How to do-it-yourself instructional on cutting glass for picture framing and other handyman projects. Demonstrates cutting procedures and use of Cut-Running Pliers as well as a safe homemade alternative.
OK today on Repairs101 weíve got this piece of artwork here that has an unfortunate crack in the glass. And so Iím going to remove the glass, cut a new piece because itís a custom frame and it has a unique size that you canít just buy off the shelf. Hereís a handful of framing tools that weíll be using and my framing supplies toolbox. Sitting on top of this replacement piece of glass weíre going to be using which is UV glass. As you can see itís quite faded so weíre going to put on a piece of UV glass. And give it that little bit of extra protection from light that is deteriorating the quality of this image.
So being able to cut glass is a great skill to have. The tools are inexpensive for sure and youíll have a lot of opportunities to use it around the home if youíre a handyperson. You might have broken window panes in your home that you need to replace, you might have a broken mirror that needs to be replaced or reframed or like this a piece of broken artwork.
 Now first up Iíd say you may want to wear gloves. Now Iím going to do this barehanded but I recommend that you wear gloves when you do this. And for sure youíre going to wear your safety glasses.
Although there are a lot of more expensive options the most basic tool you need to do this job is this little thing right here. Iíll show you that. There we go. As you can see, its got a wheel in the end of it made of high carbon steel and thatís what does all the work. These notches right here, theyíre there as holds so you can grab on to a piece of glass and break it off like that. And of course the handle is very nice ergonomic handle and it also has a little ball on the end thatís also used for tapping the glass along the scribe that youíve made in order to ensure a break.
So another tool youíre going to need is the glass cut running pliers, also known as a glazerís pliers or a glass plier. So this is the way it works. As you scribe along the top of the piece of glass you get this underneath it and it levers it together and it separates it along your scribe.
The original piece of glass is considerably smaller than the replacement piece that weíve bought for it. So itís going to need to be cut down. It also has all the corners nipped off of it. Weíll just take a Sharpie and trace it now obviously itís just going to give me a rough outline of where I need to cut.
 OK so in the spirit of measuring twice and cutting once Iím going to take a quick measurement and weíll start measuring. Just take a look at this. And weíll measure this one again of course just take two measurements. So the tracing is good. And Iím going to follow it as my guideline. The first thing Iím going to cut is the short edge because the shorter your run youíre cutting the better off you are.
And weíre going to take a brand new Fletcher glass cutter Ė the gold tip type, with the breaker ball on the end which Iím not sure Iím going to need. Iím going to apply a tiny drop of tenacious oil which is a very, very thick chain oil that is very much similar to gear oil. Say an eighty or ninety weight gear oil, if thatís what youíve got thatís what Iíd recommend. Anyway so thatís just to make sure that the wheel rolls nice and easily across the surface.
Line it up right the first time. There we go. There we go. There we go. OK so Iíve got it lined up to my liking Iíve got the Ė maybe Iíll add one more clamp to hold that in place to make sure it doesnít move when I make my cut.
OK start beyond it, go right up against the ruler which youíre using as a fence, and get started.
[Glass cutting]
And go right to the end and over the edge.
[Glass cutting]
 OK and thatís all there is to it.
OK and then the last thing is to take your cut running pliers and snap the end. You want to line that up right on it right on the cut and then you see it just breaks like magic.
Here we go here we go so we line it up just like that and there you go. You see that? No cuts, nothing to worry about but I recommend that you wear gloves . And then you just give it a little tiny gentle squeeze and as you can see it pops off clean and right into my hand.
This time Iím going to use this much bigger set-square because unfortunately my favorite little steel ruler isnít long enough Ė itís eighteen inches and we need to go across eighteen and a half. And you must score from edge to edge. You cannot start part way down and hope that it all works out OK.  Thatís just not going to happen. And here we go.
[Glass cutting]

