Tips and Tricks for Using Glass Grinders in Hobby Work

If you’re a novice stained glass hobbyist, a glass grinder can help you create beautiful, professional looking projects from the very start. Glass grinders allow you to alter the shape of your glass more easily than glass saws do, and you’ll waste less of that expensive glass due to inaccurate cuts. Because you can grind precisely, the pieces of your project will fit together better, and because glass grinders leave a rougher surface, copper foil will adhere better to the edges.

Glass grinders with specialty bits simplify tasks like drilling holes, mitering glass edges and removing texture from the glass surface.

These tips and tricks can help you get more use out of your stained glass grinder, and ensure that you’re using it safely.

Positioning Hints for Easier Working:

  • Place your glass grinder where you’ll get good overhead light to make it easier to work. Keep in mind, though, that your shadow will fall over your work. Add a second light to shine from the front for the best illumination while you work.
  • Make sure that the grinder is at a comfortable height for you to work with. If you’ll be standing, you should be able to bend your arms at the elbow and place your hands where you’ll be holding the glass. Positioning the grinding surface higher or lower will put extra strain on your shoulders and lower back.
  • Put a step stool on the floor beside you. Working with one foot elevated can reduce back strain when you work for long periods of time.
  • Put a splash guard around your stained glass grinder to keep from splattering other surfaces with overspray while you work.
​Working Tips for Glass Grinders
  • Mark pattern lines on the glass with a paint pen. It will help you follow the pattern more easily and the paint is more likely to stay on than other types of markers.
  • Have a towel handy for drying your pieces before you place them on the pattern to measure them.
  • Keep your glass piece flat on the grinder’s work surface to prevent angling the edges.
  • If the glass cuts your fingers while you’re grinding, you may need to reposition or replace the bit. Ease up and check the bit for wear to make sure the bit isn’t too worn to do its job properly.
  • Keep your water reservoir filled to the right level. If you see a white buildup around the grinding head, it means that there’s not enough water getting to the bit. Check to be sure that the sponge has contact with the bit and that there is enough water or coolant in the reservoir.
Stained glass grinders are a valuable addition to your stained glass supplies and tools. If you use it carefully and treat it properly, you’ll find that it’s invaluable in helping you create professional, beautifully finished pieces of glass art.

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