Friday, June 3, 2011

How To Bevel Plate Glass

Learning how to bevel plate glass is something for more the experienced stained glass artisans to tackle, however it's a relatively simple process that only requires some basic instruction, good equipment and some practice.

Beveling is done in four steps:
  • Step 1 - Roughing
  • Step 2 - Smoothing
  • Step 3 - Rough Polishing
  • Step 4 - Finish Polishing
Step - 1:

After learning how to cut plate glass correctly for beveling, each piece in your pattern must then get a rough bevel. This step is is called roughing.

A 100 grit electroplated diamond disc is usually used for rough shaping or roughing. Like rough sandpaper, it gives the initial bevel shape to the glass and produces a very rough surface that looks like a sandblasted or etched surface.

This step rough shapes the bevel on the glass to within 1/32" of the finished piece.

Step - 2:

The second step is smoothing. This step removes the deep scratches from the roughing step and gives the bevel closer to its final dimension. Like sandpapering wood, this step simply uses a finer "grit" wheel (400 or 600 grit) that grinds the rough bevel on the glass closer to it's final finished appearance.

A good smoothing or a rough bevel cut will make the surface perfectly flat and give it a satin like appearance without any surface imperfections or scratches.

Step - 3:

The third step which is called rough polishing takes away the satin finish that was created in the smoothing process and leaves a hazy looking surface on the glass. In this step, any facets that remained from step #2 are removed by a fine grit diamond disc which also makes the bevel more transparent.

Step - 4:

Finish polishing is the final step to the beveling process. It removes any frost or haze that remains from the rough polishing process on the bevel.

In this step a cerium oxide water mixture is used on a felt disc or wheel to give the bevel a high gloss sheen.

This step takes much more time than the previous steps, so don't rush it.

You will find that the more you work at it, the easier it is to make a "perfect bevel" on plate glass patterns for suncatchers, wall hangings or a zillion other applications.

Glastar G-15 Bevel Star Grinding And Polishing System

The Glastar G-15 Bevel Star Grinding And Polishing System pictured above is a complete, multi-functional beveling station that is designed for grinding and polishing straight edges and outside curves.

The Bevel Star comes with all the features you need to simply and easily create, repair and hand bevel your own glass projects.

Learning how to bevel plate glass "perfectly" doesn't just happen overnight, however most users experienced in stained glass should be able to create near perfect bevels with just a few hours of practice using good equipment.


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