In Shop Blog, Techniques

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Q & A: How do you cut curves in glass?


My up-and-coming star pitcher
accidentally hurled her baseball
through a glass pane in our family
room hutch. Usually, I’d just get out my
glass cutter and make a replacement
pane, but this one’s arched! How the
heck do I cut a new arched glass pane?



Think positive—at least she didn’t
bust the TV! And you can cut a new
pane using only a standard glass cutter.

Reproduce your curved pane by taping
together the broken glass or making
a template of the pane using paper or
cardboard.Place the pattern under the
new glass.Use a sharp cutter lubricated
with light machine oil (3-In-One works
well). The oil prevents the wheel from
getting stuck and skipping a spot.Grip
the cutter like a pen and use a light,
smooth stroke directly over the
curved outline.Don’t go over the line
twice! This dulls your cutter.The first
score makes a “clean”crack.A deeper,
second score will probably cause
secondary cracks to spread from
the first.

In addition to the curved score,
make radial scores from the curve to
the edge of the glass.After scoring the
curved section, turn the
glass over onto a flat surface
and tap directly over
the score with the ball on
the end of the cutter. Buy
extra glass and be prepared
for some trial and error
before you get it right.

Caution: Wear safety
glasses at all times and
leather gloves when
handling the glass.

Click any image to view a larger version.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker February 2001, issue #85.

February 2001, issue #85

Purchase this back issue.


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