Mastering Difficult Stained Glass Cuts
You’re getting pretty good at the basics of scoring and breaking stained glass, but you’ve run into some problems with difficult cuts that seem impossible.
There are techniques that will make difficult cuts in stained glass seem like cutting butter.
Scoring disturbs the molecules in stained glass, so you want to separate it immediately after scoring.
Narrow Strips: A straight strip that is scored less than an inch away from the edge of the stained glass, it will be difficult to pull it apart with your hands. Use running pliers and align the bump in the pliers head on the score line and squeeze. This causes the score to run and break apart
Straight Lines: When cutting straight lines on larger pieces, you can line up the score line along a table edge. Hold one side firmly on the table while using your other hand to pull down and away, snapping the pieces of the stained glass apart.
Small Squares: If you have several squares of stained glass to cut, use a straight edge to measure the width, run your score line, then break the strip away using running pliers, breaking pliers, or your hands.
After you have your stained glass strip, measure and score across the strip the same amount as the width of the strip. You can quickly line up each score line on the edge of your Norton board and, one at a time, push down and snap off the small square stained glass pieces.
Curves: If you are scoring clear stained glass, you can lay your glass on top of your pattern, smooth side up. Cut your stained glass down to just a little bigger than the piece which your are cutting – about 1/2 inch extra all the way around the piece.
Score all the way around the piece, just inside the black line of your pattern. Next, score several diverging lines from the pattern line to the edge of the stained glass. Break away pieces a little at a time. Never try to break away too large of a piece of stained glass because it will shatter.
Circles: You can cut a nearly perfect circle out of stained glass by using a similar process as for curves. Score all the way around the circle, just inside the black line and then score several lines from the circle to the outside edge of the glass. Start breaking away small sections of the stained glass
Concave Curves: Concave curves are difficult to break out of stained glass, especially if they are deep. Again, you will start by scoring just inside the black line of the pattern on the smooth side of the stained glass. From that inside line, gradually add several more similar cuts until you are on the outer edge of the highest ends of the curve. Use the ball end of a pencil cutter to gently tap runs into the scores; then break away one piece at a time from the outside, in. Sometimes it helps to rock each end of the score back and forth before pulling apart the curved stained glass pieces.
V-cuts: V-cuts are next to impossible unless you happen to have a special band saw for cutting stained glass. Otherwise, a v-cut like you would have in a heart shape should be redesigned so it has a softer curve instead of a point.
Don’t be discouraged if once in a while the natural tendency is for the stained glass to just go ahead and break straight across.
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