The 7 Best Glass Bottle Cutters
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in May of 2016. If you tend to go through a few bottles of wine on a regular basis, here's an innovative way to put those empties to good use. These cutters let you slice your way through most glass containers, leaving you with a receptacle that can be used for all sorts of decorative and functional projects. Just be sure to take common sense safety measures, like wearing protective glasses and gloves. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 17, 2020:
Finding the right bottle cutter can be frustrating as there are many options out there that look similar but lack basic functionality that it vital when working with something so fragile as glass.
We removed the AtHomey DIY and Genround 2.1 because their design of having three support wheels has been outpaced by a better five wheel design from some other brands, and in this case more is better. Although we did keep Ephrem's Original Kit despite having the three wheels because it offers decent stability with it's adjustable backstop.
We added the Kalawen Kit to the top spot as this design takes the five support wheel concept further by making their positions adjustable to perfectly stabilize bottles of varying diameters.
The other new innovative addition, the Creator's Over-The-Top may be overkill for some, but this model has been engineered to solve a variety of challenges in bottle cutting. In addition to the pass-thru design, it changes to a vertical orientation that makes precise cuts of oddly shaped bottles easier.
Glass, Glass, Baby!
You can also heat the bottle with a candle flame and alternate with cold water.
Glass bottle cutting is a hobby enjoyed by some, a very select some I might add, and it's a unique and clever way to multipurpose bottles otherwise thrown in the trash. They can be used on a variety of glass, though beer and wine bottles seem to dominate. Unfortunately, most kits are designed for circular bottles only - sorry Jack Daniels!
The process consists of cutting a bottle across a consistently round base and then polishing it down to make a smooth edge. It is then redecorated as a candle, plant holder, or vessel for water or food. Some are sold by artisans as works of art or collected as a hobby.
The bottle cutting kit is designed to hold the bottle in place while you score the bottle. By rotating the bottle and making a straight line through out, you should have a straight cut. The bottle will most likely be still in one piece and it'll need a little more encouragement for a clean break.
One method is delicately tapping along the score line, prompting the glass to separate. This is very imprecise and usually results in small imperfections at least. The simplest method is to pour alternating hot and cold water on the crack until the break is made. This can easily be done over the kitchen sink with little time and materials.
Separation ties or rings on either side of the score line will prevent the hot water from cracking the bottle everywhere. You can also heat the bottle with a candle flame and alternate with cold water. Some kits will include a candle for this procedure, although any candle will suffice.
Now your cut is complete, however, the process it not finished. You need to sand the cut down, from a low to a high grit, to give it a polished edge. If your kit does not include emery cloth or sand paper, you will need to purchase a couple ranging from a grit of 60-2000. This is also done to prevent injuries that might ensue with an unfinished sharp edge.
What's To Know
If you are new to the glass bottle cutting process, take advantage of features included in some kits that will benefit your naiveté. Kits with many steps, warming candles, ice/hot baths, can be time consuming and hard to follow. It's better to purchase a straightforward kit. Albeit more expensive, it will serve you in time and avoid a high abandonment rate if failure is probable. The entire process of cutting one bottle should take between five to ten minutes.
If this is limiting to you in any way, I suggest you search for another model.
For the scoring of your bottles you want reliable, fixed steady blades to cut correctly. For thicker glass, the entire process takes longer due to a deeper cut. Also, the number of cutting wheels will determine how long it takes to make your cut. Keep in mind that some blades will dull, and back ups are handy. If you are new to the world of glass cutting, I suggest you get a kit second hand from a credible source.
The assembly required for some models is intimidating. A second hand model will be cheaper and perhaps you have a source to help you with the process. Some models can only accommodate small bottles, or circular bottles only. If this is limiting to you in any way, I suggest you search for another model. If possible, ask what are the limitations of the kit.
Some kits include rings or ties used for separation. They can ensure an even break on the score line, while applying the hot/cold method, although not perfect. Imperfections still exist, particularly if the cut was uneven to begin with.
If possible, a gripped foot for the model will ensure no slippage for the bottle being cut. More stability means an even cut and higher rate of success. Look for high quality rubber anchors. Did you kit include sand paper or emery cloth? If so, what grit size? If the sandpaper is not included or you are uncomfortable purchasing the right paper for the task, I suggest you purchase a kit with one included. When sanding, use with water to prevent creating a harmful dust to inhale.
History of Glass Bottle Cutting
The first attempts to cut glass bottles for recreation resulted in disaster. One of the first measures was to drip a string in kerosene, wrap it around a bottle, and set the string on fire. The bottle broke all right, but in many different directions! A similar method includes placing a heated wire around a bottle; resulting in a similar outcome.
This was short-lived, however, by the 1980's interest had waned and it was retrospectively a fad of the past.
Starting in the late 1950's and early 1960's, some restaurants in New York began to cut bottles and use them for decoration and serving water. They were using a sawlike fixture that held the bottle securely while it circumvented an even cut. By then the patrons where intrigued and through the 1970's glass bottle cutting become a craze and DIY home kits flooded the market. This was short-lived, however, by the 1980's interest had waned and it was retrospectively a fad of the past. A few bottle making companies clung on to the glory days, while some only recently emerged as the trend is picking up steam.
While glass bottle cutting hasn't reemerged with the same popularity in today's market, some artisans and hobbyists have kept the craft alive. Innovations in glass bottle cutting technology have made it easier and safer, however, one still needs to polish the edge, and imperfect breaks are common even with our advanced technology.
The future of microbreweries and DIY consumers all meshes well with glass bottle cutting. Not to mention artisans who enjoy and share their craft with others keep the culture alive. Given the recent attitude towards protecting our planet, more people are giving second thoughts to the environment and recycling and wasting less.