TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
When working on stained glass, the right
tool for the job facilitates developing your skills. Tools not
only make learning easier and more enjoyable, but they will save
the waste of glass and time.
- Glass Cutters. There are many
different types of glass cutters on the market today.
Choosing the proper cutter is the most important decision
you must make as you embark on your new hobby.
- Steel Wheel Cutters are
inexpensive but usually not long-lasting. They must be
replaced frequently as they become dull. There are steel
wheel cutters which are good for general purpose cutting,
production cutting, or pattern cutting. Some are good for
cutting soft glass, others for hard glass. The size of
the wheel and the angle of the bevel on the wheel
determines this and differs from model to model. Pistol
grip cutters produce more pressure than others.
- Tungsten Carbide Cutters are
more expensive than steel wheel cutters, but far outlast
them in durability. Self-lubricating cutters, a rather
recent innovation, eliminate the need to constantly
lubricate your cutter between scores.
- Circle or Lens Cutter. Several
varieties of circle cutters are available which will cut
circles 1/2" to 24" in diameter. Some types
also have detachable strip cutting guides to cut straight
strips of glass.
- Lubricant. Glass cutting
lubricant or oil is generally a half and half mixture of
kerosene and a light oil. This cutting lubricant serves
to clean off little slivers of glass that cling to the
wheel of your glass cutter and interfere with the wheel
spinning freely. It also helps prevent the score line
from sealing itself which can prevent you from breaking
the glass even though the score line is still visible.
Commercially prepared lubricants are available.
- Breaking Pliers (Nippers)Glass
breaking pliers are used to break off pieces of glass at
the score line. The widths of the jaws of breakers range
from 1/4" to 1". Breakers with smaller jaws can
more easily handle narrow angles and sharp curves. The
wider-jawed models will break off long strips of glass
best. A breaker with 1/2" jaws is very versatile.
Breakers with serrated jaws also double for grozers.
- Running Pliers. The concave and
convex jaws of running pliers will "run" a
score line from one end of the glass to another. The
score line in the glass is lined up directly with the
notch in the upper jaw, and the handles are squeezed
gently, resulting in a clean break along the score line.
Some models of runners are adjustable for thickness of
- Grozing Pliers. The jaws of
grozers are serrated and used to gently remove small
pieces of glass which remain after the glass has been
scored and broken.
- Carborundum File. Smooths the
sharp, rough, jagged edges of your glass.
- Grinder. Water-fed grinders,
mounted with diamond bits, quickly and efficiently remove
and smooth rough edges of glass without chipping.
Grinders are available in many different models and price
- Lead Came. A material used to
hold glass pieces in place. Generally sold in 6 ft.
- Copper Foil. Used as one method
of wrap and bind glass pieces. Generally sold in 36-yard
rolls. Available in 5/32", 3/16", 7/32",
1/4", 5/16", 3/8", and 1/2" widths.
- Lead Vise. This inexpensive
tool can be attached to your workbench for quick and easy
straightening and stiffening of lead came.
- Lead Knife. A good lead knife
is a valuable tool to cut and miter lead came. Lead
knives can perform many functions. A knife with a
weighted handle doubles as a hammer to tap a piece of
glass in place.
- Lead Cutting Pliers. Cuts lead
came straight or at mitered angles.
- Sharpening Stone. Use a carbide
stone to keep your lead knife sharp.
- Solder. Used to join lead or
copper foiled edges together. Solder is 1/8" in
diameter and is sold in one to 25 pound spools. The best
solder is made from pure, virgin metals and should be 60%
tin and 40% lead (60/40). 50/50 is also acceptable. DO
NOT USE solder which has a resin, rosin, flux or acid
- Soldering Irons. An 80-150 watt
iron will suffice for lead or foil methods. The Weller
W-100 and GT7A Tempmatic are suitable.
- Fids or Lathkins. Fids or
lathkins are available in hardwood or plastic in a
variety of shapes. They are used to open the channel of
lead came, press the leaves of the lead tight against the
glass, and burnish the copper foil against the glass.
- Flux. Available in paste or
liquid, this substance cleans and prepares the surface to
be soldered. Apply it with an acid brush wherever you
will be soldering.
- Sal-Ammoniac Block. Used to
clean and re-tin the tip of a soldering iron.
- Horseshoe Nails. Used to hold
pieces of glass in place while leading. The flat sides of
these nails will not mar your lead channeling. Two dozen
horseshoe nails are sufficient for most projects.
- Putty. Used to weatherproof and
strengthen lead projects. Use DAP-33 Metal Sash Putty or
any putty preparation made specifically for use with
- Small Wire Brush. Deoxidizes
- 3/8" Sharpened Wooden Dowel.
For removing excess putty from leaded pieces: dowel may
be sharpened in common pencil sharpener.
- Whiting, Plaster of Paris, or very
fine sawdust. Any of these can be used in the final
clean-up process of leading.
- Patina. Patinas are chemical
mixtures that will produce a bright copper, weathered
copper, dull gray, or black finish when applied to lead
came or soldered copper foil pieces.
- Copper Wire. 18-20 gauge can be
used to make loops for hanging lightweight projects.
- Ruler or Straight Edge. To help
you draw and cut straight lines.
- Safety Glasses. It is always a
good idea to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes
from any flying glass particles.
- Light Table Box. Light tables
are great additions to any stained glass workshop. They
facilitate cutting dark and opalescent glasses which you
can't normally see through to cut. They are also used in
layout. With light coming through the glass you can
juxtapose pieces of your glass to check for color and
light table or box is usually made of wood fitted with
fluorescent or other light fixtures and covered with
frosted glass. The inside is usually painted white or
lined with tine foil to reflect the light upwards. If a
light box is used to cut on, make sure the glass is thick
enough to withstand the pressure exerted in cutting.
One-fourth inch plate or acrylic glass is commonly used
for this purpose.
- Pattern Shears. Pattern shears
are specially designed three-bladed scissors which are
used to cut out patterns. The middle blade cuts out the
allowance for the heart of the lead came or copper foil.
Different shears are available for lead or foil work. The
allowance for lead came is usually 1/16"; foil
allowance is 1/32".
- Pattern Knife. Knives with
double razor blades properly spaced for the lead came or
foil allowance are also available for pattern cutting.
- Stiff Bristle Brush. Used in
puttying and cleaning up process of leading.
- Bench Brush. Keep one handy to
clean chips from your work surface!
- Glass Marking Pen. A fine-line
felt tip pen with permanent ink can be used to mark your
pattern directly on the glass or to mark areas that need
grinding or grozing. Use black for light-colored glass;
white, gold or silver for darker glass.
- Workboard with lath strips.
Plywood or soft particle board, larger than the size of
your project, is a good work surface.
Use the links to your left to search through the Warner-Crivellaro inventory
for many popular brands of tools. Also, many glass shops, studios, and community
colleges offer instruction and workshops to help you get started.
Go to "Glass Cutting"
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