How to Cut Really Thin Strips of Glass

On one of the Facebook Groups that I follow, someone asked about cutting strips of glass thinner than ¼ inch. Not an easy thing to do! I rarely use strips less than ¼ inch. When I need ¼ inch strips, I use the standard method of cutting and breaking in halves. If I just need one or two strips for a piece I use an alternate method that I wrote about in a previous blog post. Less than ¼ inch is a challenge, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try. Here is how I cut a 3/16 inch strip of glass.

First, I cut a strip double the width I wanted. In this case I cut a strip 6/16 of an inch which can easily be broken off with running pliers.

Next, I cut that strip in half. I used a pair of flat pliers and my grozing pliers and placed them on either side of the score close to the bottom of the strip. Using even and gentle pressure I used a slight out and down movement until the glass score started to run. Gentle is the key word here. If it doesn’t start to run, move the pliers down or up along the score and try again. Don’t force it.  

Additionally, I usually keep the far end of the strip resting on my work table and the end I am working on very close to my body. Anchoring my hands close to my body gives me more control. Once the run starts I move the pliers along the run line in small increments and repeat the bending motion until the run goes the length of strip.

Some other tips that will help:

  • Make sure the glass is clean to get the best possible score.
  • Keep the cutter head perpendicular to the glass. If the cutter is leaning left or right the score will as well making it harder to get a clean break.
  • Make sure the glass is not cold. My father, who was a trained stained glass craftsman in Europe, would debate that. But I find it to be true.

These strips are 3/16″ by 19 inches. I can tell you I would not want to cut a lot of these. It takes time and patience.

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