- Clean the glass of debris and surface film.
- Always use your cutter with the head screw facing up–that’s right, screw up.
- Before starting the score, position the glass to make sure that you can comfortably complete the whole score.
- Always score on the smoothest side of the glass.
- If you get stuck in a bump or pit, gently ease your cutter out and continue scoring.
- Lift your cutter up instead of rolling it off the glass at the end of the score to prevent damaging the cutter wheel and the glass.
- I find it easier to push the cutter instead of pulling it.
- When using a straight edge, pulling the cutter along the ruler is easier. Keep your elbow tucked into your side to keep your hand from leaning to one side or the other.
- Don’t over-tighten the oil cap on your cutter or a vacuum will form and the oil will be unable to flow.
- Keep your work surface clean and free of all slivers and cutting debris which may scratch your glass or yourself. Invest in a Morton cutting surface. It will eliminate the need for constant brusinging of your work surface.
When to Replace your Cutter Head
A dull or damaged cutter head will turn any project into a nightmare. It is a good idea to clean out the space where the wheel turns. Tiny chips of glass can get wedged in the opening causing the cutter to scratch instead of score the glass. After you have cleaned the wheel, score a piece of clear float glass and listen for “clicks”. You can also score a piece of mirror and look for a dot-dash pattern instead of a smooth, even line. Clicks or dot-dashes mean you need to replace your cutter head.
Remember, it is always better to cut standing up rather than sitting down. You want to cut using your body, shoulder and arm, not just your wrist.
Only cut once. Never correct a mistake by cutting the score again–this can dull your cutter and rarely succeeds to cut the glass.
Burnish your foil down lightly, leaving no air bubbles. This will prevent flux from seeping under the foil.
To avoid splits in the foil when foiling deep inside curves, start and end the foil at the deepest part of the curve and overlap slightly. Use your finger to gently stretch and roll the foil over the edges.
You can use a sharp hobby knife to trim unevenly foiled edges especially where you overlap. Remember, the solder will flow exactly where the foil is.
Warm, clean, dry glass foils easily. Make sure to remove all grinding residue from your pieces before foiling.
There are different types or colours of foil. Copper foil may have one of several types of backing. The backing is on the adhesive if you look inside the foiled area through the glass. It is a small detail, but your patina should match your foil backing if you are using cathedral glass. It is very obvious that you used copper foil and black patina on your solder lines when using clear or cathedral glass.
Preventing a Stuck Grinder Head
To help you avoid a grinder head getting stuck on your grinder shaft, try a little preventative maintainance.
- Apply a water resistant lubricant to the motor shaft, such as petroleum jelly every time you change bits.
- Always secure your bit to the flat side of the motor shaft. Tightening the set screw on the rounded side can cause a scar on the shaft and prevent bit removal.
- There is no need to tighten the set screw too tight. Just tighten the set screw until the bit is secure.
- If your grinder will be left unused for a period of time, remove the grinder bit.
- Do not force the bit on the motor shaft. It should slide on easily.
- Never use sandpaper or a file on the motor shaft–it can change the shape or size of the shaft and prevent the installation of a grinder bit.
- When adding water to the grinder reservoir, avoid pouring it directly onto the motor shaft. Clean the reservoir regularly.
Removing a Grinder Bit That is Stuck
Follow these steps to remove a grinder bit that has become stuck on the motor shaft.
- Loosen the set screw completely and push the bit to the bottom of the shaft. If it will move and clear the problem area try step
- If it will not move down the shaft, proceed to step 3. 2. Wrap a piece of very fine steel wool around the motor shaft and turn on the grinder. This will polish the shaft and remove any small scars. Remove the grinder bit. If it is still stuck, go on to step 3.
- Use a plumbers facet puller to remove the bit. Polish the shaft as outlined in step 2.
Taking Care of Your Soldering Iron
The best way to protect your soldering iron tip is to keep the tip coated in solder. Solder will protect the tip from oxidization and keep the heat transfering to the solder joint. Do not wipe your iron tip on a drenched sponge–radical changes in temperature will cause thermal shock which reduces the tip and heater life. Do not scrape, file or rub the plating from the tip. Once the plating is removed, the tip will very quickly oxidize and be rendered useless. Loosen the set screw and periodically remove the tip from the iron. This will help keep the tip from seizing to the heater.