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Working with broken glass

A few years back I shattered a glass statue my wife and I picked up
on our honeymoon. I saved all the larger pieces. I would like to take
some of it and turn it into “stones” I can set in some pieces for
her. I do not normally work in glass. How do I smooth the sharp edges
and possibly tweak the shapes of the glass?

Eric Manchester

If you have a lapidary unit, you can cut the shape/smooth the edges
yourself. If not, a lapidary could do this for you.



Depending on how much “tweaking” you want to do on the glass would
depend on the type of saw you would use to cut the glass. I use a
small lapidary trim saw when I want to do straight cuts on glass.
Anything more intricate would require the use of a diamond wire saw
such as a Taurus 3. I use a glass grinder to smooth the edges of the
glass. It uses water to keep the glass cool as I smooth it. You could
use some diamond sanding pads and do it by hand but keep in mind
you’d still have to use some water. I occasionally use some poliching
wheels on my foredom to smooth small areas of the glass. Again, I wet
it from time to time to keep it cool. If you have any forther
questions, I can be emailed at

Francesca Anatra

I would personally use a grinder to quickly change the shape of the
pieces and smooth the sides. Or you could use a tumbler the same if
you want a beach glass affect.

Jessica MacFarlane

Lots of useful replies for you so far, There is another way to keep
the broken shape and round all the sharp edges.

give a try to putting a glass fragment in an enamelling kiln, bring
the temp slowly up to glass slump temperature, watch it slowly go
shiny and smooth through the peep hole. switch off and allow to cool
slowly. A bit like enamelling. you have to keep the atmosphere
oxydising in the kiln, which means you cant do it with a large
propane flame. tried it with enamel and the surface goes opaque. Will
save a lot of hand work with the glass.

Eric- you can use superglue and instant accelerator. To glue a chunk
of glass to a wood rod or large nail.

Making a cardstock pattern to go by and glue it on bottom first.
Making sure to use the accelerator.

Glass is pretty soft. Using water as a coolant will diminish the
dangerous inhalation aspect. Eye protection- yep need it. Any
lapidary unit will work glass easily.

Check with your local Gem and Mineral club for access to expensive
machinery and learning to produce a result using tried and true


How do I smooth the sharp edges and possibly tweak the shapes of
the glass? 

Maybe try tumbling the pieces in water ala Mother Nature. While
you’re waiting, run down to your local art glass (stained glass)
supply house and pick up a file they’ll have specifically for use on
glass. Good luck!

How do I smooth the sharp edges and possibly tweak the shapes of
the glass? 

I’m sure there are more elegant methods, but I’ve done it with a
regular belt sander.


Another good way to smooth broken glass for use - use your tumbler
or find a rockhound that has a stone polishing tumbler. Run the
pieces with grit for a day or two and they will become matte and the
edges will be rounded. And if you only have a vibratory tumbler, run
it with the glass and some coarse grit media. Same result.

Judy Hoch

How do I smooth the sharp edges and possibly tweak the shapes of
the glass? 

I use diamond coated drill bits to smooth chipped beakers and such
in the shop. I even used them, with a mirror, to smooth out a sharp
chipped tooth when the dentist couldn’t get me in soon enough. I
couldn’t help but think that jewelers would be pretty good at
dentistry, have better hands anyway. Also thought that it was funny
that doing the same thing with the same tool a dentist would charge
10 times as much as we makers of metal objects!

Breaking a glass that you and your wife got on your honeymoon? My
sympathies. Easy way to do the edges is with a rubber nail file.
Susan and I have used them for years for certain projects like opals
that are soft. Tweeking the size may take a foredom with a diamond
burr. Never tried it before but a mosaic work might be neat. A
tumbler would make the pieces frosty looking. We have seen several
pendants made from broken vases usually from China and a specific
age like the Ming Dynasty. Have fun

I have done quite a bit of stained glass work. For smoothing the
edges I use a Glastar grinder, but also fine tune any ragged edges
with a carborundumstone—referred to as a carborundum file. For the
small amount you have, it will be a very effective, less expensive
method, than investing in a grinder. Every glass store used to carry
them but for some reason, they are hard to find. I was able to get
one recently from Alpine Glass

Item 2007, price $7.95. It should be just fine for your purposes.

Why my interest in stained glass? My house has an ugly cyclone fence
running along one side. I decided to make a lot a stained glass
panels to hang on it, and now it is delightful to look
at—especially when the sun shines through the glass. My neighbors
were delighted, andI can now enjoy the fence, rather tha=n shuddering
each time I look at it.

Alma Rands

Alma, A picture please?
I’m dying to see it.


How can I share files and pictures with the list?

Or… send the files to the attention of and
we will upload them for you…