Cutting glass with a Fletcher Gold Ball Tip

Now if for whatever reason you canít your hands on a pair of cut running pliers thereís a civilized solution and itís not using your hands or using two pairs or ordinary pliers. OK donít use you hands even with gloves on. And really what you really want to do is just find yourself a block of wood, something like this. And what weíre going to do is weíre going to rip a channel down the middle of it to accommodate the edge of the glass. And Iíll just show you how to do that real quick.
OK you get your fence set up, just lower the saw a little bit.
[Table saw rips]
So of course the channel in my block of wood acts exactly the same way as the channels in this tool. Insert the glass and snap off Ė in this case generally youíre just going to nibble off little bits with this edge of his tool. When you need to make a break and you donít have cut-running pliers then itís a good idea to cut yourself something like this and use it to prevent your hand from coming in contact with it. And this will help you apply even pressure along the whole length of it as opposed to say just where my thumbs are. If that was the glass and I was trying to break it with my hands. Thatís just a recipe for disaster.  Youíre going to end up getting some really severe cuts.
OK weíre going to take this piece of wood that we cut a channel into and weíre going to use it instead of my hand or a pair of pliers or something silly like that to provide nice even pressure across a much larger surface area than my fingers, my hands, another pair of pliers or something would do. Now make sure youíre wearing your safety glasses when you do this and I would still recommend gloves to most people. Then just a little twist of the wrist and it breaks off nice and clean nice and safe. So pop off like that, OK piece of cake and very safe, no contact of course with the glass at all that Iím breaking off, OK.
OK so whatís left are nicking off these corners. So I donít think you need a clamp for this. Just start right there and etch and she popped right off for me. OK so weíll just take a line, take our etcher our glass cutter. Look at that. Now that one again came right off with just the little bit of pressure I was putting on it with the ruler. Alright. And again, nice clean cut. Popped right off. OK thatís snug. Oh yeah, right in. OK Iíll just clean this up both sides, put the artwork back together and weíre all finished.
So what Iíve done is put some tape here to replace all this old tape from the nineteen-seventies that dried up and no longer holding the piece in place. Although art conservatorists will be having heart attacks right now because this is certainly not acid free paper, itís the paper that was in there all along and itís an historical document. Itís a time capsule so Iím going to preserve that time capsule.
And last but not least I have the original nails here but Iím going to replace them with a much more modern and much more convenient solution. Which are these little fellows right here. I call them stars because theyíre kind of star shaped.
Weíre going to use these little staples that are driven in by this interesting little driver right here. You just get in behind them like that and you push them in Ö
Thatís what the staple looks like. As you can see its got raised edges for pushing on.

Installing diamond points with Fletcher push tool

The tool is this thing right here itís made by the Fletcher company again and all you do is you getÖ you load one in like that.
And you want to be very careful not to push down at all because youíre going to shatter the glass. Of course you need to only be pushing parallel to the glass into the wood, not down on the glass at all.
Iím going to try and centre it and then slide it on in like that. Very careful not to push down Ė only to push across. And there it is.
OK as usual my product is by 3M and it is Durapore fabric tape. So just attach that along like that. Like that and then bring it in, make a nice dust cover while still preserving the look of the original picture frame maker.
OK now as you can see in no time flat Iíve been able to restore something that was otherwise relegated to a storage room where it was going to collect dust for the next decade or two before somebody finally got tired of looking at it and threw it out. And that would be a real shame because itís really a beautiful piece of artwork. And now it can go back to its rightful owner and they can enjoy it on their wall for years to come.
OK so I like to put it on a piece of cardboard as you see on top of my workbench. I bring it right to the edge here. Iím going to be cutting across there. Iíll take a steel ruler and also align it perfectly across the edge so I have an exact parallel cut. Iím going to take my gluing clamps and place them across the bottom so that the ruler canít move when Iím etching my line.
OK Iím going to put a drop of tenacious oil on the wheel, every time I use it because itís going to clog up with glass debris and you want it running freely in order to do the cut.
Now listen for this sound, itís critical that you be making the same noise so that you ensure that youíre making a good score across.
[Glass cutting]
Listen for that sound.
 You probably want to wear gloves to do this.
So just line that up.
There we go.

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