Glass Cutting Basics for Picture Framing

Glass Cutting Basics for Picture Framing


OK today on Repairs101 weíve got this piece
of artwork here that has an unfortunate crack in the glass. And so Iím going to remove
the glass, cut a new piece because itís a custom frame and it has a unique size that
you canít just buy off the shelf. Hereís a handful of framing tools that weíll be
using and my framing supplies toolbox. Sitting on top of this replacement piece of glass
weíre going to be using which is UV glass. As you can see itís quite faded so weíre
going to put on a piece of UV glass. And give it that little bit of extra protection from
light that is deteriorating the quality of this image.
So being able to cut glass is a great skill to have. The tools are inexpensive for sure
and youíll have a lot of opportunities to use it around the home if youíre a handyperson.
You might have broken window panes in your home that you need to replace, you might have
a broken mirror that needs to be replaced or reframed or like this a piece of broken
artwork. Now first up Iíd say you may want to wear
gloves. Now Iím going to do this barehanded but I recommend that you wear gloves when
you do this. And for sure youíre going to wear your safety glasses.
Although there are a lot of more expensive options the most basic tool you need to do
this job is this little thing right here. Iíll show you that. There we go. As you can
see, its got a wheel in the end of it made of high carbon steel and thatís what does
all the work. These notches right here, theyíre there as holds so you can grab on to a piece
of glass and break it off like that. And of course the handle is very nice ergonomic handle
and it also has a little ball on the end thatís also used for tapping the glass along the
scribe that youíve made in order to ensure a break.
So another tool youíre going to need is the glass cut running pliers, also known as a
glazerís pliers or a glass plier. So this is the way it works. As you scribe along the
top of the piece of glass you get this underneath it and it levers it together and it separates
it along your scribe. The original piece of glass is considerably
smaller than the replacement piece that weíve bought for it. So itís going to need to be
cut down. It also has all the corners nipped off of it. Weíll just take a Sharpie and
trace it now obviously itís just going to give me a rough outline of where I need to
cut. OK so in the spirit of measuring twice and
cutting once Iím going to take a quick measurement and weíll start measuring. Just take a look
at this. And weíll measure this one again of course just take two measurements. So the
tracing is good. And Iím going to follow it as my guideline. The first thing Iím going
to cut is the short edge because the shorter your run youíre cutting the better off you
are. And weíre going to take a brand new Fletcher
glass cutter ñ the gold tip type, with the breaker ball on the end which Iím not sure
Iím going to need. Iím going to apply a tiny drop of tenacious oil which is a very,
very thick chain oil that is very much similar to gear oil. Say an eighty or ninety weight
gear oil, if thatís what youíve got thatís what Iíd recommend. Anyway so thatís just
to make sure that the wheel rolls nice and easily across the surface.
Line it up right the first time. There we go. There we go. There we go. OK so Iíve
got it lined up to my liking Iíve got the ñ maybe Iíll add one more clamp to hold
that in place to make sure it doesnít move when I make my cut.
OK start beyond it, go right up against the ruler which youíre using as a fence, and
get started. [Glass cutting]
And go right to the end and over the edge. [Glass cutting]
OK and thatís all there is to it. OK and then the last thing is to take your
cut running pliers and snap the end. You want to line that up right on it right on the cut
and then you see it just breaks like magic. Here we go here we go so we line it up just
like that and there you go. You see that? No cuts, nothing to worry about but I recommend
that you wear gloves . And then you just give it a little tiny gentle squeeze and as you
can see it pops off clean and right into my hand.
This time Iím going to use this much bigger set-square because unfortunately my favourite
little steel ruler isnít long enough ñ itís eighteen inches and we need to go across eighteen
and a half. And you must score from edge to edge. You cannot start part way down and hope
that it all works out OK. Thatís just not going to happen. And here we go.
[Glass cutting] Now if for whatever reason you canít your
hands on a pair of cut running pliers thereís a civilized solution and itís not using your
hands or using two pairs or ordinary pliers. OK donít use you hands even with gloves on.
And really what you really want to do is just find yourself a block of wood, something like
