Getting Started in Stained Glass - a tools list

Common Stained Glass Tools

Pistol Grip Glass Cutter - comfortable to use with less pressure on your wrist, arm and shoulder.
Pistol Grip Glass Cutter - comfortable to use with less pressure on your wrist, arm and shoulder.
Close up of carbide wheel on a glass cutter. It's the little wheel on the left.
Close up of carbide wheel on a glass cutter. It's the little wheel on the left.
Pattern shears - Used to cut stained glass patterns. They compensate for the copper foil.
Pattern shears - Used to cut stained glass patterns. They compensate for the copper foil.
Homasote board - used as a base under your glass as you cut as well as a stable base for building your stained glass. Pictured here is a stained glass piece being built using metal layout guides and push pins. The pattern lays under the glass and lay
Homasote board - used as a base under your glass as you cut as well as a stable base for building your stained glass. Pictured here is a stained glass piece being built using metal layout guides and push pins. The pattern lays under the glass and lay
Running pliers - They work as a fulcrum to help break the glass after it has been scored.
Running pliers - They work as a fulcrum to help break the glass after it has been scored.
Grozing pliers - Used to break off small pieces of excess glass.
Grozing pliers - Used to break off small pieces of excess glass.
Copper foil - several different types, black backed, silver back, copper backed as well as different widths.
Copper foil - several different types, black backed, silver back, copper backed as well as different widths.
Soldering iron - This iron shown includes a temperature control - the white knob.
Soldering iron - This iron shown includes a temperature control - the white knob.

A Check List of Stained Glass toos for getting Started

There are several tools in making a stained glass project from tools specifically used for stained glass and tools that you may use everyday that can be found at your local hardware store. Both are listed in detail below along with images of the most common stained glass tools.

Stained Glass tools

stained glass cutter - There are several types of glass cutters. The importance here is to find one you are comfortable working with. I prefer the pistol grip stained glass cutter.

pattern shears - Pattern shears are designed to compensate for the copper foil when cutting your pattern. In my experience, these are optional unless you are going for exactness. I recommend using them when you are just starting out in stained glass. They will make your efforts a little easier.

board for cutting - This could be a wood board, just be sure the surface is smooth. Others use a clean piece of dry wall. I prefer to use a homosote board.

build board - Similar to the cutting board. Some people also use wood or dry wall. I prefer the homosote board because it absorbs heat better and it is reusable.

cutting oil - You can use just about any oil for this but I prefer to use specifically stained glass cutting oil to help protect my carbide wheel on my glass cutter.

running pliers - These special pliers are used to break the glass along your score line. Some people with just use their hands but using the pliers is a safer options if you wish to protect you hands from getting cut from the glass. Also, the running pliers are much more effective and accurate for curved cuts.

grozing pliers - These special pliers are used for breaking away excess glass that si too small for the running pliers.

layout guides with push pins - Essentially these are metal jigs that you can tack in place to help you accurately build your stained glass piece. Some stained glass artisans use wood and build their own jigs. I've found that the metal ones are much easier to use and don't wear out over time.

glass grinder with face shield - You use the glass grinder to grind the edges of your stained glass pieces. A ground edge is essential when using the copper foil method as it helps the copper foil stick better to the glass.

copper foil - Where the Copper Foil Method gets its name. We use copper foil to wrap the glass.

copper foil holder (optional) - This is a tool that holds the copper while you apply it to the stained glass.

copper foil applicator (optional) - This tool helps you apply the copper foil to you glass. It perfectly centers the foil as you apply it to your stained glass pieces. I find that it gets in my way and slows my process but others have found it to be a great help.

burnishing tools - Burnishing tools are tools that you use to rub the copper foil onto the stained glass pieces.

flux - Is chemical based and must be used with caution.

60/40 solder - The most commonly used solder in stained glass. However, there are variations. So keep in mind that the first number is as the amount of tin and the second number is the amount of lead. The more tin in the solder the easier it will melt and flow across your copper foil. I recommend staying clear of lead free solder as it is difficult to work with and may frustrate you more than anything.

soldering iron - A key tool for any stained glass artist. As you use your soldering iron you will become very familiar with its various quirks like how it holds temperature and how effectively it melts the solder. I prefer to use a soldering iron that includes a temperature control. Others prefer to have the temperature control separate.

soldering iron holder with wet sponge - The holder is for safety purposes. Your iron will get very hot and it will only take once for you to accidentally touch that tip and you will be sure to never touch it again. The wet sponge is used to keep your soldering tip clean as you work.

patina (optional) - Patina is used to change the color of the soldier and is applied as a finishing. There are different colors available such as a copper patina and black. Depending on the look you're going for with your stained glass, patina is an option to help enhance that look. I have found that black works best when working with light colored glass, copper patina when working with warm hues of the color scale and finally naked solder is very silver and shiny and is a beautiful contrast with dark glass.

Everyday Tools needed for Stained Glass

safety glasses - Always use safety glasses when working with glass.

regular scissors - Used for various purposes in stained glass but mostly I use them to trim my copper foil.

marker - I use a permanent marker like a sharpie to trace out my pattern pieces onto the glass before cutting.

metal ruler - I prefer to use a metal ruler with cork on the back. The cork grips the glass while you cut.

small fine broom w/dustpan - I use the fine broom to keep my cutting board clean of glass while cutting my stained glass pieces.

bucket or sturdy container - As I cut my stained glass pieces I put the shards or left over glass into a container for safe storage.

soft cloth - For cleaning your glass.

vinegar - Some people will use a soap and water to clean their glass. Be sure to use soap with a de-greasing agent in it. Others might use window cleaner. I prefer to use vinegar.

Comments 2 comments

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jbgnet 7 years ago

It's definitely an art in working with stained glass.


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stained glass 7 years ago Author

@jbgnet That it is. Thanks for visiting my Hub. Hope to see you back soon. :)

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    Beginner Stained Glass Books

    Stained Glass for the Beginner
    Stained Glass for the Beginner

    Recommended for beginners. This book is well written and very informative. It has step-by-step instructions and illustrated with full color photos.

     
    Introduction to Stained Glass: A Step-by-Step Teaching Manual
    Introduction to Stained Glass: A Step-by-Step Teaching Manual

    Also a great book for beginning stained glass. This book covers both copper foil method and lead glass.

     

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