Cutting Circles

Cutting circles takes time and patience and of course the right tool. You can attempt to cut one by hand, but it takes lots of time and practice to achieve this technique.

If you want a professional and smooth look, you will need a circle cutter and a little practice.

If correctly performed, these cuts will not require grinding, and are really easy to accomplish. There are many different and unique circle cutters.

Please see tools and supplies section to find out what is a circle cutter.

Safety First - Eye protection

First and utmost always wear eye protection. Glass usually breaks clean, but it only takes one little piece to damage your vision or permanently cause blindness. Purchase eye goggles and wear them religiously.

Cutting Circles

As with the basic glass cutting instructions, clean the glass first before scoring. This will extend the life of your cutter.

Start with a square sheet. Decide what size circle you are going to be cutting and be sure your glass has about 1/2 inch clearance on all sides from the size of you circle. Now practices the rotation of the cutter-arm to ensure that its path is free of obstructions and that you have enough glass to proceed.

Once you have the circle-cutter properly positioned, mark the center for future reference. This can come in handy later if your cutter slips. If you are having trouble with the suction cup slipping, try placing some double stick tape under the suction cup during cutting.

Oil the cutter-head before scoring. You can use a cutter oil-soaked cloth placed in a jar lid, or an oil reservoir. A good trick is to put a small paint brush with cutting oil or kerosene under the cutting wheel. Run the cutting wheel around and paint the glass before you cut it. This will also let you know if there is anything in the way of your cutter arm.

Now rotate the cutter-arm, be sure to score your glass 360 degrees in a smooth motion with even pressure. Score using moderate pressure. You should hear the scratching noise as you move the cutter. Remove the circle-cutter.

Holding your glass carefully, turn the sheet over on to a cushioned surface, like a towel. Your score side should now be down. With your thumb press down gently all the way around the back of the score line to fully run the score. If your glass is transparent, you can see the score line running.

Smaller circles require a little more pressure, because the glass doesn't give as easily. Try to run your score line all the way around your circle. Do this until you are satisfied that your run goes all the way around your circle.

Turn your glass back to the original side, being careful not to drop your circle out of the glass. Your score line should be facing up.

The next step is to make some relief score lines in the four corners of your glass. In each of the four corners you are going to score from the circle to the edge of the glass. Do not lift your glass as you rotate it on your surface.

Run each of your relief scores using a method or tool that you are comfortable with. Sometimes you will need two relief scores in each corner to release the tension. Tapping along the score lines can also make them run. Tapping out circles is slow work, take your time.

As your relief scores are run, the edges should fall away from the circle. Your circle edges should be clean and smooth.

Cutting circles takes time, patience and practice. Hopefully with these written instructions cutting circles will become part of your fusing experience.

For a visual of how to do this method, watch the following video. This video can be located at Creative Glass Guild - Cutting Circles

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