Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cutting A Perfect Circle Out Of Stained Glass

There are times when cutting a perfect circle out of stained glass is necessary to create or finish a stained glass project.

When these situations occur, especially when you need to cut several identical circles, it's best to purchase a good stained glass circle cutting tool.

Although it is possible to "freehand" cut glass circles, it is obviously less time consuming and easier on your hands to simply buy a good circle cutting tool such as the Silberschnitt Pro Circle Cutter or the Toyo Circle Cutter.

Toyo Circle Cutter

Silberschnitt Pro Circle Cutter

Some stained glass suncatcher patterns, glass wind chimes and modern "deco" style wall hangings integrate several sizes of circles in their construction.

For these type projects, you will find that a good glass circle cutting tool makes all the difference in the world.

Although using a circle cutter is not that complicated, it does require a bit of instruction to create a perfect circle every time.

  • First, you need to find the center of the piece of glass you are using to cut the circle from.
  • You need to leave at least an inch of glass around the perimeter of the circle.  Never start the circumference cut from the edge of the workpiece.
  • Make sure you have sufficient cutting oil on your cutting wheel.
  • When scoring your circle, it's important that you make one continuous scoreline without overlapping the scoreline at your starting point.  You will hear a faint "click" when you finish your scoreline correctly.
  • Turn your work over and gently put pressure on the scoreline with your fingers to start  running the break.  Work your way around the circumference until the run is complete.
  • Next, turn the work over and make four scorelines from the circumference of the circle outward to the edge of your workpiece at the narrowest points.  Start from your scoreline to the edge of the workpiece.
DO NOT score inwards from the edge of the workpiece into the circle.
  • Finally, use your running pliers at each of the four scores to break out the circle.

In the video below, the instructor demonstrates how to cut a perfect circle using the above technique.

As you can see, cutting a perfect circle out of stained glass need not be intimidating.  After a couple of practice cuts, you can be doing it as well as the instructor.

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