Monday, November 14, 2011

Choosing Bits and Grits for Stained Glass Grinders

Stained glass grinders are among the handiest tools to have in your glass workshop, but their utility depends up on using the right bits for your project. These tips will help you choose the right bits and grits to use with stained glass grinders.

How Many Bits Should You Have?

That’s a question we hear often, and the answer is – it depends on the projects you do and the way you use your grinder. Bits for stained glass grinders come in many different sizes and shapes, and each has its own use in creating beautiful stained glass artwork. Most stained glass grinders come with a standard grit bit designed for most sanding and grinding. Other grits you might want to have in your toolbox include:

Super fine grit, which is used for grinding the edges of mirror and very soft, thin, delicate glass. It’s also the grit you want to use if you’re leaving the edge of the glass exposed

Fine grit, for soft or delicate glass that chips easily. Fine grit grinder bits are gentler on thin and delicate glass than standard grit

Speed grits and super speed grits are coarser, and are useful when you’re grinding away large surfaces and will be covering the edges with foil or lead, or will be refinished with a finer grit after you do the major shaping

In addition to the different grades of grit, you can also buy specialty bits designed for doing special jobs on stained glass grinders.

A lamp bit is a reversible bit that provides two differently angled sides. It’s designed to grind glass pieces that have to fit on a  miter, such as glass for multi-sided 3-D projects or Tiffany style lamps. Mitering the edges – grinding them at an angle – will allow the glass to meet more precisely and give you a more professional solder seam.

A ripple bit is used to thin the edges of thicker glass and to remove texture from glass so they fit into lead channels more easily. Ripple bits grind glass to make a thin edge that will fit into the channel.

Drilling bits mount on the shaft of glass grinders and are used to drill holes in glass. They come in a number of different diameters to allow for different sized holes.

Stained glass grinders are only as useful as the bits and tips you choose to use with them. Explore the various glass grinders and accessories and decide which ones will be the most useful for the types of projects you most want to do.


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