A good score should look like a hair on the glass; a string is too heavy. Also, a good score has no breaks or gaps in it.
Heavy pressure is not required and in fact can cause a poor break of the glass.
CUTTING: Hold the cutter as you would a pen or pencil. Don't tilt from side to side, but keep the wheel perpendicular to the piece of glass. Drag your hand as you score to control the motion. Steering is from the elbow/shoulder, your wrist should remain motionless. Stand rather than sit while cutting.
You can either push or pull the cutter. To cut straight lines pull; for shaped pieces push so that you can see where the pattern lines are located.
Always score the glass on the shiniest or smoothest side.
Make only one score at a time. Break the glass, then make the next score.
Avoid running your score lines less than 1/2" from the side of the glass.
NEVER back up or re-score the same line.
ALWAYS number your glass pieces.
Inside Curves or Tapered Cuts
Score inside curves first
Score outside curve, pinch tip of glass while breaking with running pliers
Make a series of scores parallel to original pattern line, 1/8" - 1/4" apart.
Using Breaker/Grozers, break out parallel scores one at a time working toward the pattern line.
Two Fisted Grip - with hands in tight fists, place fingers together on bottom side of glass, with score line running between fingers. Place thumbs on top surface of glass, slightly apart, one on each side of the score. Press down with your thumbs, and up with your fingers to snap the glass along the score line.
Running Pliers - have a curved jaw that allows for more control when making long or more difficult breaks. Line up score with indicator line on the upper jaw, placing pliers 1/4" to 1/2" over the glass edge. Gently clamp down on the glass. Turn the set screw until you feel it just touch the glass, then back off the set screw slightly and squeeze.
Breaker/Grozer Pliers - are used for removing pieces of glass too small for hands or running pliers. They have a curved lower jaw and a flat upper jaw, both with serrated inner surface. Place the pliers approximately 1/16" in from the glass, parallel to the score line, with the flat jaw on top. Use your other hand while applying the two fisted grip (described earlier) and bend pliers down and away from the score.
Grozing - is the removal of flares, nibs and small pieces from the glass edge. Using one hand to hang onto the glass, roll the serrated surface of the Breaker/Grozer Pliers over the edge, removing unwanted glass. Grozing allows you to clean the glass edge for safer handling and easier foiling, as well as a better fit.
Grinders - many types of grinders are available for quick and accurate trimming of cut pieces
Foil comes in assorted widths, thickness and backing colors such as silver, black, or copper backed. selection depends on glass type and any effects you may be looking for.
Beginners should start with the easy to handle 7/32", 1.5 ml thick foil.
Peel back 2-3" of backing from the foil, hold glass with the edge toward you, and apply foil to glass so that it extends evenly over both sides of the glass. Crimp (fold) over edges making sure to fold corners neat and flat.
Burnish foil using fid or similar tool. Press foil flat against glass on the outside edge first, then both sides of the glass. Don't scrub as you may rip the foil.
Lay foiled piece over corresponding piece on working pattern.
No eating, drinking, or smoking while handling lead or solder! Pregnant or lactating women should avoid all soldering.
SOLDERING TYPES: Solder is a mix of tin and lead in different proportions. Only use solid core types.
Re-align pieces on pattern. Use push pins or layout blocks to hold together.
Apply flux to copper foiled pieces.
Tack solder at seam intersections by holding iron above panel and allow solder to drop onto panel.
Completely solder seams by holding iron tip on the foil, perpendicular to the seam. Hold iron as you would a carving knife. Feed the solder into the tip as you move along the foil. Stop soldering 1/4" from panel edge on all seams if you are putting a came edge on your panel.
Allow panel to cool, the flip, flux, and solder all seams as on the front. It is not necessary to tack solder the back. When flipping panel over be careful; any straight edges/seams can act as a hinge, and pull foil away from the glass.
Apply edge came.
When the front and back are completely soldered, wash thoroughly using warm water and soap (such as CH's Flux remover #5514) and a soft brush. Clean both sides, then rinse well and dry.
If seams bulge over the glass there's too much solder. You may need to melt off the excess.
