Posted on: April 13th, 2011 by Sandra Powell 23 Comments
After my failed attempt at cutting down my first builder’s mirror, I got a hold of 2 more and tried again (after watching some videos on the subject and buying a better scoring tool.) I successfully cut them both. One I cut into 7 pieces so I am sure it wasn’t just dumb luck.
Here are some important things I learned.
1. All cutters (scorers) are not equal. I first used one that I bought at the local home improvement store. They only had 1 to choose from. It had 6 different tiny scoring blades on a wheel.
The new one I bought has one scoring wheel and a cavity in the handle for oil.
2. Apparently you need oil! Either on the mirror or on the scoring wheel or both. I think you can use any kind of oil, sewing machine, cooking…not sure. I just bought the oil that had the same brand name and was meant to be used with my new cutter. (Because I wasn’t sure this would work and I wanted to do everything I could to make a good effort.)
3. Clamp your straight edge down so it doesn’t wiggle around. You need a firm guide to follow in order to score properly.
What not to do: I tried holding a piece of melamine as a straight edge which just slid around on top of the glass. *You can use anything with a straight edge, just clamp it down before scoring.
4. Make your score in ONE, CONTINUOUS, EVENLY PRESSURED MOTION! DO NOT GO BACK OVER YOUR SCORE! You might be tempted to go back and forth to make sure you got it. Don’t do it!
Something about glass being in a state of flux between a solid and a liquid and once you score it it messes with the molecular configuration… Look it up if you’re interested in that much detail. My eyes glaze over when instructions get too detailed so I’m not likely to pass on anything more than I absorbed. The point is: ONE CONTINUOUS, evenly pressured score all the way from the beginning of your mirror OFF the opposite end!
With my failed attempt, I could hear that the blade wasn’t making constant contact with the mirror so I went back and forth over my score line which was my biggest mistake, apparently.
5. You can use special pliers (Glass Cutter Pliers) to snap your mirror if you’re making small “cuts” (technically they are breaks) but for larger “cuts”, just use the weight of the mirror to break itself.
So there you go. It is possible to cut a builder’s mirror.
Not perfectly perhaps, but good enough for me.
There was a little chipping right along the edge but nothing a 1/4″ lip on a frame won’t hide so I’m totally happy. It was actually quite fun!