Tips For a One-Handed Glass Worker

by Ken

I know this is long but please read. I am looking for tips or suggestions on working with stained glass with one hand. I lost my right arm in a motorcycle accident in 1970.

I recently finished a 107 piece of a frog on a limb using the copper foil and solder. My wife and I like it alot, but it would be about a 4 in the stained glass world.

I know I should have started with something alot easier, but I tend to jump in the deep end first.

Sue's tutorials helped me a great deal and would of helped even more if I would have taken the time and found them before I finished.

Being one-handed, I have to teach myself how to do most things but if anyone out there has any tips or tricks I can try, I would love to hear from you.

Yes, I had trouble with just about everything and that practice and lots of patience will cure most of it but a couple of things I need help with.

After breaking many of my cuts, the glass would break at an angle that I would have to grind down some.

Does anyone have tricks on foiling? I use a small projects vise to hold the glass. I don't know if the foiling machine would be worth it.

My soldering looks like a mountain range in places. After lots of time, I was able to get it to rolling hills. My soldering iron is one temp and high heat and it seems that helps by keeping the solder liquid longer. I know motion keeps the solder from building up but I need tricks on how. Would a temp control iron be better?

I know I have rambled on but I'm not sure what to ask. Any help would be welcomed.


To anyone reading this, I suggested to Ken that his questions would probably bring quite a response if he asked for help here. I know, from previous submissions and emails, that there are some very creative people out there, so please, if you can think of any ways to make working with glass easier for Ken, put your ideas in the comments section below.

Comments for Tips For a One-Handed Glass Worker

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Jan 25, 2011
Cork board and pencil
by: CZ

You could try cutting on a cork board, the type you use push pins to hang things on.

Once I had an injury to one hand and didn't want to stop working so I used the cork and a pencil in my mouth. The eraser end holds the glass like a finger would and the cork is smooth enough to slide the glass when you want and holds it still when you push.

I've found that your mouth can work as an extra hand at times. The frame of the cork board stops slivers and flakes from going all over the place and clean up is simple with a dust brush.

Jan 22, 2009
Reply to Judi
by: Ken

Thanx Judi,
I have been using a piece of rubber cabinet
padding. I do lose alot of shards in the pad though. I have found that cutting on several sheets of paper works too. This also helps save the cutter wheel from being damaged at the end of a cut.

Jan 21, 2009
One Hand Helping Another
by: judi

I have a brother who is also an amputee. Like every one else who comes to my home when I'm working, he wanted to try cutting a piece of glass. We found that if we placed a low pile bath mat with a rubber back the glass would not slide as much,(low pile helps to hold the glass but allows for easy location of small glass shards). Morten has a glass breaking system that utilizes a rubber button under the score and a very handy "pad" to use on the breake side this worked well. As to foiling, most foiling machines work well with one hand. Try a small piece of florest clay or modeling clay to hold the glass to the table when burnishing.
Hope this helps.

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