I am starting a new series called A Few of My Favorite Things. Periodically, I will write a post about a tool, book or material that I find particularly useful in my glass work.
Today is all about glass cutters. When it comes to glass cutters, my advice is to try several. Find the one that works best for you. When I first started out, it was hard to find a studio that had several different glass cutters for me to try. I ended up buying a variety of cutters from different places. In my search for the perfect cutter I ended up with quite a collection. Now when I have students come for their first stained glass class, I make sure they get to try all the different styles of cutters. Working with the right tool makes such a difference in your success.
My first glass cutter, the one I learned to cut glass with, was a good old fashioned Fletcher Terry. This style of glass cutter has been around forever! It is a traditional cutter that you hold between you index finger and middle finger with your thumb underneath. Beginners sometimes find this method of holding the cutter awkward. I didn’t know any better so I got used to this grip. I still grab my Fletcher Terry once in a while especially if I am going to be cutting a lot of straight long lines pulling the cutter. This cutter is the most economical.
From there I tried an array of different cutters. I tried a pistol grip because it seemed to be so popular. Frankly, I hated it. I felt like I had no control with this cutter. I seems, however, that for people with limited had strength or wrist problems this is a good cutter.
Next I tried a Silberschnitt Easy Grip cutter. This is the most expensive cutter I own. The small cutter wheel head makes it great for cutting intricate pattern shapes. It works especially well if you are cutting using a template. The unique design is comfortable and helps in applying the right amount of pressure. Where it’s not so good is when I’m working with a straight edge cutting straight lines. But if I’m cutting a lot of small pattern pieces, this is my go-to cutter.
Then I tried the Toyo Custom Grip cutter. This is by far my favorite cutter. The unique paddle rests comfortably in the palm of my hand and helps me get just the right amount of pressure on the glass. The length can be adjusted to fit different hand sizes. The design of this cutter allows me to have a lot of control. I use this for 90% of my cutting. Maybe I like it because it is most like the grip I originally learned to cut with, just a whole lot more comfortable. Toyo also makes a pencil grip cutter that I keep around. Students seem to like this one since you hold it like you would a pencil. This makes it a familiar grip. The problem with this is that beginners literally hold it like a pencil which means they are usually tilting it to the right. For a good cut, the cutting wheel needs to be straight up and down. Once students remember to hold the cutter straight, it works well for them.
The bottom line is that a glass cutter is a personal choice. What works best for me may not be best for you. Try as many as you can. But definitely try my favorite the Toyo Custom Grip cutter.