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Thread: Cutting 1/4 thick mirror

  1. #1
    MGF Master Grumble Framer troyveluz's Avatar
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    Default Cutting 1/4 thick mirror

    This is a first for me.
    A client brings is a 1/4 thick mirror for me to cut to size and frame.
    I put the mirror into my wall cutter & score. When I press the lever to snap the glass, it won't break. I cut 1/4 thick mirrors with my wall cutter all the time with not problem. This mirror just won't snap in two.
    I applied a little bit more pressure on the level until I see the 2 metal rails bend. I don't want to put more pressure on the lever for feat that it might break my wall cutter. Is there another way to cut this mirror or a technique to cut it using my wall cutter? (I have a fletcher 3000)

    Thanks in advance,
    Troy
    Last edited by troyveluz; September 3rd, 2010 at 05:12 PM. Reason: error in the subject line
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    PFG Picture Framing God RParrish's Avatar
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    Lay the mirror flat on the edge of a table, score matching the edge. Press firmly and the whole thing should snap off.

    Don't forget to wear your safety glasses.
    Randy Parrish CPF, Parrish Fine Framing & Art

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    CGF, Certified Grumble Framer Framehouse Boutique's Avatar
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    After scoring the glass, use the back end ball of the hand cutting tool and tap the glass from the back side. Tap Tap tap tap tap tap.

    It should deepen the score through the glass and make it easier to snap.
    Eric Burke
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    MGF Master Grumble Framer troyveluz's Avatar
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    I did the tap tap tap and the "lay on table and apply pressure". The mirror broke into several pieces. I guess I'll have to practice cutting 1/4 thick mirrors by hand a little bit more.

    Regards,
    Troy
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  • #5
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer mik's Avatar
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    Use the bits and pieces to practice. Is it possible that you might have over-scored the mirror?

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    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Jeff Rodier's Avatar
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    I cut them quite often on my 3000. I have my wife push the left side firmly against the cutter while I give it a very hard shove on the right. I don't have my right support attached so I have to grasp it with hands and catch it as it breaks. I do it bare handed but have been cutting heavy mirror for over 30 years so I don't worry about it. Rubber dipped gloves will provide protection for your hands.

    With the right support in place have someone push back on the left side and push on the right in the center of the outer edge. The norrower the cut off the harder it will be to break. if the cut off is narrow you can use a large pair of pliers to twist from the top right corner to break it. I use large channel locks but glass pliers should be used if the scrap needs to be undamaged. I face the pliers to the side rahter than the top if that makes sense.

    The most important thing is to snap it as soon as you score the mirror or the cut begins to heal. The healing is just glass shards flaking away making the score more flat than v-shaped.
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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Rodier View Post
    The most important thing is to snap it as soon as you score the mirror or the cut begins to heal. The healing is just glass shards flaking away making the score more flat than v-shaped.
    Whoa. I've never heard of this effect. So glass and mirrors will become harder to snap over (a limited) time after scoring?

  • #8
    SPFG Supreme Picture Framer God Jeff Rodier's Avatar
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    Yes John and that is one reason why you should not try to score too hard or deeply. Try this with a handheld glass cutter:

    Take a piece of glass or mirror and press very firmly while scoring. Now observe the score over about 30-60 seconds and you will see very small flakes of glass jumping off the score. The flakes are coming off the egdge of the score to the left and right of it. This is making the groove more flat and makes it harder to snap. Lubricated glass cutters reduce the speed at which this occurs.

    The reason glass cutter wheels have different bevel angles is to provide the optimum score for the thickness of glass. Thinner glass uses a steeper angle and thicker glass is wider.

    If you choose to observe from a very close distance wear safety goggles since the shards can land in your eye. I had to go to the eye doctor to have one removed once. Pretty cool when they shine the light in your eye to locate it you can see every blood vessel in it.
    Art & Frame Outlet
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  • #9
    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer osgood's Avatar
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    There must be about a thousand threads relating to cutting glass on the forum. There are probably a similar amount of theories on cutting thicker glass than standard picture glass.

    Some methods will work sometimes, some methods will work all the time, and those are the methods that glaziers use. Many years ago I used to buy quarter inch glass by the crate to make aquariums and I learned my method from a glazier.

    You may find it in a previous thread, but let me tell you that the tap, tap, tap method is not involved!
    Likewise, a wall cutter is not involved.

    An oil filled cutter is my preferred tool. A good quality standard wheel cutter dipped in air tool oil works well too.

    I like to place the sheet on a bench that has carpet or some other similar surface.
    Use a straight edge as a guide to run the cutter along, preferably in one motion, where possible. Do not press really hard. Practice on scrap glass of any thickness to discover the lightest pressure that will score a line.

    If the offcut is a foot or more wide, move it out off the bench until the score is in line approximately with the edge of the bench. Snap the offcut downwards sharply and it will break off.

    For narrower offcuts, place a wooden pencil or small wooden dowel, or if the glass cutter handle is wood, place that under the end of the cut and press gradually & evenly downward on both sides of the score line until the break runs along the score line.

    Once you get the pressure right on the cutter when scoring this will work every time.
    Ormond Williams MCPF
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    SGF Supreme Grumble Framer artfolio's Avatar
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    I gave up on cutting heavy glass years ago - more hassle than it is worth.

    When I need mirror glass cut I wait until my mirror supplier delivers and ask him to cut it for me. He uses a cutter almost identical to mine, scores the glass just as I do for 2mm and snaps it between his fingers just as easily. The only difference I can see is that he cuts this heavy stuff every day and I only do it once in a blue moon.
    "Try not! Do or do not; there is no try" (Jedi Master Yoda)

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