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Basic Glass Cutting

Press just hard enough to make the cutter sound even and smooth.


Basic Glass Cutting

Reader Response: Annealing silver

Recent Q&As: Testing a relay with a battery; preventing sharp edges on glass pendants

A Kiln Story: Kiln Barbecue

Memorable Quote



Always wear clear safety glasses while cutting glass. Small glass slivers easily become airborne.

1) Lay the glass on a clean, flat surface. Mark off the cut with a grease pencil at each end of the glass. Lay a straight edge over the glass and line it up with the marks you just made.

2) Hold the straight edge firmly and score the glass with a quality glass cutter (preferably one with an oil reservoir). Hold the cutter vertically and not slanted. Press hard enough so the scoring noise sounds steady and unbroken. But don't press harder than you need to.

3) Place the straight edge under the glass so an edge of the straight edge is lined up with the score line you just made. Press down on the glass to break it on the score line.

A quality glass cutter with oil reservoir, available from art glass suppliers, is much easier to use than the inexpensive cutters sold in hardware stores. A good cutter will save enough glass to pay for itself.


READER RESPONSE Annealing Silver

Jann Greenland of Greenland Creative, Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas wrote, “I finished a first round of trials of annealing sterling with the Sentry Xpress 2.0 and wanted to fill you in. I am using a kiln to anneal a ‘large’ piece of metal, rather than using the torch, hoping for more consistent results. I used a 2.5 oz. strip of textured sterling (started at 16 gauge before roller printing) that I am making into a cuff bracelet and tried three different schedules.

“In all three trials, I ramped at full rate to 1150 degrees F and held for 15 minutes. In one, I left the metal to cool with the kiln door closed, no venting. In another, I opened the door after heat soaking for air cooling. In the third, I quenched after heat soaking.

“The trial with the door closed provided no appreciable annealing. In both other cases, I got good results. It wasn't ‘like butter,’ but I could initially bend the metal by hand.

“The entire firing time took 29 minutes, so it's not for someone in a hurry. I tend to work on several things at once, so it worked out fine for me. I would be interested in hearing about others' experience with annealing metal in the kiln.”



Q. Is there a way to test a mechanical relay while it is outside the kiln?

A. Yes. You will need a 12-volt lantern battery and an ohmmeter. Look at the kiln's wiring diagram, and find the two terminals on the relay where the wires from the controller are connected. Using two wires with alligator clips on each end, hook up the 12-volt lantern battery to those two terminals. The battery acts as the signal from the controller. When you make the connection, you should hear the relay click.

Use the ohmmeter to test the action of the electromagnet inside the relay. Please see “Trouble Shooter for the Sentry Controller” for more details.

Q. How hot is the exterior of the Home Artist, SC-2, and SC-3?

A. Less than 250 degrees F. These kilns have an air channel between the firing chamber and the outer steel case. This helps to lower the case temperature.

Q. Some of my glass pendants have sharp edges, and some of the design work blended together and lost detail. How do I correct this?

A. The easiest way to eliminate the sharp points in the pendants is to fire to a lower temperature. That is also the way to retain shadow lines formed by the separate pieces of glass. The higher the fusing temperature, the flatter the glass surface becomes.


A KILN STORY: Kiln Barbecue

David Snyder of All Fired Up in Charlotte, North Carolina wrote, “Look before you fire! Or barbecue? A client had her kiln set up in a barn. She had not fired the kiln for at least a year. She started the kiln to see if it still worked, left the barn to take care of other things, and came back shortly to find smoke pouring out from under the lid of the kiln. She called me in a panic asking what she should do, and of course I told her to turn off the kiln.

“The next day I opened the kiln, and under a full shelf one inch off the kiln floor was a charred family of mice. They had chewed a small hole through the bottom of the floor and nested in the kiln under the shelf. We cleaned most of the remains from the kiln. I told her to fire to a cone 04 to ‘clean’ the rest of the mess. I then returned to patch the bottom of her kiln. Electrically it worked just fine.”



“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” --Helen Keller


A kiln can magically transform pieces of clay or glass. Recently I was with my 13-year-old niece, Sophie, and noticed she was wearing a small glass pendant I had made for her. Fused dichroic shards glittered on a blue glass background. She said she wore it all the time, even when she slept.

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2008, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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