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How To Cut Glass & Mirror

How to Use a Glass Cutter

Necessary Reading:


There are all kinds of glass cutters and we believe that it depends particularly on what you feel comfortable with.  We use Fletcher Carbides and Oil Cutters, pending on the job and the type of glass.  The hone on the cutting wheel is what makes the cut.


If you do not have the time or money to buy all types to try, then we suggest the

Fletcher Gold Tip for those one time jobs you might have.  They normally cost about four or five dollars


There are only a few must keep rules to maintain your cutter.

DO NOT cut the same “scribe” twice and try not to drop your cutter on a concrete floor.


A “scribe“:

Is the cut that your cutter makes on the glass.  You can hear a scribe being made.  This is a good way to know that you are doing it right, by listening to the scribe.

If it skips, you should be able to hear it miss.  If it does skip, you will not want to go back and make the entire stroke again.  Just place your cutter right (more on this as we go), and only scribe where it skipped.  Running your cutter over the same scribe even once can destroy a cheap cutter. Running your cutter over the same scribe a number of times can even destroy a good cutter.

There is a lot of attention that needs to be spent on the art of using a cutter and listening to the scribe.  When you get better, you will pay more attention to the “feel” of the cutter and you will know the feel of the pressure you put on the cutter.  Even an old glazier will depend as much on listening to the scribe as he does the feel of the pressure on his cutter.


By looking at the picture below,



you will see how your index finger “manages” the pressure you put down on the cutter that will control the scribe.  Your middle finger will have a sideway pressure to keep your cutter up against the square/or straight edge for guidance.  Even if you are trying to freehand a cut, holding your middle finger like this will help keep your cutter going the direction you want your cut to go in.  We have found over the years that this way of holding the cutter always works, and works better in most cases.

At times, when we cut off the rack on the truck or free handing a 2″ or 3″ cut, we will use the tip of our ring finger or little finger to run down the edge of the glass, using that hold as a basic straight edge for our free handed cut.


If you put too much pressure you will get a “white scribe” that will often be to “HOT” to complete a good break.  To recognize a HOT CUT: Make a scribe on the glass, then look at the scribe.  If you see that it pops little fragments of glass chips off of it, that’s what we call a HOT CUT so lighten your pressure.  The thicker the glass the harder it is to pull (break) your cut.  Under most circumstances, you do not want a HOT CUT.


The point of attention should be given to putting “JUST” enough pressure to make the scribe.  You should use a piece of trash glass to practice with.  If you are using window glass to practice with, just put your square on the glass for cutting off 1″.  Make a bunch of scribes until you get use to the pressure you need to make a clean scribe.


We will be adding to this information as time allows us.



For Drilling Holes for Electric Outlets:

You will have to have a tripod drill with a 2″ Diamond Bit Drill,

or go to someone who does.




Necessary Reading: *A SCRIBE is the CUT MARK the glass cutter makes.*

There is more than one way to skin a catfish, and many ways to cut glass.

This is a brief description of “How We Do It”; hopefully it will help you have an idea as to

what it takes and improve your outcome while working on your own project.

There will be many things you will learn as you go about the task of cutting, but one of the most

important things to learn is the pressure you put on the cutter while scribing.  With a new cutter,

it does not take much pressure to see the scribe you are making.  If you lighten the pressure and the

cutter SKIPS…you will go back and scribe ONLY the section of space where there is no scribe.

Running your cutter over THE SAME scribe more than once will damage your cutter and often

it will not be useable after that without skipping each time you use it.  If you have trouble keeping

the same pressure on the cutter, you can dip your cutter in oil or spray WD-40 where you will be cutting.

This will cool your cut but it makes it harder to see where you have skipped while scribing. 


If you practice with a Bevel Mirror Strip, you can cut 2″ off at a time. 

Any less will be hard to break and will often make flares on the end of the Mirror Strip.


(note: how to cut glass, how to cut mirror, how to cut beveled mirror strips, all fall under the same

question, HOW TO CUT GLASS, OR HOW TO CUT MIRROR.  It is all glass.  Cutting mirror

is done on the face side and the procedure is the same as cutting glass. glass mirror is the same)



We will start here as if you have already measured your walls (or mirror for frame)

and have the SIZE you need the bevel strips to be. 

