Edge Chipping Glass

A few folks have shown interest in chipping edges, and since I have done quite a few miles of it, here’s my take. Chipping glass is not rocket science. Some of the first tools were made by “knapping” flint and other hard materials to leave a sharp edge, and what we do today comes from that knowledge. It is simply the controlled breaking of the edge to get the effect you desire. There is no way to get around the facts –experience comes with practice. I have tried to make a pictorial that may give you an idea how it works. See what you think.

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The chipper on the left is a commercially manufactured chipper.  The one on the right is one I made for chipping 3/4″ and 1″ heavy plate glass.

 

It is important to pay attention to safety, particularly your eyes. ALWAYS wear eye protection when chipping, and a few other good ideas would be gloves, apron, long pants and closed shoes.

 

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Click to Enlarge

The tool should be set so it is close to level with the glass when biting the glass. A slight forward tilt will give a slightly larger chip, but you may break more glass. The tooth should be set around 1/8″ bite, too much, you will break more glass, too little and it may not bite enough for a chip.

Support the glass on a firm flat surface, protect with carpet, towel, etc… While wearing appropriate safety equipment, hold the glass firmly with one hand, while firmly pressing down on the back of the chipper with the other hand (see arrow). Continue chipping as shown and with practice, you will be as good at breaking glass as anyone! DO NOT kick the chips away with your foot!!! Use a broom and dustpan to avoid the dreaded Emergency Room shuffle and stitches.

 

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Click to Enlarge

Keep the tool square with the glass, (90 degrees) for a consistant chip.

 

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Individual bites, far enough apart that they don’t overlap. (not critical) Fair sized flats left on the edge. This profile is most usable on tables and such, where children or the public might have contact.

 

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Bites in numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, etc… sometimes require multiple bites.  Small flats left on edge.  This edge is more attractive, but harder to clean up to make it safe.

 

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Bites in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.. often require multiple bites.  No (or VERY small) flats left on the edge. This is the more attractive chipped edge, but should never be used on furniture where there may be children, or high traffic areas.

 

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You can also get the same effect by triple biting each chip, but it takes a little more practice.

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Here is a photo of 3/4″ and 1″ heavy plate chipped.

 

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Click to Enlarge

These photos are of cleaning the edge of the chipped glass with an industrial wet sander, but you can use a home belt sander.  The principal is the same.  Remove the sharp spots.

 

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Makita sells the handiest sander you will find, a small variable speed unit that you can easily get carbide belts for.  It’s the second most used sander in our shop.

Copyright 2013 – Arizona Glass Classes

July 2017
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