----Cradle of the Sun Tips

Glass Cutting - Soldering - Leading - Glass Creation/Selection - Tools Supplies/Equipment - Puttying- Misc


Glass Cutter - Soldering Iron - Lead Knife - Breaking Pliers - Lead Dikes - Glass Grinder Running Pliers - Fid/Lathkin

Glass Cutters:

"Disposable" Cutter-An inexpensive dry cutter used for a few projects then discarded as it becomes dull. This type of cutter should be dipped into cutting oil between every score.

Comfort Grip Oil Cutter-A pencil shaped cutter with a carbide wheel that stays sharp for several years of regular use. The handle is an oil reservoir that feeds cutting oil through a wick to the wheel, automatically lubricating the score line. This cutter will require less pressure scoring glass than a dry cutter. It produces better cuts with fewer failures resulting in less wasted glass.

Pistol Grip Oil Cutter-An oil cutter as above but with a handle held overhand like a bread knife. Useful for those with weaker hands.

See Cutting Glass Return to top:

Soldering Iron:

The iron used to solder must be of a high enough wattage to readily melt the solder and be able to reheat fast enough to maintain the necessary melting temperature. The tip can't be so small it can't maintain the heat nor so big it covers more area than wanted.

I carry Weller brand soldering irons in two types.

Weller 80w-This red handled iron comes with two sized tips. It should be used with a rheostat in order to prevent overheating while it is idling.

Weller 100w-This blue handled iron maintains a constant 700° and readily recovers the heat used in melting the solder. There are several sizes of tips available for this iron.

see Soldering Return to top:

Lead Knife:

The lead knife is (Surprise!) used to cut the lead strips. The important things to remember are to lubricate the blade and to maintain the proper angle of attack.

The blade is lubricated by wiping it through beeswax. Beeswax is slightly sticky so it will adhere to the metal better than ordinary wax. This greatly increases the ease with which the knife will slip through the lead.

The proper angle of attack is maintained by keeping the blade in contact with the table while slipping/sliding through the lead. This approach will prevent the lead from collapsing and being crushed.

The lead knife is also useful in positioning the lead around the pieces of glass, usually by pushing on the heart of the lead.

The knife we use is the FanOut brand which is held as though stabbing.

I consider this a necessary tool because lead dikes can't achieve steeply angle cuts readily. Return to top:

Breaking Pliers:

The breaking plier is a special stained glass tool that has smooth jaws which meet at the tip of the plier. This enables the tool to reach over the top and bottom of the glass with the tip coming into contact with the glass exactly against the score line. The plier handles are at right angle to the score line. The edge of the glass needs to be close enough (within 3/4") to the score line in order to use this tool. It is used in lieu of your hands when the piece being broken off is too narrow to be comfortably grasped by hand. When bending the glass, the top jaw comes down flat against the surface of the glass (that's why we want the smooth jaw) and as more bending pressure is applied, lateral/pulling pressure is applied. This tool can also be used to groze the glass by carefully nibbling away the edge.

I consider this a necessary tool. Return to top:

Lead Dikes:

Lead dikes are used to cut the lead strips (came) when the angle to be cut is not too severe. The cutting edge of the tool has been flatttened one side and is very sharp. This is a tool where you get what you pay for. The best dikes in my experience are the FanOut brand. You should look for a cut on the lead that is perfectly straight across. They should be spring loaded to return to the opened position readily. The jaws should move freely and easily. They should be large enough to span 3/8" lead. Larger dikes are able to cut steeper angles. The tool is held with the jaws pointing down and the flat side of the tool facing the side of the lead you want flat. The lead is held oriented as it will be used.The tool will be cutting into the sides of the lead strip, not from the top and bottom of the lead flange. When cut, the top of the lead flange should be directly over the bottom flange. If one flange extends beyond the other, there will be a gap where the leads meet. Return to top:

Glass Grinder:

Glass grinders are an optional but very handy tool. A spinning diamond coated cylinder extending above a grid surface can rapidly and accurately grind glass to the desired shape. Don't purposily cut glass large with the intention of grinding. Ideally no grinding would have to be done. It should be used only for minor adjustments or for grinding tough-to-cut inside curves. The diamond bit must be kept wet in order to reduce wear on the diamond and prevent glass dust from developing and being inhaled. There are several grits available. "Fine" grinds slower but leaves fewer chips in the glass. "Coarse" grinds very fast but leaves larger chips. "Standard" in a central compromise. Return to top:

Runnung Pliers:

Running pliers are used to run a relatively straight score line by bending the glass uniformly on either side of the score line. The pliers I prefer are the metal runners with coated jaws. The alternative is a plastic running pliers but the elements doing the bending tend to compress over time and don't have as much leverage. The metal pliers maintain a constant shape. The proper use is to position the center line on the top jaw of the pliers in line with the score line. The plier handles are in lined with the score line.The score line needs to be far enough in from the edge of the glass that the plier don't extend beyond the edge. In other words the entire jaw needs to be on the glass. Failure to comply will result in unequal pressure and the coating on the jaws being damaged.

Another type of running pliers are the RingStar which is non-directional. It's very effective on curves and easy to use. Instructions for use are illustratred on the back of its packaging. Return to top:


Fids and lathkins are used to open flanges in leads, flatten foil against glass, straighten out lead cames and other misc. leading and foiling activities. Modern fids and lathkins are made of plastic to easily slide against the metals. Return to top: