Cold working is any process that changes glass in its natural or room temperature state. These procedures could include sandblasting, grinding, sanding, drilling, cutting, engraving or polishing the glass. Usually this is done when the glass is at room temperature during the preparation or finishing stages of your glass fusing process.
It involves shaping and cleaning up pieces either before firing or after they have been fused inside a kiln. The glass needs to be at room temperature to attempt these methods.
Some of the preparation involves getting the pieces of glass to the shape or design preferred before firing. This could involve cutting figures into the glass to obtain a certain pattern, or engraving a pattern into a dichroic piece.
Some of the finishing processes might entail grinding sharp edges or misshaped pieces. It could also require drilling holes into a piece to add a bail.
Below is listed alphabetically some of the cold working methods. A brief description of each process is added for clarification of the procedure.
Cutting - Cutting glass can be accomplished by hand or by using a glass saw. Patterns can be drawn on the glass or the design can be cut freehand. Cutting oil is used for the hand cutter, while water is necessary when using a glass saw.
Drilling - When drilling a hole in glass it is necessary to use a diamond drill bit and water to keep the bit and glass cool. This can be done after the glass is fused, but some individuals prefer to drill holes before fusing. Once the hole has been drilled it is customary to add a pinch bail to the piece to turn it into a pendant.
Engraving - Glass can be engraved after fusing to add details to the piece or for signing a piece of art. The piece can also be engraved before fusing if the image is placed on dichroic glass. Clear glass will naturally lose the image during the fusing process.
Grinding - Grinding glass can be done either before fusing to obtain a certain shape or design or after fusing to clean up any undesired edges. Clean the area and fuse the piece to a polish stage to clean up the sides.
Polishing - Use polishing creams, grinder and polishing pads to remove any residue from finished pieces. Glass can also be fire polished inside a kiln.
Sandblasting - Glass can be sandblasted to add a design or pattern to a piece. This is usually done after fusing so that the design will be retained in the glass.
Sanding - Diamond pads are fantastic for sanding sharp edges off of glass. The abrasive surface can be used wet or dry for working on glass.
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