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How are glass mirrors cut to size?

In many public and private settings, glass mirrors cut to size can create a beautiful decorative feature. Whether it’s in a bathroom, a gym, or a cafe, a large mirror can make a wonderful addition to any room.

But have you ever wondered how those large mirrors that fill an entire wall are made? Here’s a step-by-step guide to how glass mirrors are cut to size.


Which tools are required to cut glass mirrors?

One would need the necessary tools and equipment to cut a glass mirror to size, which include:

·       Glass cutter

·       Glass cleaner

·       Measuring tool and marking pencil

·       Work gloves and safety glasses

·       Cutting oil

·       Straightedge

·       Square-headed pliers

·       Dowel

·       Sandpaper or sharpening stone

With the above tools, a glass cutter can precisely measure the glass to the exact size and shape, and then carefully cut it.

Of course, for larger projects, a glass cutter would need heavy-duty equipment and machinery that makes the cutting process quick and efficient. This would allow them to get through lots of tasks for a wide range of clients and projects.


How to cut glass mirrors

When the glass cutter has the required tools, they can get started on cutting it to the exact size and shape they’ve planned.

Whether it’s a smaller mirror to hang up in the hallway of a house or a large mirror to be displayed on the wall of a gym, below are the steps taken to ensure a clean and precise cut:

·       Prepare the area

·       Clean the glass

·       Mark the cut line

·       Oil the glass cutter

·       Score the mirror

·       Cut the mirror

·       Smooth out rough edges


Prepare the area

Ensure the work area is ready to be used, with a completely flat and rigid surface for the glass to lie on. For this, a strong table or a sheet of plywood is useful.

Often, a sheet of fabric is added as a thin blanket for the work surface. It isn’t necessary, but the fabric does provide more protection and evens out any imperfections.


Clean the glass

Before marking and cutting the glass, it needs to be cleaned to remove any debris particles.

Using a glass cleaning solution and paper towels, both sides of the glass mirror should be cleaned to remove any dirt or dust.


Mark the cut line

With the surface prepared and flat and the glass clean, it’s time to mark the cut line. The cutter must mark the two ends of the intended cut line with a grease pencil.

The straightedge must be set on or near the line. It’s also important to note that the cutting wheel on glass cutters is centred at the end, so there will be an offset of between 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch. As a result, the straightedge must be adjusted accordingly.


Oil the glass cutter

The next step is to oil the glass cutter with a couple of drops of oil. Some cutters have a built-in chamber that can be filled with oil, which allows it to self-lubricate and essentially removes this manual step.


Score the mirror

With the line marked and the cutter oiled, the next step is to score the glass.

This is done by pressing the cutter down on the glass firmly. Then, in a single stroke, it’s scored from one end to the other. If the glass is scored properly, it will produce a distinctive scraping sound.

Of course, scoring in a straight line is a lot easier than a curved or patterned line, but the same steps can be followed. The cutter would have to freehand score without the straightedge.


Cut the mirror

For straight lines, one side of the mirror must be lifted carefully. Then, a thin item is inserted under the mirror. This should be placed parallel to and just underneath the score line.

The far end of the mirror must then be secured with a clamp or held down by another person. In one motion, the waste side of the mirror must be forced down, breaking the glass along the score line.

Curved lines can be cut with a set of running pliers. One edge of the mirror must be lifted and placed between the heads of the pliers. Then, the centre groove must be lined up on top of the pliers with the end of the score line.

The pliers are gently squeezed until the mirror separates at the score line. This is repeated along the line until the glass is completely separated.


Smooth out rough edges

The final step is to smooth out any rough edges that exist after the cut. This can be done either with fine-grit sandpaper or a stone knife honing block.

The glass cutter will gently rub along the rough edge with the sandpaper to create a smooth, more polished edge that’s safe to touch.


Use a professional

While the steps above may seem simple when laid out like this, it’s important to use a professional service to score and cut glass if you want a high-quality result.

It’s much easier to order a mirror cut to size by a professional glass supplier, who will have in-house glass cutting machines that can achieve much more precise cuts than you could with DIY.

This is especially important for more complicated shapes, where you may need your glass mirror to fit around sockets or other features, requiring more detailed cuts.

Whether it’s a small mirror or a large project, such as a mirror wall, it’s always advisable to seek assistance from a professional company that cuts glass mirrors to size.

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