How we hold our cutters

holding the cutter

1. Put the Mirror Strip on a flat surface (preferably a thin carpeted table) and

measure from one end to the length that you need to cut AND MARK IT

with felt marker.  It is best to make one “thin” mark.  You will want to split that

mark with your cutter when you cut.



2. Put the Speed Square up on the Mirror Strip, now put your cutter

on the middle of the mark that you made, then slide your Square over

to touch your cutter.  Note: Your Speed Square will be approximately 3/32″

from the mark you made.  That is due as to where the wheel is on the cutter

and the edge of the cutter.  Having the lip on the square up against the

Mirror Strip will guide you through a straight and square cut.


3. Gently (without pressure) roll the cutter slowly away from you to the far side

of the Mirror Strip, and when you feel the cutter rolling off the far edge of the

Mirror Strip, roll the cutter back to you until it is on the very top edge of the

Mirror Strip (this is the starting position of making a scribe).


4. NOW, apply pressure on the cutter (also pressure against the square) and

roll it toward you all the way until it comes off the Mirror Strip.  Be sure to keep

your cutter up against the square.

This should have made a scribe on the Mirror Strip.



5. Put a round wooden pencil under the Mirror Strip exactly under the scribe. 

Use a pencil that is longer than the width of the mirror so that it reaches under

the entire scribe.



6. Apply pressure with both hands to the top of the Mirror Strip evenly away

from the scribe on both sides (at least 2″ away from scribe). 

With the pencil under the Mirror Strip this will snap the Mirror Strip where

you scribed it. 




1. Take the 220 grit Sandpaper and sand both ends, front and back. 

If you have the Mirror Strip laying on the table with one end hanging off the

table edge (appx. 2″ or 3″) make the motion of your sanding go down. 

Flip the Mirror Strip over and sand the back side with your sanding motion

going down.  If you flip the mirror and have the mirror back on top, you have to

sand down.  If your sanding motion goes up, it will cause a chipping effect on

the mirror backing.  Same for the top side of Mirror Strip. 

Going in the wrong direction will cause little chips on the strip that will shine

in the light and leave an unwanted look on your mirror.


(A) If you are putting your Mirror Strips directly on a wall (sheet rock or panel)

you are now ready to put Mirror Mastic on the back of the Mirror Strip to stick it

on the wall.

    1a.  Apply a “Dab” of Mirror Mastic about the size of a quarter and appx. 3/8″ thick.

           We usually go with Four Dabs on short strips and on long strips we Dab about

           12″ apart for the length of the strip.  Then (with Level if required) line the

           Mirror Strip up where you are mounting it to the wall and press it on.  Try to

           put the pressure you use at the point where you Dabed the Mirror Mastic.

           You need to press in until the strip is about 1/8″ from the wall.

Note: This is for mounting full length Mirror Strips that go down to rest on the

           floor mold or at least resting on something such as back splashes.

           The Mirror Mastic takes a few days to cure and WILL NOT hold the

           Mirror Strip suspended on the wall.


(B) If you are putting your Mirror Strips on a Mirror as a frame, you are now ready

to put Two Way Tape and Silicone on the Mirror Strip to stick it to the Mirror.

    1a. Cut the Two Way Tape 2″ long and apply side ways to the back of the strip.

           We apply five pieces of tape to small strips or about 10″ apart on long strips.

           Pull off the paper from the Two Way Tape then apply small spots of Silicone

           between each piece of tape your have applied.

    2a. You have to line up exactly where you are going to stick the Mirror Strip to

           mirror for frame.  Once you place the Mirror Strip on the mirror, you will not be

           able to move it.  So be sure to line it up EXACTLY where you want it before you

           let it touch the mirror. 

Note: You can put the tape on the back of the mirror…don’t take the paper

           off, line it up (with Level if required) where you want it and make a

           mark with your FELT MARKER for a placement guide.



           We hope this helped and we will be working on this page to make the

        instructions more user friendly.  If you have questions, please feel free to

                                                         ASK A GLAZIER


God Speed and Stay Cool

Old Glazier