Grinder chipping the glass

I have a new grinder and a new diamond bit but when I try to smooth edges of the glass it is chipping. I have tried different pieces of glass. I have reduced pressure against the bit and I have made sure plenty of water is applied to the bit. Nothing seems to work. I am beginning to suspect the bit.


A new bit can sometimes cause chipping especially if it's a coarse bit. Try grinding some scrap glass until you've worn the bit down a little. That should help. The alternative is to purchase a fine bit such as These

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinder Coolant

by DavidA

Hi Sue,
I read somewhere that one can use normal car antifreeze as an effective coolant in glass grinders. It greatly extends the life of diamond cutting heads. Are there any negatives to this? And, if its OK, what would an appropriate mixture ratio with water be?
Many thanks and keep up the great work,

Hi David,

I had not heard of antifreeze being used as a coolant. We always put a few drops of dishwashing detergent in the water instead of using a commercial coolant. It seems to work. I get years out of a grinder head.

I did some investigating and found 2 references to antifreeze and grinders.

The official Inland site stated "(DO NOT use antifreeze)". I would imagine using antifreeze in an Inland grinder would make the guarantee null and void.

In another article about makinging holes in glass using a small grinder head, the following was written: "A fifty-fifty percent solution of automotive antifreeze and water will also work quite well." This was in reference to grinder coolants.

One thing to take into consideration...what will you do with the water/antifreeze that is left when you are rady to clean the grinder. I don't think you'd want to pour it down the drain. I don't think I'd even want to get the solution on my skin, which happens when you grind.

I'm going to have to let you make up your own mind as to what you want to do. I don't feel that I'd be giving you good advise by telling you to use antifreeze.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Taking Care of Your Grinder

How long can I keep water sitting in my grinder? Is it alright to leave the water in the pan of my grinder for days so that I can continue using it?
Should I use it until the water becomes too sandy and I need to replace the water or do I need to replace the water daily?


It's a good idea to empty the water daily and clean the pan. If it sits for days on end, the water evaporates and the glass dust becomes sludge, then it gets fairly hard and very difficult to remove.

As well as emptying the water daily, clean your grinder head as well. A toothbrush works well to dislodge any glass bits that get embedded between the diamond bits.

Remove the head from the grinder once a week and clean out the inside of the hole as well as the shaft that the bit sits on. A small bit of vaseline rubbed on the shaft before you replace the head will make the head go on and come off easily.

Taking care of your grinder will give it many years of use.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinder Chipping Glass

by Bill McCloud
(Pittsburgh, Pa (USA))

I have a number of grinder related questions.

First, I have a Inland Wizard IV grinder and am using standard grit bits. I've noticed that unless I hold the glass with a fair amount of downward pressure very close to the grinding bit, that I get chipping on the edge of the glass (sometimes even with very light pressure toward the bit). I've tried various types of glass with the same outcome. Can you advise what I'm doing wrong? Is this an indication of run-out on the bit? Do I need to use finer grit bits? Feed the glass differently? Something else?

Also, can you tell me what brand of grinder bits you use (or recommend)? I've used Inland bits so far but they are very expensive. I see that "TWOFERS" are much cheaper as are "Techniglass Gel Bits" but don't know if either of these are any good. Ia this a case of getting what you pay for or are there bargains to be had?

Any advice would be appreciated.




Hi Bill,

Unless you are getting big chips that show beyond the edges of your foil or lead, don't worry about them. They don't hurt the appearance of your finished panel. All glass will get fine chips when it's ground, some brands more than others, but every brand will chip.

Here's what to try if you feel that the chips are too big. Raised (or lower) the head to a new spot if you haven't done that recently. Then grind some scrap glass to wear the grit down a little. A new regular grit head will chip more than one that is worn down some. If you're still getting big chips, buy a fine grit grinder head. It will take longer to grind a piece, but you will have smoother edges.

In my opinion, grinding every piece of glass that you cut is not necessary. I only grind glass that needs to be reshaped. If you clean the edges with alcohol, your foil will stick just fine.

When I started working with glass, grinders weren't available to the hobbyist. We bought our first grinder in the late 70's. If we wanted to re-shape glass we used a carborundum stone. It took forever to "grind" down an edge, so we learned to cut accurately. We never "ground" every piece of glass. If it was cut accurately we used it as is. By the way, I still use a carborundum stone to take off small bits and recommend it as an alternative to the grinder for small touch-ups.

As for heads for your grinder, I have heard good things about the Twofers. I know the man that developed the Twofers and he always puts out excellent products.

I use my grinder so little that I seldom have to replace the head. When I do, I get Glastar heads for my Glastar grinder. I haven't bought a new head since the Twofers have been available, but I will probably buy a set the next time the need arises.

