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Review: Toyo Pistol Grip Glass Cutter

Updated on April 22, 2014

The Toyo pistol grip stained glass cutters have been around for at least a dozen years or so but I didn't always use them. I've been a stained glass artist for about 15 years now. When I started out I was a teenager and didn't have too much extra cash to get all the best supplies at first. This means I had to start out with the most basic options for all the glass tools, including a cheap pencil grip cutter. Eventually I discovered the hand grip (aka pistol grip) glass cutters and have never looked back!

With a regular/"old fashioned" tool you grip it like you'd grip a pencil. This tends to require a lot of muscle power to transmit sufficient force to the glass in order to accurately score a cut line in it. I often found that after an hour or so of making stained glass my cutting hand would start to cramp up from all the muscle tension in it. I'd either have to take a break or endure the strain (neither fun to do).

As I said, I eventually found the pistol grip glass cutters like the one here by Toyo. They completely change the mechanics of how you cut glass by hand. The forces act differently and are spread out across more of your hand. There's much less force going through your thumb which seems to spare the joints in the thumb from strain. As you can hopefully see in the picture to the side, there are nice grooves where your fingers go when gripping the cutter.

A secondary benefit is that the accuracy of cutting seems to improve with this style of cutter, though I can't say for certain that I actually know why that is. Cuts will be straighter and it's easier to do sharper curves as well!

The reservoir for cutter oil is basically the whole inside of the cutter which is a much bigger volume of space than you'd get on a standard glass cutter. This may be redundant, though, since the cutter actually uses very little oil over a long period of time but busy artists may notice a difference!

Well, there's not much more to say apart from the fact that whenever I can choose between which of the two styles to use I'll almost always choose the pistol grip stained glass cutting tool!

Here you'll see a few other related products you'll likely need if you're getting a new glass cutter. The oil is used to lubricate the cutting tip, the running pliers help break the glass along a score line, and the pencil-grip cutter is a cheaper option if you prefer to save money for now!

Studio Pro Brass Pencil Grip Glass Cutter
Studio Pro Brass Pencil Grip Glass Cutter
This is the basic alternative to a pistol grip stained glass cutter. You hold this cutter more like a pencil which can cause more muscle cramping if you cut a lot of glass regularly. As a bonus though, it is about 1/3 the price of a hand gripped cutter
Novacan Cutter Oil
Novacan Cutter Oil
Most stained glass cutters nowadays have a reservoir for cutter oil. This helps by keeping a small amount of oil on the cutter which lubricates it and can help prevent rusting of the metal tip.
Studio Pro 1-Inch Running Pliers
Studio Pro 1-Inch Running Pliers
If you're cutting glass you'll definitely need running pliers. these are used to improve the accuracy and safety of the glass cuts!

A nice and quick video showing how to use this type of cutter properly as well as how to add oil to the reservoir within it!


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