Precision-ground carbide steel cutting wheel. Metal handle also serves as oil reservoir. Cutting head is replaceable. Intricate scoring possible with narrow blade. Designed for straight line production cutting.
Not ideal for thicker glass projects. Oil reservoir may not release oil, so another lubricant is required.
Contains six cutting blades for a variety of scoring options. Two notches snap off thin or thick glass. Wooden handle minimizes fatigue. Very lightweight and portable. Works on multiple types of glass surfaces.
Instruction manual may not be included. Challenging "hot and cold" method recommended by maker.
Carbide allow cutting wheel, handles 5mm to 15mm glass thicknesses. Metal knocking head provides clean breaks. Ergonomic metal handle resists slipping. Replaceable head can pivot 360 degrees.
Oil cartridge can arrive empty or damaged. Heavy pressure required for best results.
Die cast zinc metal construction. Three notches for snapping thin, medium, or thick glass. One-pass operation possible. Includes large metal knocking head. Zinc alloy cutting blade maintains sharpness.
No instructions included in package. Proper pressure requires a learning curve.
Carbide tungsten alloy cutting head. Can handle 2mm to 19mm glass thicknesses.Self-oiling mechanism in brass body. Fluid level can be monitored. Plastic grip reduces hand fatigue.
Blade can become dull quickly. Barrel awkward to hold under pressure.
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People have been cutting glass for centuries to commemorate special occasions: weddings, coronations, religious events, and other ceremonies. Glass cutters are decorative craftsman tools that are used to enhance events and beautify objects large and small.
Whether you’re a recreational hobbyist or a professional glass cutter, you need the best tools for the job. You want a glass cutter that will make a sharp score in the glass so it breaks cleanly and evenly. A cheaply made glass cutter will waste material by creating faulty scores, but a good glass cutter will save material. Glass, particularly stained glass, can get expensive in a hurry.
Finding the right glass cutter is essential to efficient glass cutting. Part of cutting glass also involves using oil to keep the cutter properly lubricated and the glass clean along the score so it breaks the way it should. Keep reading this glass cutter buying guide to cut to the chase: we’ll help you choose a glass cutter that’s right for you.
The size of the glass cutter will determine how easy it is for you to hold it in your hand. If you’ve got large hands, a small glass cutter may be harder for you to hold and control. If it’s too awkward, you could wind up with bad cuts. Cutters vary from five to seven inches long, so be sure to choose one that fits your hands.
A self-oiling glass cutter is exactly what it sounds like. There is a small tank in the handle of the cutter. Unscrew the cap, fill it with oil, and you’re ready to go. When you’re using the cutter, it oils itself. There are two main types of self-oiling glass cutters: gravity-fed and pressure-fed.
Gravity-fed cutters can leak when you’re not using them since they operate on gravity. Storing them with the sharp end up is a good way to cut yourself next time you reach for them, but it’s the only way to keep the oil from running out and making a mess. To stay safe, top your glass cutter with a pen cap when not in use.
There are two main types of glass cutter grips. A traditional pencil grip glass cutter is held like a pen or pencil between the thumb and forefinger. A pistol grip cutter has a molded handle in the style of a revolver, which shifts control of the glass cutter from the fingers to the hand. There are also other less-common grip types, such as Toyo’s custom grip and the Thomas grip. Each of these grip styles works well; the one you choose depends on personal preference.
Some glass cutters have a six-sided wheel on the tip. Each side of the hexagon blade is actually a cutting surface. When you rotate the hexagon, a different cutting blade is presented. This is a great feature if you’re constantly changing from one type of glass to another or from one thickness to another. Multi-blade glass cutters don’t have self-oiling mechanisms, so you’ll have to manually oil as you work.
Some glass cutters include snapping notches of various thicknesses to help break off the glass after you’ve used your cutter to score the glass.
This is basically a round metal ball on the back end of some cutters. Glass workers tap the knocking head gently along a scored piece of glass to facilitate a clean break.
No two people hold their glass cutters the same way or at the same angle. Some glass cutters have heads that can be rotated 360 degrees, allowing you to set the cutting head to the angle that is best for you.
Most self-oiling glass cutters have hollow brass handles for the oil tank, but some are plastic. Cutters that aren’t self-oiling normally have aluminum or steel handles covered with rubber for a better grip. Some glass cutters have wooden handles as well. The cutting heads are usually tungsten carbide or hardened steel. Tungsten carbide blades are more durable, but steel blades are cheaper.
Glass cutters are available in a variety of colors, from black to green to gold to gray. But each manufacturer often only offers one color, so the cutter you prefer may only be available in one color.
Glass pliers: CRL Plate Glass Pliers
Get a good grip with glass pliers. Once you’ve cut a score line in the glass, you still have to get a clean break. Plate glass pliers are designed to gradually increase the pressure on the score until a line develops in the glass and runs the length of the score. We like the CRL Plate Glass Pliers for this task.
Be slick, and stock up on oil. The more glass you cut, the more oil you’ll use and, consequently, the more oil you’ll need to replace. We like CRL Professional Glass Cutter Oil. Save yourself some time and effort by getting extra oil when you buy your glass cutter.
Extra cutting wheel: Fletcher Terry Glass Cutting Wheel
Have extra cutting wheels on hand so there’s never a dull moment. In case your wheel breaks or grows dull, it never hurts to have a couple of spare cutting wheels handy, like the Fletcher Terry Glass Cutting Wheel. Also, you may need different wheels depending on what type of cut you’re making and how thick the glass is. One size does not fit all.
Glass pad: Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat
Protect your project with a glass pad. You need a firm, flat surface under any piece of glass on your work area when you cut. Otherwise, your score lines can wander all over the place and cause the glass to crack unevenly. A thin, soft cutting mat like the Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat is ideal to protect your glass against scratches from your work bench and hold it firm so you can make an accurate cut.
Protective gloves: NoCry Cut-Resistant Gloves
Protective gloves are a must. Anything that can cut glass can cut you, so get a pair of cut-resistant gloves to protect your hands. We like NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves, which are durable, machine washable, and available in four sizes.
Eye protection: JORESTECH Eyewear Protective Safety Glasses
Eye protection is paramount. Tiny shards of glass are an inevitable byproduct of cutting glass. They’ll fly through the air when you break the glass and are sometimes too small to be visible. But you’ll feel them if one of them lands in your eye. Be smart and always wear protective eyewear, like these JORESTECH Eyewear Protective Safety Glasses.
Inexpensive: Under $6 is where you’ll find most low-end glass cutters. These will be the old-fashioned single-piece cutters with notches in them for breaking the glass after you’ve scored it.
Mid-range: From $6 to $20 is the medium price range for glass cutters. Most of the cutters at this price point will either be self-oiling or will have multiple cutting blades on a hexagonal wheel.
Expensive: Above $20 is where you’ll find professional-grade glass cutters with high-quality materials and construction.
Glass is very unforgiving. Always measure carefully before cutting glass. Mind the old saying: “Measure twice, cut once.”
Use a marker pen with a fine point to draw on the glass when you’re measuring and outlining where to cut.
After you mark your intended cut line, use a hard-edged cutting guide. A soft piece of wood often works best for this purpose, as it will guide the blade but won’t scratch the glass. Note: your cutting guide needs to be longer than the longest cut you’ll make.
Always wear safety gloves and protective eyewear when cutting glass.
Glass needs to be clean and free of grit and grime before you cut it so the cutting blade can glide smoothly. Even the best cut in the world will produce fine shards of glass, so clean the glass between cuts as well as before.
If you’re new to using glass cutters, find a cheap piece of window glass and make a bunch of practice cuts before you start your first real project.
We like the VIGRUE Professional Heavy Duty Golden Handle Glass Cutter for its embossed nonslip handle. The adjustable cutting head rotates 360 degrees, and the gravity-fed oil system works as intended.
We also like the Atych Glass Cutter Tool. It’s self-oiling when pressure is applied, keeping the wheel properly oiled every time you cut. This cutter is suitable for stained glass and other materials.
Q. If my glass has scratches on it, will it affect the cut?
A. Yes. If your cut crosses an existing scratch, or comes too close to one, it could result in the glass shattering or breaking unevenly.
Q. Should I make the shortest cuts first to be safe?
A. No. You’re actually better off making the longest cut first.
Q. If my first score isn’t quite right, can I redo it?
A. No. Glass is unforgiving. If you try to redo or “repair” a cut, you’ll only make it worse.
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