FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


Joan Bengston: On the subject of grinder bits, I have had grinders with both the 1" and the 3/4" bits. Either one is fine although I think the 1" cuts a little faster because of its larger circumference running the same speed. My grinder also has a platform for the 1/4" bit and I have an aquarium pump drip that can easily be toggled between the sponges on either level. There are coarse abrasive bits that are available to cut faster, but they chip the edges more. That being the tradeoff, I will stay with the regular bit.
Dick Watson: Whilst using the 1/4” grinding head on the top of the grinder shaft, I found that it gradually worked loose in the brass body, despite attempts to tighten it with pliers. I successfully solved this problem by wrapping a few turns of white plumbers thread tape around the thread on the grinding head.
Nancy Pimental: The Inland Drop On Bit takes care of having to purchase an extra grinder just so you can move quickly from one grinder with a speed bit to another with a regular bit. Lubricate the grinder’s shaft slightly before putting it on, but once the adapter is in place, it takes only a few seconds to switch from regular grit to speed grit.

Walt Boepple: I move my glass in all directions when grinding but there is a natural
way that it is easier using the torque of the bit. The pressure that I put onto my fingers changes as I move the glass into the bit knowing which way the glass is going to be pulled when it touches. Most of the time, I move from right to left since the bit is turning counterclockwise.
Barb Grollo: I read in an article on grinding that the "correct" way to grind, is to move the glass from the right side of the grinder to the left side, "never" back and forth. It states since the head rotates counter clockwise, you should move your glass into it, not with the rotation. In this article, they guaranteed less chipping using this method.

Barb Grollo: For my last lamp, I cut pattern pieces for all three repeats of the Peony, 25
and cut quite a few pieces, then would take a break and grind them right up to the pattern. Then I'd soak off the pattern, clean the glass and mark the pattern number on the glass (itsy, bitsy mark, so as not to interfere with foiling) After that, I placed them on the glass easel and continued. When I finished the three repeats on easels, I started placing the glass on the mold and just had to do some "fine-tuning" with the grinding.
Jennifer Buckner: I cut the pattern through the middle of the black line, but then try to cut the glass right on the line. However, when I'm grinding, I grind so that, when the glass piece is lying on the layout copy, you can see at least half the thickness of the pattern line all around the outside of the glass. This is where my pins come in - I hold each piece of glass in place on the layout board with the same pins I'd use on a Worden mold. I stick them down into the cork (under the layout pattern) just enough to keep them upright, but not deeply enough to make them difficult to remove. This way, I'm assured of having a tiny space between each piece. When the grinding is completely finished I have (ideally) black lines between all the pieces. This leaves enough room for the foil (usually 3/16 or 7/32) and a tiny bit of solder to run through, giving the final project some strength without having excessively thick lines.
Marie Jo Murray: I cut all the glass for the entire lamp then grind...clean the pieces a bit, and with the pattern on the pieces, put them on my mold. When I am ready to foil, I take the pattern off, clean the piece of glass better, foil it and put it back on the mold...( I found out it was saving time by writing all the pattern numbers on the mold) Very few pieces need " fine grinding" because I try to do my best the first time.

Karie Gregory: To protect your fingers from being cut up while grinding, use rubber fingers that office personnel use for handling paper. They come in different
sizes and are remarkably durable considering their pliability. Of course there is a minor compromise in dexterity, but no more than with taped-up fingers.

Mary Ritter: Drilling a hole in glass is easy. Just hold it on the top of your 1/8” or 1/4” grinder head and grind through. Be sure to keep a wet sponge up against the head and resist the urge to stop and peek to see how it’s coming, because it’s hard to get the glass back into the exact position.
SB Anthony: I drill glass successfully with a diamond-tipped drill. Use anything from plasticine to plumbers putty to make a dam around the potential hole. Pour in some water and then drill, using a push-then-backoff motion. To avoid chipping when the drill finally breaks through, either ease up on the pressure when you get near the end or turn it over and finish drilling through from the backside.

Hap Webb: I line my grinder water reservoir with plastic wrap. This way it’s easier for me to lift that sludge out and dump it into the trash.
Joan Bengtson: Instead of cleaning the reservoir of the grinder in a sink, I make sure the solids have settled to the bottom before carefully draining off the water....just until the sludge begins to get disturbed. Then I scrape the sludge onto a section of newspaper and throw it away. By doing this, I keep the drain pipes clear of glass grindings that might cause blockage.

