Cutting glass is normally a very simple process and can be carried out using a very inexpensive tool known as a glass cutter. There are various types of cutter available from standard glass cutters that simply have a wheel to hollow bodied machines that can be filled with oil which lubricates the scoring head as it travels.
Whilst cutting standard plate glass is very easy it is not advisable to attempt to cut tempered or hardened glass as it has a tendency to shatter into thousands of pieces.
Types of glass cutter
This is a plastic bodied glass cutter, this glass cutter can be filled with light oil which lubricates the scoring head of the machine during use.
A brass bodied glass cutter like this can also be filled with oil, this makes the scoring wheel on the glass cutter last much longer, it also makes it easier to score a nice neat line.
A circle glass cutter like this is useful for cutting out large circular holes in glass for example of you need to install a bathroom extractor into a glass window. This cutter comprises of a suction pad that sticks to the glass whilst the circle is scored using the scoring wheel. It's important to add a few drops of oil to the cutting head before use.
When cutting glass it's important to wear the correct PPE, as a minimum standard for protection I would recommend cut resistant gloves and safety glasses.
Before scoring the glass with the glass cutter it's important to lubricate the scoring wheel, you can do this by applying a drop of oil directly to the scoring wheel or you can fill the body of some machines with oil which will give a constant supply of oil to the scoring wheel
The glass can be cut freehand or you can use a straight edge to guide the glass cutter, in this demonstration we will cut the first piece of glass using a straight piece of wood as a guide
Apply a firm even pressure downwards using the glass cutter and slowly move it from one side to the other ensuring even pressure and an even speed is used, this will ensure that the glass breaks cleanly
Once the glass has been scored using the glass cutter you can then carefully apply a breaking pressure to the glass. You can do this several ways, for straight cuts you can move the score line over the edge of a table and apply a downwards pressure. This will cause the glass to break on the score line.
To cut a curved line in glass it is a similar process except you do not need the straight edge or the table for the snap. Simply use the cutter to score the glass in the shape you require and then hold each side of the score line in each hand and gently apply a breaking force to the glass. Here you can see the score line on this piece of decorative glass