Glass is a tricky medium to work with; it is brittle and breaks easily.
Although you often want to divide a big piece of glass into smaller pieces, you normally want to do so in a controlled and safe manner.
A glass grinder for stained glass will help you adjust the size and shape of pieces of glass and get rid of sharp edges.
Here is our stained glass grinder review in which you will learn all you need to know before purchasing.
Do I Need A Grinder To Work With Stained Glass?
If you are just starting out it is not absolutely necessary to buy a glass grinder. Although you can often find them in stained glass kits.
You don’t have to grind every single piece of glass before you combine them all into a pattern.
Some online glass art classes for beginners will suggest starting out by using pre-cut glass. This is great for simple designs
However, for more complex projects you will probably have to cut and grind your own pieces.
To make sure you are using the grinder effectively, you don’t want to grind every single piece. Rather use the grinder only to make small modifications such that the pieces will fit well together.
Advantages of Using a Glass Grinder
Even if you work very accurately while cutting your glass, you will inevitably make some mistakes and have to reshape and smooth out some of the edges of your glass.
If you don’t do this, your final result is likely to look a little unpolished.
— Lou Ann Weeks (@i_c_mosaics) 3 juni 2015
Although you can smooth out the edges by hand, it is a lot of manual work and is arguably the most boring and tedious part of working with glass.
Using a grinder for stained glass will save you a lot of time.
Additionally, grinding glass manual is a lot more work than you might think. Especially if you are working on some big designs. So a grinder might prevent some physical discomfort or pain as well.
How To Use A Glass Grinder?
If you want to see how a Glastar grinder works in action, you can check out the video below.
The video explains the importance of using a grinder effectively to smooth out pieces of glass to get a perfect fit.
What To Look For in a Stained Glass Grinder?
As with any piece of equiptment, it helps to know what you are looking for to determine the best fit for you.
If you only plan on working with glass a few times a year, then maybe a cheap glass grinder will do.
On the other hand, if you are aiming to sell your glass art, then buying a high-quality stained glass grinder that can handle high work volume would be better.
Here are some general things to keep in mind when buying a grinder.
- Rotations Per Minute (RPM): the RPM indicates how fast the grinder is spinning and normally ranges from 2,800 to 3,600. A grinder that rotates faster is able to move excess material out of the way faster, which results in a better workflow.
- Torque: the torque represents the power of a glass grinder and is normally measured in ounces per inch. A grinder that has at least a torque of 20 ounces per inch is good enough for most projects.
- Surface Size: although the rotating part of the grinder itself is small, you will need an area called the “table” to support your glass while grinding. You want a table that is bigger than the glass pieces you are working with. Fortunately, some grinders can change between differently sized tables.
- Accessories: most grinders will come with some extras that are not necessary but nice to have. Cheap models normally do not come with any accessories but you can always purchase them afterward. Some common items are extra bits, face shield, foot pedal, multiple tables, etc.
- Cost: if you buy a good grinder for glass art right from the start it will probably last a lifetime. However, if you want to dip your toe in the water first, starting with a cheaper model might be better. The average grinder price can be as cheap as $100 all the way up to $500. If money is an issue, you can always try to look for a used stained glass grinder or a stained glass grinder for sale.
Price Guide & Recommended Glass Grinders
Even with all these criteria in mind, it can be difficult to find a good glass grinder for beginners.
Here are our two recommended models for difference price ranges.
Cheap Glass Grinder: Gryphon Gryphette
The Gryphette grinder is one of the cheapest glass grinders you will find that still has decent performance.
Some people use it as a grinder for mosaics, or to even the edges after cutting wine bottles.
It has a surface area of 6.75 x 6.75 inch, so you can easily store it away between projects. Although it doesn’t come with many accessories, you do have the option of buying them and upgrading your grinder.
If you are short on money, the Gryphon Gryphette is a cheap stained glass grinder that you can’t miss out on.
- RPM: 3,000
- Torque: N/A
- Surface Area: 6.75” x 6.75”
- Warranty: 5 years
High Quality Glass Grinder: Glastar SuperStar II
This grinder by Glastar is one of the most popular models amongst beginners and experienced hobbyists alike.
This grinder has an RPM of 3,450 and a torque of 19 ounces per inch. The torque is a little lower than ideal, but it still operates fine with most types of glass.
With an 8 x 9 inch work surface and weight of 7.2 pounds, it is easy to move around and store after usage.
It also comes with some nice features that normally only high-end models have such as a drain for cooling, built-in drawer for easy storage, splashguard and two grinder bits.
The Glastar SuperStar II is on our opinion the best stained glass grinder to start out with. It comes at an affordable price and is great to learn the tricks of the trade with.
- RPM: 3,450
- Torque: 19 ounce-inch
- Surface Area: 8” x 9”
- Warranty: 5 years