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Thread: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

  1. #1

    Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    For glazing to be put in a frame...

    I wouldn't have access to a wall mounted cutter like frame shops have but would just be using a cheap hand cutter from amazon and a straight edge.

    Is there a learning curve? Do I need to sand the edges? (they will be covered by face of frame)

    Will I wreck a few? (need to get 10 good ones) i think the glass comes in sheets of 18 x 24 and I need to make two cuts to make each piece exactly 17 x 22.

    I've done scoring and snapping before with acrylic but never glass.

  2. #2
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    sanding is always good; prevents cutting your fingers.

    don't buy a cheap hand cutter, but a better one (for a few dollars more), preferably with a little oil reservoir so you get an oil fed wheel

    tip: put the glass on a perfectly straight base when cutting
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    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    Tin Can

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    A stroke or two across each sharp edge of glass with a fairly coarse whetstone is enough to make the glass safe to handle. A cheap whetstone seems to last forever in this use.

  5. #5

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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    I'd practice on some cheap glass first. If you are talking about that expensive museum glass it might be better to just pay a frame shop to cut it for you. Messing up one large sheet will cost you. I've never gotten that good at cutting large pieces of glass so just get mine from the local frame shop.

  6. #6
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Pere View Post
    I'd practice on some cheap glass first. If you are talking about that expensive museum glass it might be better to just pay a frame shop to cut it for you. Messing up one large sheet will cost you. I've never gotten that good at cutting large pieces of glass so just get mine from the local frame shop.
    I agree with this, I have a wall mounted unit and with the price of good quality glass you may want to just ask a local framer to cut you a piece.. We use AR70 glass here for all shows and its a very good glass IMO>

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    Sanding 'strengthens' the glass -- actually just reduces the possibility of the glass breaking (I believe it is harder for cracks to form on a sanded edge vs. not-sanded.) And handling/storing sanded glass is much easier.

    Cutting the 1" strip off of one side will give you some issues...especially as a first-timer. The two inch strip will be easier to snap off. I suggest cutting off the two-inch strip first to make the one-inch strip shorter.

    I like the suggestion of practicing on some window glass -- especially cutting one inch strips. If it seems to be working for you, then hit the expensive stuff -- otherwise punt and head off to a framer.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    Gotta know what kind of glass you're dealing with. Coated "museum glass" is a lot like tempered glass. You need an entirely different cutting wheel on your machine, and perhaps a different lubricant as well. You're not going to find that at your local hardware store. Simple "picture glass" is a different kind of product and basically just thin pre-cleaned ordinary "float glass", which can be cut by hand after some practice. But I do everything on a big wall mounted Fletcher dual-rail machine. Having the right variety sharp cutting wheels and cutting fluid on hand is crucial. A pair of true "glass pliers" is also highly advisable, especially for removing narrow sections; Fletcher plastic jaw ones are good. Remember safety glasses too.

    Yes, you'll wreck a few in the learning curve, probably all of them. Might be better to pay a real glass shop to do it, or trade em a picture.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 26-Jul-2022 at 11:46.

  9. #9

    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    Thanks Everyone. I'm waiting to hear back on a quote from a local frame shop. But like Jay Z said, 'I may do it myself I'm so Brooklyn'.

    Ron – i was thinking the lubricant ones but the ones I saw online were still around 20 bucks. Tin Can – I watched that video before posting my question. Vaughn - TY that's super helpful.
    Drew it's Museum Glass, 2.5mm made by TruView, thanks for the glass plier tip.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Any advice on cutting your own museum glass?

    You can buy little bottles of water-rinsable lube, or even make your own. DON'T use ordinary solvent-style lubes of any variety - they can mess with the coating on museum glass. And no need for a fancy cutter with a feed tube. Just a little drop on the cutter wheel itself will do. The correct scoring wheels have a more acute or pointing rim than the kind for ordinary window glass. You might have to go to an industrial supplier like McMaster Carr to find one. Their number for cutter : 4977N11 ($4.85), or better 3867A21 ($21.96); pliers 5628A71 ($27.26). Impressa 4 oz glass cutting fluid ($11.99 on Amazon).

    It's tricky working with a handheld cutter for that kind of glass. Remember, you're just trying to consistently break the surface tension with a light even score, and not dig in deep with the cutter. It's not like scoring plastic. I was taught by the best, a former Nasa optical engineer who could take a sixteenth-inch strip off a 4 ft wide sheet of glass as a single piece, unbroken! That was via machine scoring, or course, but still... One of the secrets is a cutter which is not dull, and the use of fluid, and never too much pressure.

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