this. And what weíre going to do is weíre going to rip a channel down the middle of
it to accommodate the edge of the glass. And Iíll just show you how to do that real quick.
OK you get your fence set up, just lower the saw a little bit.
[Table saw rips] So of course the channel in my block of wood
acts exactly the same way as the channels in this tool. Insert the glass and snap off
ñ in this case generally youíre just going to nibble off little bits with this edge of
his tool. When you need to make a break and you donít have cut-running pliers then itís
a good idea to cut yourself something like this and use it to prevent your hand from
coming in contact with it. And this will help you apply even pressure along the whole length
of it as opposed to say just where my thumbs are. If that was the glass and I was trying
to break it with my hands. Thatís just a recipe for disaster. Youíre going to end
up getting some really severe cuts. OK weíre going to take this piece of wood
that we cut a channel into and weíre going to use it instead of my hand or a pair of
pliers or something silly like that to provide nice even pressure across a much larger surface
area than my fingers, my hands, another pair of pliers or something would do. Now make
sure youíre wearing your safety glasses when you do this and I would still recommend gloves
to most people. Then just a little twist of the wrist and it breaks off nice and clean
nice and safe. So pop off like that, OK piece of cake and very safe, no contact of course
with the glass at all that Iím breaking off, OK.
OK so whatís left are nicking off these corners. So I donít think you need a clamp for this.
Just start right there and etch and she popped right off for me. OK so weíll just take a
line, take our etcher our glass cutter. Look at that. Now that one again came right off
with just the little bit of pressure I was putting on it with the ruler. Alright. And
again, nice clean cut. Popped right off. OK thatís snug. Oh yeah, right in. OK Iíll
just clean this up both sides, put the artwork back together and weíre all finished.
So what Iíve done is put some tape here to replace all this old tape from the nineteen-seventies
that dried up and no longer holding the piece in place. Although art conservatorists will
be having heart attacks right now because this is certainly not acid free paper, itís
the paper that was in there all along and itís an historical document. Itís a time
capsule so Iím going to preserve that time capsule.
And last but not least I have the original nails here but Iím going to replace them
with a much more modern and much more convenient solution. Which are these little fellows right
here. I call them stars because theyíre kind of star shaped.
Weíre going to use these little staples that are driven in by this interesting little driver
right here. You just get in behind them like that and you push them in Ö
Thatís what the staple looks like. As you can see its got raised edges for pushing on.
The tool is this thing right here itís made by the Fletcher company again and all you
do is you getÖ you load one in like that. And you want to be very careful not to push
down at all because youíre going to shatter the glass. Of course you need to only be pushing
parallel to the glass into the wood, not down on the glass at all.
Iím going to try and centre it and then slide it on in like that. Very careful not to push
down ñ only to push across. And there it is.
OK as usual my product is by 3M and it is Durapore fabric tape. So just attach that
along like that. Like that and then bring it in, make a nice dust cover while still
preserving the look of the original picture frame maker.
OK now as you can see in no time flat Iíve been able to restore something that was otherwise
relegated to a storage room where it was going to collect dust for the next decade or two
before somebody finally got tired of looking at it and threw it out. And that would be
a real shame because itís really a beautiful piece of artwork. And now it can go back to
its rightful owner and they can enjoy it on their wall for years to come.
OK so I like to put it on a piece of cardboard as you see on top of my workbench. I bring
it right to the edge here. Iím going to be cutting across there. Iíll take a steel ruler
and also align it perfectly across the edge so I have an exact parallel cut. Iím going
to take my gluing clamps and place them across the bottom so that the ruler canít move when
Iím etching my line. OK Iím going to put a drop of tenacious oil
on the wheel, every time I use it because itís going to clog up with glass debris and
you want it running freely in order to do the cut.
Now listen for this sound, itís critical that you be making the same noise so that
you ensure that youíre making a good score across.
[Glass cutting] Listen for that sound.
You probably want to wear gloves to do this. So just line that up.
There we go.