I hope some of this information has been helpful to you.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinder problems

by Marti
(Franklin, IN )

Lately I am having problems with my grinder, or maybe type of glass. I am working on a small panel, however I have changed the water in the grinder twice because sand getting all over my grinder bit. My glass is real rough on the edges, so I changed the position of the bit twice now. I don't know if it is the glass, the bit or am I trying to take off too much glass at a time. Solutions anyone?


It sounds like you need a new grinder bit or you are using a coarse bit rather than the regular bit. Before you go out and buy a new bit though, take the bit off of your grinder and scrub it with a toothbrush in warm soapy water. Put it back on in the next position up from where it was before you took it off and see if that helps.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinding leaves markings

by Kristin
(Mankato, MN)

I am making small glass tiles for jewlery. After cutting I grind edges so they snag or cut since they are left fairly raw on ring. My grinding leaves the edges of glass very dull, almost a scratched look. Do I need a new grinder head (mine is very old) or will any grinding leave glass edge no longer shiny?

P.S. Your site is a WONDERFUL resource. Thanks!

Yes, all grinders leave dull edges. For regular stained glass work, the edges are covered up with copper foil or lead, so it doesn't matter if the edges are dull. Nobody sees them.

If you do a lot of work that needs polished edges, get a lap grinder. You can see one here Lap Grinder

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

frozen grinder head

by L brown

What to do if you cannot remove the grinder head?


I used to hate it when that happened, then I'd get mad at myself for not taking the head off more often and cleaning it. I now put some Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant on the shaft before I put the head on (a small tube came with my present grinder). It works like a charm for preventing the head from seizing.

Too get the frozen head loose, spray around the shaft with WD40, or better yet a product called Thrust (you get it at most automotive parts stores) and let it sit for an hour. After an hour, spray it again and let it sit overnight. That should loosen it.

Once the head is off, shine up the shaft with some fine steel wool and apply some anti sieze lubricant before you put another head back on.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

grinding my pieces leaves the edge pitted sometimes

by Linda Reynolds
(Port Alfred, South Africa)

After I have cut a piece, i put it through my grinder, the grinder seems to pit or sometimes chip the edge of the piece of glass. how does one prevent this from happening? Best regards Linda Reynolds - South Africa.


Any glass that is ground will have pitted or chipped edges, some glass more than others. The pits and chips won't cause any problems, so don't be alarmed. However, if the chips show past the edge of the foil or lead, that is an indication that your grinder head is too coarse of a grit. In that case, you should get a fine grit head for your grinder.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinding glass down to pattern piece size

by Ellen Walker
(Yorba Linda, CA)

I am working on my first foil piece (I am taking a class 1 night a week)and cut my pieces a little larger, so I have to grind down A LOT. I don't have a table top grinder at this time (saving up money), but was wondering if there are any drill bits that I can get for my rotary drill that would work for now?


I don't know of any diamond embedded drill bits for the rotary drill. If there are any, you'd have to work out a way to keep the area wet while you grind.

You can buy a carborundum stone at most hardware stores or the sporting section at WalMart. It will take some elbow grease, but you will be able to grind down the edges, actually rub down is a better description, with the stone (no water needed).

When I started out in stained glass, grinders were not available for the home hobbyist, so the carborundum stone was the only thing available to take down the edges of glass. It certainly made people learn how to cut accurately, very quickly.

To this day, the carborundum stone is all I give my beginner students because I want them to learn how to cut accurately. They don't even know about the grinder until the intermediate class.

My suggestion to you would be to recut your glass. Take your time and follow the line, staying precisely on the inside edge of the line. Practice cutting your pattern on some window glass so you can figure out which cuts to make first. Remember to make the most difficult cuts first, the easiest last.

Good luck with your project. Submit a picture to the photo gallery when it's done. We'd all love to see it.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinding Angles on a Lamp Shade

by Ed
(Trinity, Florida)

I am attempting my first lamp shade which is a hexagon shape. Should I try and grind angles on the edge of the glass between panels to reduce the gap when the panels are folded into shape?
Thank you.


I've never done it, and I've made many lampshades, but some people do. It's a lot of work to get all of the angles exactly the same, even with the angle guide that comes as an attachment with some grinders.

So, to answer your question, I say no, don't do it on your first lampshade. Learn how to make a lampshade first, then if you really want to make that gaps smaller, you can try grinding the edges to an angle. I think once you have that first shade finished, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how nice the gaps look.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Glass Saws

by Tim

Have you tried and do you recommend glass saws. It seems like a good idea to do small detailed work. They are expensive though.

Which saw do you recommend.


