Glass Engraving with Hand Tools

Does anyone have any experience carving glass? Years ago, I received
a pair of sandblasted/sandcarved earrings-very pretty. I have become
interested in glass techniques- chemical etching, sand blasting, and
hand carving. My question concerns carving glass using an abrasive
point in a flex shaft or Dremel tool. What are the proper safety
precautions? I have checked with Dremel and read books that say to
carve dry material and use only goggles and a dust mask. My
knowledge of lapidary (and science) suggests that a lubricant is
needed to cool the glass AND minimizes airborne particles. Has
anyone tried glass engraving with a rotary tool?

Allyson Morrison

Dear Ms. Allyson Morrison, If you are planning to engrave glass, I
strongly recommend using a high-speed air driven dental handpiece
which can deliver speeds up to 400,000 rpm.

The dental type handpiece is much more comfortable and easier to use
than a dremel or the typical flex shaft unit. These type of units
have a tendency to vibrate somewhat, as opposed to a dental
air-driven handpiece which works on air, (no vibrating motor) to
interfere with the delicate carving that you want to do.

If you should have any further questions that I may be able to help
you with, please feel free to contact me directly at:

Sincerely, Richard Lucas…

Glass engraving… has to be done with a water feed, a little
detergent [dishsoap] mixed in will help. sierra biodegradable
antifreeze works well to… ringman high speed air tools need
no lubricants

Hi: Goggles and dust mask are essential, and so is dripping water as
lubricant and coolant. The water drops keep the glass cool and also
protect and lengthen the life of your diamond and/or silicon carbide
burrs. I use only rotary tools (Dremel and Foredom) and try to stick
to diamond burrs, in the long run they are cheaper and last much
longer than silicon carbide burrs. You can easily rig up a drip
system (i.e. scrounge from your community hospital a disposable IV
setup. I recommend water as opposed to other lubricants - because
oil, etc are pretty messy and obstruct proper views of your project.
My 2 cents.

Joe Bokor

Alison you can engrave or etch glass with a sand blast machine and
patterns or you can make your own patterns with a special tape for
sandblasting . Marco

Joe, Another system of water delivery is using the Tap from a 5 liter
box of Almaden Wine. This specific design is a twist to expose and
control the rate of flow. To the tap an airline hose can lead into
it from any type of container. A little ingenuity and duck tape will

For the non imbibers, I have a few extra of these and will happily
mail them out for just the postage. Contact me directly please.

Teresa Masters