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Tips For Cutting Glass Safely
Cutting glass is sometimes necessary, when you are completing a DIY bathroom project, with mirrors, shower doors, and so on. Glass can seem like a tricky customer to cut, being both hard and easy to break. However, by following some simple steps, it is actually not all that difficult. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
Make sure you have the right equipment
For most types of glass, a manual glass cutter will be the right tool. It consists of a metal handle and diamond or other hardened cutting wheel, which is used to score the glass. It is no bigger than a standard sized pencil or screw driver, and they are relatively inexpensive to buy.
You will also need a can of cutting oil, and preferably a metal ruler or framing square, although another object with a straight edge and a raised profile may work, if you do not have a ruler. You will also need a clean cloth and some window/glass cleaner.
You should also wear personal protective equipment, including safety glasses or goggles, an apron, cut-resistant gloves, and wrist guards.
Prepare a cutting surface
To have a safe surface to cut the glass on, it is essential to have a large flat area, preferably with a cutting mat with a slight ‘give’ to it, to minimise the risk of the breakage. Hard surfaces may also scratch the glass. For this reason, also wipe the surface down to ensure it is free from dust and debris. Make sure the area is away from pets and children.
Prepare the glass
Mark out the guideline for the cut on the glass with a fine-tipped pen. Bear in mind that the cutting wheel is offset by a few millimetres from the edge of the cutter, so subtract this from your desired measurement. Also leave at least six inches on either side of the cut, to give you enough grip to break the glass afterwards.
Score the glass
Take your ruler or other straight-edged object, and place it next to the mark, securing with tape if you prefer to help keep it steady. Lubricate the cutting wheel by dipping it in the oil, to help create a smooth edge. Press the wheel firmly on the glass, but not with excessive force, and run it along the surface in one swift, even movement.
Remove the ruler, and check the score runs completely from one edge to the other. It should look like an even, continuous scratch.
Break the glass
Make sure you are wearing wrist protectors and cut-resistant gloves. Now, take the glass, and slide it until the scored line is level with the edge of the workbench. Then put one hand firmly down next to the score mark, and take the edge of the glass in the other hand. Apply pressure to break the glass along the score.
Alternatively, you can use the ball on the end of the glass cutter to tap along the reverse of the scored line. The pressure should eventually cause the glass to break in two.
Finally, clean off any traces of oil, and sandpaper down the sharp cut edge of the glass.
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