Unable to Make a Break

by Emily

I can make straight cuts all day long, but when it comes to a curve or anything other than a straight line I am unable to make it break right.


It sounds like you might be tilting the glass cutter when you go around curves. Concentrat on holding the cutter absolutely straight upright when you make those cuts. Another problem could be that you're easing up on the pressure as you go around curves so that you're not getting a good score.

You might find some other helpful hints here: Cutting Glass and here: Your Glass Cutter

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Glass Won't Cut

I bought a pistol cutter today and I jumped right in to cut this beautiful piece of blue water glass and flipped it over to the wavy side and laid the pattern down and tried to cut the huge chunk out so then afterward I could cut it down a bit more according to shape, but before I could even do that it wouldnt even cut AT ALL, WHY?


It could be one of several reasons:

Is there a cap over the cutting wheel...packaging??

Perhaps the wheel on your cutter is stuck. Make sure it turns freely.

You're not pressing hard enough. You need to hear that zipper/static sound, but don't press so hard that you see white dust or slivers flying up.

You're not using oil.

Try cutting the glass on the other side. It shouldn't make a difference, but it's worth a try.

I hope one of these suggestions helps.

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Bad cuts

I'm working on my second stained glass project. My first was very bad. I thought I had learned a lot but it seems my second is going in the same direction. My cuts are bad. NO matter how much I try to follow directions and advise, I just don't have the knack. Am getting discouraged. Its an expensive hobby ..especialy if your quality is awful. Any suggestions?


I know you don't want to hear this, but you need to practice, practice, practice. Get some plain window glass to practice on. It's cheap, and easier to cut than stained glass. You can often get small pieces for free from your local window glass business.

Once you feel comfortable cutting window glass, move on to stained glass. I'd suggest starting on Spectrum glass (a brand of stained glass). It is next easiest to window glass for cutability.

Another suggestion is to try a different style glass cutter. The one you're using might be awkward for you. There are several different styles to choose from. Your local stained glass shop should have some that you could try out.

You might get some useful ideas from these pages on my web site: Cutting Glass and Your Glass Cutter

On this page Pencil Grip Cutter one section shows how I pull the cutter towards me instead of pushing it away. For me, that's the easiest way to cut. People seem to either love it or hate it. Give it a try...it might make glass cutting easier for you. If you try it, make sure you follow the instructions on how to hold the cutter exactly as they are written.

Good luck with your glass cutting, and let us know how you're doing in the comments section below.

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Scoring doesn't work

by Snagy

I am unable to cut the glass. I score with my new cutter and then use my plier to break it...unfortunately it's not working. Please help me and guide me on what I am doing wrong and what I should be doing for it to work.




You are either not pressing hard enough or you're pressing too hard. Both of those scenarios will cause the problem you're describing. Usually men press too hard and women not hard enough when they start cutting glass. It takes practice to get it right.

Read the instructions and watch the video on How to Cut Glass

Also go to Tips for better Cutting for more helpful information on cutting glass.

The mantra for glass work is Practice, Practice, Practice, then Practice some more!

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Trouble cutting old stained glass

by Leo

I have have glass that is at least 30 years old. It has been stored outside in all kinds of weather. I am having trouble breaking it. It will not follow the score line. I am using a Red Devil cutter.


It sounds like you're either not pressing hard enough, or too hard. Either way will cause problems with breaking along the score line. If you see a white line or bits of glass flying up as you score, you're pressing too hard. If you don't hear the zipper sound or don't see the score line, you're not pressing hard enough.

Use a new cutter and dip the wheel in oil before each score. Investing in an oil cutter would make cutting a lot easier, but if you don't want to spend the money, buy a cutter with a tungston carbide wheel. The red devil is great for window glass...not so good on stained glass. Make sure the glass is absolutely clean and warm.

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cutting glass

by Lucile Lutz
(Owatonna Mn 55060)

I have ruined more glass trying to score.
When I score the glass will break in paces where I have not scored.what am I doing wrong Lucy


You are either pressing too hard or not hard enough. Pressing too hard puts nicks and chips along the score line which causes the glass to break in places you aren't expecting it to break.

If you don't press hard enough the glass will break, as you have described, when you put pressure on it along the score line in an attempt to break out the piece.

You want to hear a zipper or static type sound when you score, but you don't want to see white dust or small flakes of glass flying up as you score.

If you can be patient, I'm working on a page which will include a video on How to Cut Glass. It should be on my web site in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

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Trying to Cut Glass

by Andy

After I score the glass and use running pliers it breaks away from the score line. Why does this happen and how can I keep it from happening again.

Hi Andy,

I think that when you are scoring the glass you are either not using enough pressure or you're using way too much pressure.

You want to see a score line, but you don't want to see a white line or bits of glass flying up as you score. When I say "see a score line", that is sometimes hard to do. Run your fingernail over the area you just scored. You should be able to feel an indentation in the glass.

It takes about 5 lbs. of pressure to get a good score. The way I have always taught my students to tell when they are using the right amount of pressure is to use a piece of scrap window glass. With the first score, press as hard as you can. That will show you what not to do. You will see the white line and bits of glass flying up as you score. Try running the score. Chances are that will not break along the score line.

After that little excercise, keep scoring and breaking, using less and less pressure until you get to the score that again does not break along the score line. Do one more score using slightly more pressure. If it breaks along the line, you have found the right amount of pressure to use.

The more you practice, the more proficient you will get at cutting glass. It does take practice, just as every technique in stained glass work takes practice.

Not every type of glass will score and break with the same pressure. Red glass, which actually has gold in it, takes more pressure. Red is followed by orange and yellow in hardness. Any glass that has white in it will take more pressure. Blues and greens are the easiest to cut. Cathedral glass is slightly easier to cut than opalescent. None of those glasses are impossible to cut, and all of them are used every day. It's just that some take more pressure than others, and there is a learning curve to know when to use more pressure and when to use less. However, my initial statement should be applied to all of them. You never want to see a solid white line with bits of glass flying up as you score.

One other point, make sure you are cutting on the smoothest side of the glass. That will make a difference in the way the glass scores and breaks.

I hope this will help you with your glass cutting. If you haven't read my glass cutting tips and techniques, go to Cutting Glass. You might find something there that will also help you.

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Cutting Drapery GLass

by David

I need to use drapery glass in a restoration I'm considering taking on. Do you have any tips for cutting and soldering drapery glass? I do not own a ring saw and would prefer not to use one. The window needing repair has 2 or 3 different sizes of lead came and I'm not sure how the gaps created by the folds of the drapery glass should be properly finished.

Thanks again for all of the help you provide.



Sorry David, but in 36+ years I have never had the need to use or cut drapery glass. We've done plenty of restorations, but none of them needed drapery glass replaced. I'm hoping someone reading this has had that experience and can help you out. If so, they will answer in the comments section below.

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glass breaks curved, when scored straight

I have 4 colors of transparent colored glass for fusing. I cannot get a straight cut. After ruining 3 sheets trying to get one straight cut, I need help. Every time I score straight, it breaks in a curve.


You might need a new glass cutter. What you are describing is one of the problems dull cutters cause. If you're cutter is fairly new, you might be putting too much pressure on the cutter as you score. Try easing up. You only need to hear a faint zipper sound. If you see white powder in the score line or bits of glass flying up from the score line, you are definitely putting too much pressure on the cutter.

If you're cutting strips, I'd suggest investing in a strip cutter. It would make cutting strips so much easier. You can get one for under $50.

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