Dereck Turner

35 thoughts on “Glass Cutting Basics for Picture Framing

  1. burrochapadogrl says:

    wow great video. make more please!

  2. ndktube says:

    Nice vid with good camerawork, thanks.

  3. Repairs101 says:

    I'd use a 200 grit sandpaper or similar product. Exercise caution in rounding the edges – you don't want to touch the face of the glass at all.Wear glasses and gloves. Good luck!
    Thanks for watching and for commenting – btw I currently have 48 other videos on YouTube – almost all of them are how-to DIYs and I will be making more as time allows.

  4. Hacra says:

    Very nice video, curious how much pressure/force do you apply when you press the tool down to the glass, i just bought my own glass cutter and planning to replace some damaged window panes, but i am bit afraid i might break the glass if i apply too much force, any tips for this? thanks in advance.

  5. Chumfleet says:

    Do you just score it once, or do you do go back over it a few times?

  6. Repairs101 says:

    Just once, just like you see it in the video.

  7. 5uds1 says:

    What do you call that big right-angled ruler thing?

  8. Repairs101 says:

    It's called a "Right Angle Ruler", Most people call it a "set square" but that's actually a triangle that you use with a "T square".

  9. scheisse passiert says:

    i call it a speed square

  10. Rex Hamann says:

    What is important to remember to get an accurate cut is to leave 1/8" for the cutter if that's the style cutter you have. Also, what do you do when you cut the glass but it's like 1/16 or 1/32" inch too big? How do you cut that small an amount? I don't think you can, which underscores the importance of getting an accurate cut the first time.

  11. amsxXxevo8 says:

    Reminds me of bob ross when he speaks.

  12. youviewme says:

    Thanks for your video. This gave me the confidence to try it myself.

  13. jacques grobler says:

    thanx bro real helpfull,and as wished,nicely inexpensive,keep on grooving,regards jaq

  14. Repairs101 says:

    Happy to hear that. Thanks for commenting!

  15. CatGaffer says:

    If you are trying to buy one of these, search "framing sqare"

  16. telosfd says:

    I have a glass cutter with five different positions 2,3,4,5,6 why?

  17. papasitoOC says:

    Some one was telling me that I would have to grind the edges of my glass when cutting glass for a frame like you did in this video. I'm relatively new to this sort of thing so please excuse me for asking… but I didn't see you use one in your video. Is it unnecessary to use one for frames? I originally  thought I would only possibly need a glass grinder for stained glass work anyway till she put her two cents worth in. Thanks for any reply. I'd appreciate it. 🙂

  18. kunal singh says:

    Great video, learned a lot from you… by the way you look exactly like Freddie Roach..

  19. ismilenowcrylater says:

    Thank you – after watching your video, I successfully cut a 18 x 22 piece os glass THE FIRST TIME.  Woo hoo  lol

  20. orlando las vegas says:

    Very helpful video, thanks

  21. Jenny Näslund says:

    Very helpful in every way, how the tools works and how to cut, also good close up photography. Thanks!

  22. Edwin Henry Blachford says:

    even though i've watched a glazier get his wrists slashed by broken glass then drop in a pool of blood with the sudden loss of blood pressure, I still won't wear gloves since I feel like I have much more control with just my hands. Or I can wear the correct safety equipment and die. BTW the glazier was wearing all the right safety equipment and using suction clamps. Ironic huh

  23. djl32781 says:

    Thank you Adam. Great video. Tell Jamie hey.

  24. Candi Soda says:

    I have a glass mug that I want to cut the handles off.  It's a typical glass mug you see at bars, do you have any recommendations on how to do that?

  25. Matthew Jenkins says:

    I like your style. Very helpful, thank you.

  26. Shelley Geller says:

    Thanks for this — great video. You helped a lot.

  27. unapro3 says:

    Measure twice cut once, yes…. a wise habit to get into, but if you have made a mistake in marking out by using the original as a template, you need to rethink using sharp tools and crossing the road without an adult.

  28. Arthur Hau says:

    Four thumbs up!

  29. Sandi Fathers says:

    Fantastic tutorial..many thanks.

  30. JL says:

    It work, I did the first one perfect. Then dropped it. Then it took three more tries. Making the snapper tool from wood was a great tip.

  31. yonshing lin says:

    hi, great tutorial! where can i buy the tools?

  32. yonshing lin says:

    cant find a good set on ebay!

  33. Derek Frankovich says:

    thanks a ton! Was going through my grandpa's old tool chest of wonders and found a couple of these old Fletcher tools and was immediately perplexed! One question though; does the wheel have to be sharp or is it ok for the edge to be round?

  34. Lisa C says:

    Thank you so much for this video. I have some glass I wanted to cut and found my Grandpa's Fletcher glass cutter with no idea how to use it. He also has other tools that no one knows anything about. lol He also has a Grant Keen Edge…er…thing. Wish me luck in figuring out what that does.

  35. Ralph Hamilton says:

    Good video. What are the square notches on the back of the glass cutter for?

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