Cutting glass using a table saw might sound like an impossible feat, but in reality, it actually isn’t. Difficult? Yes, but it’s all in the way you slice it.
There are certain models of table saws designed to cut through glass seamlessly without leaving shards scattered all over the place. However, these types of table saws don’t come cheap, and even after purchasing one, you have to keep it properly maintained.
Like we said earlier, it might be difficult to perfectly cut through a glass, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here are a few tips you can use to make it an easier process:
1. Use the right blade
A carbide-tipped blade will cut the fastest and leave a clean edge, but it’s expensive and can damage softer materials like drywall or plasterboard.
High-speed steel (HSS) blade is more affordable, but it dulls faster and leaves an uneven edge that must be filed or sanded smooth after cutting. “Cabinetmaker” or “woodworker” blades are two perfect choices; they’re made from HSS but are designed for use on wood rather than metal.
2. Make sure the blade is sharp
3. Position your fence to be straight and square
It’ll be tough to get clean cuts if your fence isn’t square to the blade. Use a framing square or try this method:
- Set up two pieces of 3/4″ plywood as guides along either side of your fence and clamp them down, so they’re flush with the front edge of the saw table.
- Make sure they’re both perfectly horizontal and flush with each other. Run one piece through with a piece of glass on top and make sure it lines up precisely between both guides when you take it out from behind the fence. If not, adjust until it does before cutting again.
4. Start with a small piece of glass
You can always cut more later, but if you mess up your first attempt at cutting glass with a table saw, it can be difficult to salvage anything from your mistake.
Begin your cutting process with small pieces until you get used to working with the material and figure out what works best for you.
How to Cut Glass With a Table Saw
Let’s give you a quick run-through of how to use table saws in cutting glass:
- Measure the length and width of your piece of glass and mark the measurements on a piece of paper. This will give you an idea of how much excess material you need to cut off.
- Hold one side up against the blade to line up with the edge of the blade. Line up your pencil mark with the blade, too. Make sure there is no space between your clamp and where you want your cut line to be.
- Place a straight edge along the pencil mark on both sides of your glass
- Fix in place a clampdown onto each straight edge to set on top of both pieces of the straight edge at once.
- Make sure that these clamps are placed securely enough so that they don’t move around when you start cutting through them.
- Proper safety gears are vital when working with glass – and table saw isn’t a tool to use carefreely.
- The entire setup should be mounted on a heavy table that can support the weight of the glass and the workpiece.
- There should be a metal catch basin to collect the fragments directly below the cutting surface should a break occur.
Using a table saw to cut through glass is a delicate process, and you don’t have to forcefully push your table saw during the cutting process, just allow the glass feed through the saw, while you guide its direction. On that same note, ensure you always apply caution when using a table saw to cut glass.