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Cold Working Equipment

for the Kiln-Worker

Here's a list of the basic equipment available for cold working glass, with an emphasis on how the equipment is used with kiln-formed glass.  In this context, the term "cold working" refers to finishing the glass outside the kiln.  The emphasis is also on powered tools and equipment, rather than on hand pads and related non-powered tools.

1.  Stained glass grinder -- the most basic piece of cold working equipment.  Can be used for edge-grinding (but a wet belt sander is faster).  (Price: around $100US)

2.  Wet belt sander -- this tool is primarily an edge grinding tool.  It consists of a motor that drives a belt; the glass is held so that the edge comes into contact with the belt.  The normal process is to start with a belt with a coarse grit and finish with a belt with a finer grit.  (Price:  around $700 US for a table top model or $1500 and up for a full size model.)

3.  Flat lap (or flat bed grinder) -- used for grinding a flat surface on glass or on the edge of a slumped bowl.  Similar in concept to a record turntable.  (Price:  around $750US for a small 8" version to $1500 and up to as much as $4000 for a full size 20"+ lap)

4.  Handheld water-fed grinder.  Either air or electrically powered, these are used to grind or polish the surface of the glass.  Unlike most of the other tools on this page, with the handheld grinder you bring the tool to the glass, rather than the glass to the tool.  (Price:  about $200 to $400 US)

There are many other power tools, from simple die grinders to elaborate glass lathes, but these are the most frequently used.  These tool will be covered in more detail in future Warm Tips installments, which will also have information on both powered and non-powered cold working equipment.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

This tip adapted from posts on the Warm Glass board, especially a good summary of basic equipment by Jackie Beckman.

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