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A Selection of Tools that are Useful when Making Stained Glass

By Edited Jan 31, 2016 0 0

There are a wide variety of tools that you can use for stained glass. They aren't all necessary, and this list doesn't cover everything that could be bought, but they can make it easier. The items listed are tools, rather than consumables and materials.

Soldering Iron

Soldering Iron

Used for soldering the joins of leaded pieces. Solder is also required. Soldering irons can also be used when soldering pieces of copper foil together.

Flux

Fluxes act as cleaning agents to help solder pieces of lead together, ensuring a cleaner and stronger join.

Sponge

A damp sponge can be used to clean the soldering iron.

Soldering Iron Stand

As soldering irons, by nature, become very hot when plugged in, a stand to hold them in is essential to prevent accidents. There are different types of stands; the most common is probably a spiral of wire which the soldering iron is placed into.

Glass Cutter

Glass Cutters
There are different types of glass cutter you can buy. The cheapest are the ones without an oil reservoir, but these should not be bought. The lack of oil increases the chance of the cut in the glass running off, ruining the piece being cut.

There are a couple of types of cutters that have oil reservoirs. The first is held in the same manner as you would hold a pen (1). The second type has a pistol grip, and is easier to use, especially if you have problems with the normal pen-type (2).

You will also need some oil (3) for the glass cutters. A simple dropper (4) can then be used to refill the cutter when it is empty.

Straight Edges

Rulers and Straight Edges
To get straight cuts, use rulers and t-squares to guide your cutter. Flexible rulers (1) that can be bent to shape will aid in the cutting of curves.

 

 

Glass Grinder

Glass Grinder
This is a special water-cooled grinder designed especially for decorative glass cutting. Although it rests on a surface, it is not a bench grinder. Bench grinders are far too powerful for this type of work, and can easily damage the glass pieces.

The glass grinder is used to grind the edges of pieces of cut glass to make them neater and safer. A cheaper alternative is to file the edges with a carborundum.

Safety Goggles

Safety Glasses(105357)
Safety goggles are essential, especially when using a grinder which could cause small glass splinters to fly off. There are different types available, from ones that are held onto your head with elastic (1), to ones that fit over your ears like a normal pair of glasses (2). You can also get ones with built in LED lights (a) that can be directed at what you are working on. All safety glasses should easily fit over normal glasses if worn.

 

 

Stained Glass Tools

Clamps

Clamps (1) can be used to hold pieces of projects in place whilst being worked upon.

Pliers

Pliers (2) are used to hold things without directly using your hands, and that don't need to be held completely hands free, of for long enough, to require the use of clamps to hold them.

Hammer

A hammer (3) is used with panel pins to stop individual pieces of glass from moving around whilst the stained glass piece is being assembled, by hammering pins into the surface being used. The pins are not nailed in next to the glass pieces themselves, as that could damage them. The glass needs to have the edges protected first with either lead or copper foil; nailing the pins directly next to the edge of a piece of glass increases the likelihood of the glass being damaged. A small, lightweight hammer (such as a toffee hammer) is fine.

Running Pliers

Once a piece of glass has been scored with a glass cutter, running pliers (4) are used to break the piece of glass off.

Alternatives are breaking, grozing and combination pliers.

Lead Came Cutter or Lead Knife

Lead came is the lead used to edge pieces of glass. The cutter (5) is used to cut the various shapes of came lead, such as C and U, and can also be used on H and Y. The lead came cutter should be sharpened after usage so that it always makes clean cuts. This can be done with a carborundum. An alternative is a lead knife.

Fid

Also called a lathekin, the fid (6) is used to open up and widen lead came channels if they become closed, so that they will fit around the glass. It can also be used to burnish copper foil.

Scissors

Scissors (7) can be used for anything that needs cutting, such as thin lead, copper foil, patterns and paper.

Tape Measure

A tape measure (8) is useful for measuring pieces of glass, especially if a ruler is not big enough.

Oyster Knife

An oyster knife (9) can also be used for opening the lead came channels, like the fid, and can also be used for pressing the lead down afterwards.

Cutting Surface

Cutting Surface
Something to lean on when cutting glass is essential. When working with larger pieces of glass, a wooden surface covered with a short pile carpet can be used. Use a small brush to clean glass shards and splinters off the surface after cutting to stop them scratching other pieces of glass.

 

Gloves

Although awkward to wear whilst working, the edges of pieces of cut glass are very sharp. These can be ground using the glass grinder, but you may want to wear gloves until that point. Failing that, having plasters to hand is a good idea.

Latex Disposable Gloves

As well as glass glvoes to protect your fingers when handling sharp pieces of glass, latex disposable gloves are also useful. Some of the fluids and substances used in stained glass, such as the aging fluid used to darken lead, should be prevented from getting onto bare skin. Disposable gloves can be used for this.

Hacksaw

As well as lead cames, cames can also be purchased in zinc. Zinc being a harder material, a lead came cutter is inadequate to cut it. Instead, a hacksaw (or junior hacksaw) can be used. A mitre block can also be useful when cutting zinc with a hacksaw to ensure that the angles are correct.

Wire Cutters

Used for cutting wire, such as might be used to create a hanger for the stained glass item being made.

Brushes

Used for brushing away glass and applying flux, aging fluid or other liquids if needed. This includes hand brushes and paint brushes.

Wood

Wood can have a variety of uses; such as a cutting surface, to make jigs and to build projects on. A flat wooden surface can have the various pieces of glass placed upon it and held there with panel pins whilst the project is being constructed.

Woodworking Tools

If jigs need to be made to create a pattern to fit the glass around, woodworking tools can be useful to fashion one out of wood.

Inland Wizling CG Stained Glass Grinder
Amazon Price: $129.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 31, 2016)
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