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Cutting a Circle with a Tile Saw

Although most people use a tile saw to cut straight lines or slice pattern bars, it's also possible to use the saw to cut circles in glass.

Start by drawing the circle you'd like to cut on the glass.  It's best to draw with an ink that won't float off or dissolve in the water that lubricates the tile saw.

After the circle has been drawn, start the cutting process by cutting a number of straight lines that are tangent to the outside of the drawn circle.  You want to cut a stop sign that just touches the outside of the circle.  (If you started with a square with sides the same length as the circle's diameter, it will take four cuts to turn the square into a stop sign.)

Once you have a stop sign, trim the corners of the stop sign so that you have a 16-sided shape around the circle.  For small circles, this shape (called a hexadecagon, by the way) will nearly form a perfect circle.  For larger circles it may take another round of corner-trimming before the circle is done.

Finally, use your grinder or wet belt sander to clean up the edges of the circle and prepare it for firing.  This process sounds complicated, but it only takes a few minutes to cut the circle.  When it comes to cutting circles, the tile saw is both quicker and less expensive to operate than most glass saws.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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