Stained Glass Tools
The hobby of stained glass is really a very wide-ranging one. There are artists of a large variety of talents. Some people specialize in lamps and other three dimensional pieces of artwork while others prefer to make large panels and full windows and doors. Even so, some artists (like myself) have decided to perfect the creation of glass suncatchers – small pieces that are more free-form than almost any other style of stained glass. Fortunately, no matter what the preference of the artist is, there is a basic set of stained glass tools that most of them cannot live without. These are the tools used on a daily basis – the glass tools that an artist absolutely relies upon.
Stained Glass Tools You Need
A glass cutter is the one of the most overlooked of all the stained glass tools. They can be bought for as cheap as a few dollars or specialty ones can cost up to $50 or more. The most basic cutter is a pen-style one. This is named as such because it is gripped like a pen when used. While these work perfectly well, they have a few drawbacks. After long use, one’s hands can cramp up, and they are difficult to use for cutting circles out of sheet glass. Hand-grip cutters are gripped by the whole hand and prevent the cramping – effectively lengthening the amount of time one can cut for! To help cut perfect circles, some stained glassers purchase circle cutters that rely on a smooth swivel-head at the base of the tool.
A stained glass grinder is one of the most important of all the stained glass tools for a beginner in the hobby. A decent one will cost about $80 to $100 depending on the brand and style, but it is money well spent. Customers will appreciate the smooth, perfect solder lines that are all thanks to accurately shaped pieces of glass. A glass grinder uses a rotating diamond-coated bit that effectively “grinds” down imperfect cuts to the desired shape. It also smooths out the edges of each piece in a stained glass window making foiling an easier job!
Soldering irons are used to solder the pieces together into the final shape – whether it is a lamp, a suncatcher, or a full out window. Soldering irons are available in range of qualities and the better ones have specific temperature controls. For a novice or intermediate glass artist, a standard soldering iron will easily last for years to come!
A fid is a cheap yet useful stained glass tool. It is used to help flatten copper foil against the individual pieces of glass. Fids help save one’s hands from the wear and tear they may face during the foiling process. For just a few dollars, significant time can be saved!
These are the basic stained glass tools needed by every artist. More advanced pieces can include glass band saws, fancy tables, supplies that help increase the speed of the copper foiling process, lead came cutters and stretchers, and many more. Do yourself a favor and invest in a basic stained glass kit that includes all the basic tools and supplies for your stained glass hobby!