Yes, I occasionally use a glass saw. There are times when I wonder why I bought it, since I use it so seldom, and it takes up a lot of room on my work bench. For what I paid for it, I could have bought a lot of glass that I would use every day.

That being said, if you have the money to spend on new glass working equipment, it does come in handy now and then. I have the Taurus ll Ring Saw. There is a newer model out now with some features that mine doesn't have.

I have used my saw to cut a few shapes that would have taken me a lot of time to do by hand. I have also used it to cut a small working piece out of the last bit of a particular color, or a particularly difficult to cut piece of glass. By doing that, I was able to save as much as possible of the rest of the glass.

If you are just starting out in glass work, I'd say no, this is not the time to buy a saw. You need to perfect cutting glass before you start using aides. A saw is not instead of a glass cutter, it is used in addition to a glass cutter and then, only if you really need to use it. Don't get lazy because you have a saw.

A saw does not cut a perfect looking edge, so you will have to grind the edge after you saw cut it. Also, a saw is very slow. I could have 2 or 3 pieces cut by hand in the time it takes to cut a piece with a saw. Lastly, there is a learning curve with a saw. If you cut on the line or the edge of the pattern piece, the glass will be too small. You'll have to figure out just how far from the edge to cut, so that your glass will come out the right size.

There are a number of saws available. I have only used the Taurus Ring Saw. I know that it is very popular and a lot of glass workers use that brand. It might be a good idea to go on one of the stained glass forums and ask which saw people use. You will get quite a few replies about glass saws, and have a better idea of which one you might want.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Grinding bevels

Is it always necessary to grind the edges of a bevel before putting copper foil on it?


In my opinion, grinding glass (including bevels) before you foil is not necessary unless you have to adjust the piece to make it fit properly.

Bevels are often not symetrical and will need one or two sides ground to make them straight or equal in length. Bevel clusters are notorious for needing grinding to make them fit properly.

If you do grind, wipe the edges with alcohol before you apply the foil. Alcohol will clean off any glass dust left behind from grinding, and it seems to make the foil stick better.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Gryphon Twister grinder won't pump water

by Nancy Rondeau
(Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

I have a new grinder that I purchased approx 3 months ago and everytime I turn off the grinder I have to literally siphon the hose (by sucking the water through the hose and spitting the water out). I'm doing this 50 to sixty times a session. Can anyone offer any suggestions?


Send an email to "Contact" at the Gryphon Corporation They should take care of the problem for you by either telling you what to do, or replacing a part. I've heard good reports about their customer service.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Coolant for Grinders

by Ann

I have an Inland grinder with a water reservoir and a sponge that sucks up the water and is held in the grinder so that it comes in contact with the grinder head.
Recently in response to a question you stated that you put a few drops of dish detergent in the water and that your grinder head "lasts for years". My question is what brand of grinder head do you use that will last for years? I'm thinking one of two things: you either don't grind very much or very often or there's something about adding dish deterget that keeps the diamond surface from wearing.


Hi Ann,

When I'm working on an intricate project, I grind a lot, if it's mainly straight pieces, I grind very little. I have both Glastar and DiamondMax grinders. Each one is in a different place in my studio, but I mainly use the DiamondMax because it's closer to my light box.

I use the specific heads that are made for each grinder. I keep my grinders clean and remove the heads frequently so they don't get stuck. I just put a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent in the resevoir along with the water...water first, then dishwashing detergent (to avoid bubbles).

I assume you realize that you have around 5 areas on each head that you can use before the diamonds are worn off. For those that don't know, when you are replacing a grinder head, put it on so the the bottom of the head is even with the bottom edge of the top plate (the plastic piece that looks like a grid). I took the rest of this from the Glastar instruction manual, as it explains it far better than I could: "If all the glass you grind is 1/8" (3.175 mm) thick or less, you will only use the lower one-fifth of the cutting surface. When the diamond cutting surface dulls, lower the head 1/8" (3.175 mm). This will provide a new, sharp grinding surface. When that area dulls, lower the head another 1/8" (3.175 mm) and so forth. This will allow five surfaces; each surface should last approximately 20 to 50 hours, a total of 100 to 250 hours of grinding from one head."

As you've probably read in my tutorials, I don't grind every piece of glass for every project. I seldom grind for lead work unless a piece is way off in size or shape. For foiling, if the piece is cut correctly, the foil will stick as long as the glass is clean and dry, so it doesn't need to be ground. I wipe the edges with a cloth dampened with alcohol. For whatever reason, the foil seems to stick better after the alcohol wipe.

Click here to post comments

Return to Stained Glass Questions.

Copyright 2018-2019

Click here to read our Privacy Policy and Disclaimer

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Stained Glass Gems.