Kevin Hendon:Picture this, everyone! Both feet on the top of the G8 grinder holding channel locks and trying to pry off the bit and, at the same time, yelling at it! Well, I 26
did manage to get the bit off but in the process I bent the shaft. Oh, it still grinds, but I need a seat belt to use it. I learned my lesson and have to be more careful to maintain the bit on my new grinder.
Jim Clark: Been there - done that. Now I use graphite lubricant on the shaft. It’s a lot less expensive, plus, one doesn’t have to take high blood pressure meds. Recently, a lady brought an old grinder into our shop, and a friend used a wheel puller to remove the bit. I had trouble getting a new bit on, so I wet the shaft, turned the grinder on and then used a little fine grit water sandpaper on it. It really cleaned up the shaft.
SB Anthony: The product I use came with my grinder and is called Permatex Anti-Sieze. It has worked well for me. Years ago I bought some (under another name) at a hardware store.
Hap Webb wrote: “To keep the bit from freezing up, I just use a little Vaseline on the shaft. Works great!”
Jennifer Buckner: If you have trouble with bits getting stuck, try coating the grinder shaft with a thin layer of silicon.

Carl Chapman:I try to cut accurately, but am not ashamed to let the grinder do some work on difficult curves. One thing that I do that helps avoid finger cuts, is to make a light pass with the grinder over the piece to take off any nasty burrs, then, if I have to press hard to get to my line, there is less chance of getting cut.

Marcia Holtzclaw: I found that it helps a lot to draw a line around the base of the grinder bit with a black magic marker. It was then easy to raise the bit just high enough
to grind a piece of glass and not waste any of the surface.

Joan Bengtson: Taurus has two sizes of blades, but when you purchase the saw, it comes fitted with the larger blade. The plastic grommets and guides on the Taurus have to be adjusted for the least amount of flex in the blade. You have to be careful not to push too hard on the blade - let it cut with the minimal amount of pressure. It’s the constant flexing that hardens and breaks the blades. The company recommends cutting at a 45 degree angle to the blade - left or right - and only minimal use straight on. If possible, do not pull against the back of the blade.
Lynn Salcetti: For those of you who use the Taurus II, here are some helpful tips that I received from the Gemini Company: If you live in an area that has hard water, add up to half a cup of vinegar to the waterbath to eliminate calcium buildup and increase bearing life. Add a couple of drops of detergent to the water to keep your saw running smoothly. Empty the waterbath after a day’s use. (This is not absolutely necessary, but it helps the life of the parts if the water is changed frequently.) Add ice to the left side of the waterbath.
Clean the saw on a regular basis by adding a liberal amount of detergent to the water and let the saw run for a few minutes. Rinse well.

Lois Myers: To preserve lines when using a saw to cut your glass, draw out your cut lines on the glass with a permanent marker. Let the ink line dry and then go over the line with Chapstick! The Chapstick works well and is so clean and easy to use compared to Vaseline or Markstay.
Walt Boepple: As I was trying to glue pattern pieces onto glass, I spotted a bottle 27
of rubber cement on my work bench. I took a liberal dip with the brush and put it all over the edge of a pattern piece and the glass. It really worked well! The rubber cement formed enough of a dam to stop most of the saw’s water from lifting the pattern from the glass and yet it didn’t plug up the saw.
David Crawcour: When using a bandsaw, the line drawn around a template is washed away by the coolant and so the cutting line is lost. What I have found to alleviate the ensuing frustration is, after marking the glass, cover it with a good quality of transparent tape. The one I use is described as thick, strong, waterproof, tough polyethylene tape. It is easy to remove after the cutting operation.”
Susan Slack: I use a product called Mark-stay to keep lines on my glass when using the saw and/or the grinder. It comes in a small jar and costs about $4.

Walt Makos: By adapting a Sears Craftsman 1/3 HP band saw, I saved the cost of a glass ring saw. After installing a 54” diamond blade and a ground fault interrupter (to eliminate any electrical hazard), I set up a drip system to keep the blade wet and then I placed the saw in a plastic container to help eliminate splashing water. If you plan to try this adaptation, make sure that the blade you buy is compatible with this saw.