Setting up a stained glass workshop is an exciting step for a stained glass hobbyist. It means that you’re ready to get serious about your glass work and start creating more complex projects, perhaps even start designing your own projects. It can also be confusing to choose among the many stained glass tools and accessories for your workshop. From stained glass grinders to glass kilns, there are so many choices that it can be difficult to pick the ones that are the most important for the kind of work you like to do. Here’s a quick look at the many options available to you for glass grinders, glass knives and other stained glass tools and accessories for your workshop.
A glass grinder isn’t a necessity for small hobbyists, but if you’re planning to work on larger projects or planning to do many projects, it can be a handy tool to have on hand. Stained glass grinders eliminate the tedious work of hand sanding and grinding the edges of your pieces to smooth them before you fit them into place. Depending on the disks and bits you choose, they can also drill smooth holes in your pieces and texture or polish the surface of your glass pieces. For those who enjoy doing glass bead work and glass bead fabrication, stained glass grinders can assist you in shaping and etching beads for your work.
There are many stained glass grinders on the market, ranging from inexpensive and fairly limited models to deluxe glass grinders that would fit into a small business workshop. If you’ve already made enough of a commitment to glass art work to want a grinder in your workshop, you should probably skip the entry level models and go directly to the mid-level stained glass grinders that offer upgrade options for more flexibility. While you’ll lay out a bit more cash up front for an intermediate glass grinder, you won’t find yourself outgrowing it within one or two projects and being stuck with an underpowered glass grinder that doesn’t do what you want it to do.
Stained glass grinders typically come with a single 1-inch bit, though some may include a second smaller ¼-inch bit. If you enjoy doing decorative work or are planning to do glass bead or specialized cutting work, you may want to also invest in fine and ultra-fine grinding bits for working with mirrors and delicate glass pieces, as well as a lamp bit to help you cut angled pieces for that fit flush for lamps and other miter-join pieces.
In addition to stained glass grinders and bits, you might be interested in glass saws for making larger cuts and in specialty work surfaces that are designed to make it easier to work with glass on a glass grinder.