How Glass Cutters Work


If you’re working on a project that requires a glass cutting service or a mirror cutting service, you may wonder exactly how glass cutters do what they do. Perhaps you are considering using a glass cutter yourself and want some insight into these tools.

Here’s the scoop.

Cutting glass isn’t really cutting glass

When you think of the term cut, you probably picture a knife-type tool slicing through an object. This is not an accurate depiction of a glass cutting service.

When a technician cuts glass, he or she is actually scoring the glass. A mark or groove is made on the glass that weakens the glass along that line. Additional force is then applied, which breaks the glass along that seam; however, referring to this process as breaking glass would be even more confusing, so we use the term cutting instead.

Glass cutting service for different types of glass

While there are various techniques for cutting glass, all the methods are similar. Whether you are using a mirror cutting service or need to cut a window or stained glass artwork, the techniques are very much alike. The size and thickness of the glass will determine the specific technique that is required for the glass cutting service.

A look inside a glass cutter

Glass cutters are made of two main components. The wheel (or roller) has a pointed or angled edge. This roller is pressed to the glass to score the surface. The handle (or stem) is attached to the wheel and is used for gripping the cutter and moving it along the surface of the glass. Glass cutters feature a variety of grip types, including custom options.

Some glass cutters also feature an oil chamber. A piece of string carries drops of oil from this chamber to the wheel. This allows the user to create an oiled score line. If this feature is not included, the user may have to add oil manually to the wheel to make a successful cut.

Tips for using glass cutters

Feeling ready to start using glass cutters for a project? Double-check these tips to ensure your own safety and get the best results:

  • Pressure matters: It will take practice to determine the right amount of pressure to apply to the cutting tool. You must apply the same amount of pressure throughout the entire cut.
  • Try standing: Using a glass cutter in a standing position often makes it easier to grip the tool and to apply the appropriate amount of pressure.
  • Don’t start at the edge: Begin your cut 1/16 inch from the edge. Complete your cut by rolling over the end edge.
  • Break it in reverse: When you’re ready to break the glass after scoring, start from the edge where you finished the cut.
  • Consult the experts: If you’re not familiar with glass cutters, your best option is to consult with a glass cutting service before you begin your project. These experts can apply their extensive knowledge and skill to help you produce the results you desire.

We have the tools you need

For top-quality glass or mirror cutting services, contact the experienced professionals at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. We have everything you need for your next glass cutting project. Contact us today at 206-324-5000.