make your vessel usable as a glass, vase, candleholder, or whatever your imagination desires!

If your cut edge has flat raised nibs, like this example, you didn't keep consistent pressure as you turned the bottle, and yu had line segments that weren't scored, causing the nib.  This glass isn't lost, thought it may require a little grinder with a diamond bit in a rotary tool to give a satisfactory edge.

If your glass breaks along a vertical line, or in multiple horizontal planes that where not scored, it is lost.  Scrap it and try again with another bottle.

Cutting glass is easy, fun, and useful!  As you will see in upcoming posts, there are millions of things you can make from up cycled bottles and jars! 


Beth said...

I admire your bravery, because sharp glass and I don't mix well. You'd probably be calling me Stumpy after my first attempt!

mrs.missalaineus said...

as we are the benefit of your talents with glass, we agree 110%



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