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Mosaic Tile / Stained Glass

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#1 mityeltu



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Posted 03 February 2019 - 07:53 AM

My wife and I are starting a new hobby. She wants to try stained glass, so I went and picked up the stuff we need. I have been tinkering with all this to see if I can even really do this. I have some old pane glass from an outside lamp post and have been cutting that with some success. The edged keep chipping when I run the cutter off the edge, but I’m attributing that to the type of glass. If I’m wrong, please correct me, it could just as easily be my technique.

Here’s the question:

I was watching a video on using these wheeled nippers. I don’t have any of those and was wondering what they were and how to use them. The videos all say about the same thing. They use the nippers on mosaic tiles. So, are mosaic tiles the same thing as stained glass or are mosaic tiles something different/special?


Thanks for the help.


#2 FantasyStainedGlass



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Posted 03 February 2019 - 10:49 AM

OK, some mosaic use stained glass and some use tiles (like in your shower or bathroom) or plates/cups/china/porcelain broken up into smaller pieces.  And yes, there is a difference in the type of cutters used for each.  It sounds like you are describing tile nippers and no they do not work on stained glass, they will break it, but not what you want to do.  They are designed for nipping tiles.  If you need a pair of these, let me know, I have a pair I do not use and can send them to you for cost of the postage only.

#3 mityeltu



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Posted 04 February 2019 - 06:18 AM

Thank you for the info and thank you for the offer. That’s really very kind. At this point, I’m still just trying to get my technique for cutting decent straight lines on stained glass. The nippers I was looking at are like these (https://www.youtube....h?v=MZsSpxz_4I4). I was not sure if this was regular stained glass or something special, but I thought it would be great to make such small cuts I might give them a whirl. I’m glad I didn’t try to use them. Thanks again.

#4 John



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Posted 04 February 2019 - 07:20 AM

Mityeltu, welcome to this forum. 


The nippers shown in the video can be used with stained glass.  They are sold in most large building supply stores for around $10. While they are handy working with mosaics, they are not a tool I would use while cutting for a regular stained glass project.  If you closely at the pieces of glass after she cut them in the video you referenced above, you will notice the pieces are not uniform.  The triangles do not go from corner to corner, the squares are not square, ... .  With mosaics your pieces do not meet & the gap between them are filled in with grout or similar material.  This means the irregularity in the pieces she cut can be blended in with ease. 


This is not true with stained glass where the edges meet either in the slots of the came or after foiling to allow for nice clean lead lines.  For stained glass work, you will want to use your glass cutter to score the glass and then one of many ways to run the score:

- Hand break

- Flipping the scored glass over & pressing down on the score line

- Running pliers

- Grozing/Breaking combination pliers

- Breaking pliers

- Morton Safety Break system

- Placing a small object under the score line as a fulcrum & pressing down on each side of the score to run the score.

- If using a Morton surface or Waffle grids, on a side without the inter locking pins, you can position straight score lines  close to the edge & use the edge as your fulcrum holding the glass to the grid & pressing down on the portion off the grid

- As a last resort there is tapping under the score line to run it. There is debate that tapping can cause sideways fissures in the glass along the score line which  later down the road due to thermo-expansion cause the glass to break.


As to the chipping when running the cutter off the glass, unless you are pressing too hard while scoring the chipping should be minimal & will be hidden in the came or by the foil/solder line.  Another option is to stop the score at the edge of the glass not going off the edge.


Let us know how you are progressing.



#5 mityeltu



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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:37 AM


Thank you for the info. I wasn’t really paying that close attention to the result of the small cuts she was making. From my own experience, none of my cuts are that great, so it just seemed normal to me. I don’t have a grinder yet, so all my pieces are done by hand with a carborundum (sp?) stone. Takes a while to make them get into shape, but this is a hobby and not a money-making production kind of thing. My wife hasn’t even tried it yet. I’m trying to get “proficient” so I can help her when she gets started.

I’ll try to get my pressure a little lighter and see what happens. I’ll also try stopping just at the edge and see if it works better for me. The chipping is small, but makes for a longer grind time with the stone. If I can find a way to avoid it, it’d be great.

I have noticed a couple of things on some of my small “projects” (it’s really nothing more than my pane glass cut into strips or squares and soldered up just to increase my proficiency) that bother me a little. Perhaps you kind folks can give me some advice:

After soldering I’ve noticed the edges of my foil “leak” the adhesive from the back of the foil. It comes out as all over the place and is difficult to get off the glass as it just kind of smears all over. Is this normal?

I’ve also noticed that the edges of some of the pieces that I tinned start to peel away from the glass. I guess I can fix that by making the edges more beaded like the seams, but that’s hard to do at the edges without making a terrible mess (at least for me). Is there something I should do differently? I’m using 7/32 foil from Studio Pro and Old Masters liquid flux (which has terrible fumes when I put the solder on). Also, I don’t have any flux neutralizer and just wash the pieces with soap and water after they’ve cooled.

Any advice?

#6 John



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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:16 PM



Let' start with cutting the glass: 

   -  You have to allow for the 1/2" the width of the cutter head when measuring for strips using a straight edge as the wheel is in the center of the head.

   -  When using a straight edge, stand to the side with the arm holding the cutter in line with the straight edge & pull the cutter towards you.  (If the straight edge is in front of you, as your elbow goes sideways around your body the cutter will follow it & try to curve away from the straight edge. A BIG no-no!)

   -  When tracing pattern pieces, push the cutter using the groove the cutter's wheel is located in as a sight & make it follow the edge of the line facing the piece you are wanting.  After running the score you should have almost no line on the piece you are wanting & almost no unmarked glass on the edge of the piece left over.  This will eliminate almost all of the grinding. 

   -  There is lots more to say about cutting glass but this should get you started. 


Applying flux, whether using liquid or gel flux things to remember:

   -  Cut off 1/2 of the bristles of your flux brush.  This will help to control the amount of flux you apply.

   -  You only need a light coat of flux on the foil.  This will help to cut down on the amount of fumes.  If applied heavy it will sputter/boil out of the seams making it harder to get a nice solder line.



   -  If you are struggling with getting a nice solder line & have to go over it numerous times, the adhesive can work out from under the foil.  The key is to learn to solder efficiently limiting the time spent.  There are several videos on YOUTUBE covering soldering.

   -  Reapply flux before going back over solder lines .

   -  When soldering the edge, yes you want it to have a bead.  Hold your project on edge with the edge you are applying the solder to  horizontal to prevent the solder from dripping or running down hill.  Rotate the project as you go to keep the edge being worked on horizontal.



   -  If you have a nice bead on all the foil including the edges, you can use a small brush such as nail brush to clean the flux off.  If using dish soap & water, you can add a little baking soda which is a base to neutralize the acid of the flux.

   -  Apply a polish to help control oxidation.  (Carnauba car wax, furniture polish, ...)


Getting a glass grinder should be high on your list.  Working without one can take some of the fun out of working with stained glass. Check Craigslist & some art glass stores have a consignment area & may have used ones for around $50.


Keep us updated.



#7 Boris_USA



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Posted 13 February 2019 - 09:18 PM

A lot of the quality and the ease of cutting is the quality of the glass cutter. Get a real good glass cutter, like a TOYO and a decent set of running pliers. Will save you a lot of headaches.

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