Saturday, December 31, 2011

Colored stained glass cutting properties

Colored stained glass cutting properties vary by color, type of glass and by manufacturer.

You may have noticed when you're working on your stained glass suncatchers that some colors and types of glass cut easier than others.

But, do you know why?

To make a technical long story short, it's all about the additives introduced during the manufacturing process to color the glass.

The easiest stained glass colors to cut are green and blue.

The easiest glass to cut overall is green or blue cathedral glass.

Some types of glass cut easier than others and some brands cut differently.

For example; almost all red cathedral stained glass is easier to cut than red opalescent. 

In general, excluding the glass type, white stained glass is the hardest color to cut. This is due to the Antimony Oxides or Tin compounds that are used to give the white glass it's color.

Without the introduction of various compounds, stained glass would not be stained glass.  It would come out clear.

Sometimes when you cut red opalescent stained glass, you might notice a slight gold tinge along the score line. These are minute flakes of Gold Chloride that was used to color the stained glass red.

You won't see it in all types of red glass or in colors other than red.  This is because Gold Chloride isn't used to color blue, green, purple, violet, etc.

The oxides that are used to stain other colors of glass don't have the same properties as Gold Chloride and are not visible when you score a line.

Stained glass with different opacities also cut differently.  It takes a little practice and experience to learn how to cut different types and colors of glass, but it's not that difficult.

When you come across a glass that is hard to cut, just press a little harder on the cutting head.  But, don't press so hard that flakes of glass fly out from your score line.

When you make a perfect score you will hear a unique "static" like "zip" sound.  If you don't hear the sound, it doesn't mean that the score line won't break.
Some types of glass require more pressure and others just a slight amount of pressure to make a good score.

The same type, color and opacity of glass may cut differently from manufacturer to manufacturer.  All manufacturing processes are not the same.

When you purchase a new type and color glass from another supplier, make a test cut or two to get used to it.

It's better to screw up on a test cut, than to screw up your stained glass project.

Knowing the colored stained glass cutting properties of the different types, colors and manufacturers of the glass you are using, will eliminate a lot of potential problems before they occur.

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