How to Do Glass Lathe Cutting

What You'll Need
Glass lathe
Glass pieces

Using a lathe is a traditional art form, and even something as beautiful and delicate as glass lathe turning can be produced in your own home by a keen hobbyist. If you would like to try glass turning for yourself, then you will be best served by taking a course at your local college, or even being trained by a professional. However, you may also want just to cut down a few pieces of glass to fit into a woodworking project. For whatever purpose you need to cut the glass, you will still want to make the cuts using a specific glass working lathe, as the blades on stone and wood lathes are too tough, and will chip the glass rather than cutting it.

Step 1 - Prepare the Glass

Before you start cutting the glass in the lathe, you will need to make sure that it is completely clean. Wipe over the surface with a little liquid soap, and then wipe in a circular motion using a clean dish cloth. This will help you to ensure that you are only cutting glass, rather than being led off course by a small piece of dirt on the edge of the glass. You should also make sure that the piece of glass that you will be using is perfectly smooth at the edges, as you don't want to risk cutting yourself.

Step 2 - Make the First Cut

Make the first cut by holding the glass in the chuck jaw, and positioning the blade directly over the part you intend to cut. You may have a design which you can use to make the first cuts, or you may be cutting just to experiment. When you make that first incision into the glass, ensure that it is held securely, and then place the edge of the glass against the blade before you operate the lathe. The blade should be just touching the glass. You can then turn the blade on, and make the first cut.

Step 3 - Make the Second Cut

Now, you will need to make a second cut with the tool. If you were cutting out a piece of glass from a large sheet, you would need to turn at an angle in order to cut the next line. You can practice this by turning the glass slowly in the chuck, so that you are rotating the area where the blade is cutting. As the blade travels forward, it will then start to cut along a different path.

Step 4 - Cutting Patterned Glass

In order to make the glass patterned, it is a good idea to get hold of a design, which will help you to make the first cuts on your glass. Learn the techniques for cutting marks in glass fully before you start on a more complicated piece, but then you can continue until you get the results that you need.