If solder spits or bubbles there's too much flux, wipe some off.
Flat seams need more solder.
Don't stay in the same spot too long or the solder will bleed through or the glass will crack.
Wipe your iron tip frequently on a wet sponge while you are soldering.
Re-tin your tips as needed using a sal-ammoniac block.
CAME: is used for edging your panel. Types include: zinc, brass, copper, and lead (lead needs to be stretched before using).
Fit the side cames to your panel first, having them extend beyond and overlap the top and bottom of the panel. Then fit the top and bottom cames within the side cames. this will leave the top of the side cames open for the rings. Solder the corners and all seams where they meet the came.
Place a ring over the opening at the top edge of the zinc. Flux, and solder the ring securely.
Clean your panel with flux remover, then dry.
Lead came can be used for oval or round frames but remember to stretch it first. A came bender can be used to bend zinc, copper, or brass.
WOOD: Frame your panel with zinc or lead first. A wood frame is optional. Silicone or glazier points can be used to secure the panel to the frame.
A chemical used to change the color of soldered seams to black or copper.
Make sure that your panel is completely cleaned before applying patina. With latex gloves, apply patina to soldered seams using a small brush, a cotton rag or paper towel; add patina as needed. Patina the front and back of the panel, then rinse clean.
Apply a wax coating to help keep your panel from oxidizing. Hang your panel with a chain that will support the weight of the panel.
BASIC SUPPLIES LIST Listed with Delphi item numbers for easy reference.
Dry Wheel Super Glass Cutter
For more stained glass instruction see Delphi's Quick Success Stained Glass #6186 book
Stained Glass Basics #6405
Stained Glass Made Easy Video #6149V
Soldering Made Easy Video #6151V
Glossary Of Terms
Cutter: A tool consisting of a handle and a beveled cutting wheel. The wheel may be constructed of either steel or tungsten carbide, and rotates freely on its axis.
Cutting Oil: Is a high-viscosity fluid used in conjunction with glass cutters. Oil keeps the wheel clean of dust and glass chips, which increases the life of the cutter.
Score Line: When the cutter is pressed against the glass and then drawn or pushed across the surface, it makes a score-line, which resembles a light scratch on the surface of the glass.
Run: Glass does not break in half like a loaf of French bread. Rather, it begins to break at the edge of the glass and then runs to the other edge, completing the break. The special pliers used to control the process are called running pliers.
Break: Essentially the same thing as a "run," only it occurs so fast that the glass appears to break apart all at once. Breaking pliers are designed to enable you to hold small pieces of glass during the breaking process.
Groze: The process of filing or chipping away small of glass. Pliers with small serrated teeth are used for this process, and they are called grozing pliers.
Grind: An electric tool used for the precision shaping of glass is the grinder. Glass pieces are laid flat on the work surface and pressed against a rotating diamond coated bit to remove glass in very controlled amounts. This is called grinding.
Copper Foil: This is essentially copper tape, and it comes in different widths and thickness. It is wrapped around the outside of a piece of glass and then pressed into place along the sides. Solder will stick to the copper foil but not to the glass during the assembly process.
Flux: Flux is either a paste or a liquid used in the soldering process to clean the metal surfaces. It is applied to either copper foil or lead came just prior to soldering.
Solder: Solder for stained glass comes in a few types: 60/40 and 50/50 being the most common. These numbers express the tin to lead ratio. 60/40 melts at 370°F: 50/50 at 414°F. There is little real difference in the strength and flexibility of these solders, and which one you use is a matter of personal preference. Rosin core solders are not acceptable for stained glass work. Lead-free solder is another option.
Tinning: Usually performed on copper foil to prevent oxidation when you apply a thin layer of solder to a metal surface.
Burnishing: The process of pressing foil against the sides of the glass.
Lead Came: A thin strip of metal with a channel grooved into it to receive pieces of glass. Came is cut to the size of the glass pieces, and each piece is soldered into place at the point where it intersects another piece of came.
Zinc: A pre-formed metal strip much the same as lead came, but far stronger. It is generally used for the initial framing of panels.
Patinas: Chemical solutions which are applied to solder seams to alter their coloration