I was asked to cut down a Grey Goose vodka bottle to help replace a broken one from a set someone had. I wasn’t mad keen, as I’ve been really focused on the copper-foil designs with my spare time, but I agreed out of curiosity of what the bottles were like as a one-off favour. I’d seen these bottles used a lot for bottle cutting state-side, but not had one to try before. There’s not a lot of range of where to cut due the nature of the etched design, with around 15mm window of flat bottle just above the goose’s head. I decided to give the Kinkajou cutter a go on this one, and the cut went ok, but on water fracturing there was a tiny run showing, which had to be flatted out quite deeply with the pads. This is where the lack if space hinders a second lower cut to get a perfect flat. The end result was still pretty good in the end though, though I have done better. It was interesting to try, and the etched finish stood up to the process, though I was very careful to avoid scratching and rubs.
The bottles are very dark olive green in colour, and hardly passes any light through the glass, even in direct sunlight. This makes it limited for use with candles, for example using it as a hanger or a hurricane. The bottom of the bottle has a rotation stopping dimple in it above the level of the Baileys embossed text at the bottom of the bottle, so that leaves it hard to chop for a centre without having to go very deep in to the bottle. Best use for it is the simplest one – a straight forward chop at the top to make a heavyweight vase or pot.
These thick bottles can be pretty easy to do once you’ve had a few goes. The weight of the glass needs a big thermal shock to break through cleanly to leave a flattish surface, so you don’t have to spend an excessive amount of time finish it. This requires a big heat to split, so needs to have a very clean cut to avoid breaking poorly. The G2 cutter is ideal for the job. I cut a clean, light score with the G2, and gave it a long heat (about 10 rotations) in hot water just off the boil, then a quick full rotation under a running cold tap to shock it. A second hot water pour split the bottle very cleanly indeed, leaving a flat surface that only needed about 20 minutes work with 3 grades of diamond pad (125/400/800 grit) to leave a very smooth, symmetrical and neat finish indeed. A simple bottle cut to make a useful, solid pot for no real cost other than a half hour of time.
I obtained a heavyweight Cava bottle, deep olive in colour with a corked neck and a punted bottom.This would have made a great hanging light, but because of the shape, I wanted to make another cut flower vase, as I had done earlier with a similar shaped wine bottle. The extra weight would make for a particularly sturdy vase. This would require only one clean cut, so not exactly taxing or imaginative, but I want to use the bottle to it’s best possible re-use.
I wanted the cut to be well up the curve of the neck to help emphasise the curving nature of the vase shape, hopefully leaving an opening of around 40-50mm diameter. I selected my point, using the G2 bottle cutter to see where I could get a clean clearance on the cutting wheel without fouling, and set up to get a clean score line. The glass was pretty flawless, with a reasonably clean seam, so scored well. I used my regular hot water method to run the score, and as the glass was thick, I kept the water temperature quite high around 80 degrees celsius. I gave the bottle at least five full revolutions to ensure the glass was really warmed up well, and I could feel the heat coming through to my grip at the bottom of the bottle. A quick revolution of the bottle under the cold tap ensured the line of break was fully complete and visible under reflection in the light. A second pour of hot water separated the neck with a pretty clean edge, sloping inwards as is the case when cutting on the curve.
The glass was up to 6mm thick, and I took almost an hour to very carefully finish the edge using the diamond blocks, as I wanted another perfect example. the opening size was around 50mm, so was a tricky fit for the pads, but care taken ensured a great end result, with the one edge pit eliminated, and the inward sloping edge retained. With the great colour, heavy weight, and good surfaces, this bottle became a great looking yet very functional vase.
Lately, I’m just continuing to explore everyday bottles and styles to see which are practical to cut down and make use of, further continuing the ethos of using a free source of glass, and keeping things as ‘green’ as possible by second use.
Another piece of glassware that someone donated to try was a Sarson’s Vinegar bottle, which has a long established teardrop shape. The flat bottom and long tapered neck make this bottle a perfect candidate for a cut high up the neck to form a nice shape for a small cut flower vase.
The label was removed, and I used the G2 cutter to score the neckline. The curved shape of the bottle prohibits using the Ephrem’s horizontal cutter, and this is where the G2 comes into it’s own. I used a carefully directed pour of hot water onto the score, rotating it several times over the sink to get some temperature into the glass. I then doused it under a cold running tap, rotating the bottle to get a complete and visible break in the score line. This is my preferred and most successful method of cutting bottles. Another pour of hot water on the score then separates the two parts very cleanly.
With the high cut line, the opening is quite small, so very careful edging with the diamond pads is required to avoid and unsightly chips or scratches. A clean cut is a bonus here, leaving little work to do, so the end result, seen here to the right, was very satisfactory. Another example of everyday packaging on a simple low-cost item that can be used for something else before it hits the recycling bin.
I’m making a copper-foil stained glass design for my mam, but it’s not going to be ready for about a month as it is being done in an evening class, so thought I may as well just make something simple in the mean time for her back room conservatory to go with the same old box of chocolates on Mother’s day. It’s teatime of the night before, so quick and simple is the plan. Out to the stockpile of bottles in the yard I go for a quick assessment, and I plump for an olive curved wine bottle that I only got this last week.
It has a curved shoulder, which is something I’m practising more and more cuts on using the G2 cutter. These have been problematical so far, as you are less likely to hit the same spot on rotation due to the lean on the cutter as you move it around. Also the shape has proven a big problem when heating and breaking the glass, with a lot of stress being released, particularly on the blue bottles I’ve tried so far. Ever determined to crack it, I still went for an optimistic cutting point, and adjusted the cutter to give me the best chance of a clean score line. It went well, as I’ve learned to avoiding pulling down too much, and employ a firmer side grip to keep the head on track. This left no more than about one third of a millimetre between the start and finish heights before joining. Hopefully the score would break cleanly enough to edge easily, and so it proved, with some milder fracture craters, that didn’t need too much edging with the various grade diamond blocks to come up clean and smooth.
I’ve put a few artificial flower stems in it to show the overall look of a higher cut wine bottle. Really simple, about 30-40 minutes work at most. It will be something to decorate the conservatory windowsill for spring.
I’ve not come across blue glass quite so easily since I started cutting bottles, and am always keen to get more as the results look good. I could go out and buy blue glass bottle products, of course, but that’s kind of defeating the object of having a free cost material to work with.
I received a second blue bottle of Ty Nant spring water, which is a teardrop shaped glass bottle with a long narrow neck. The first one I tried turned out to be a bit of a disaster, and ran in all sorts of directions, including in straight vertical lines down the bottle when heated, which is something I’ve not come across before. Four attempts to salvage something from the bottle with fresh spaced cuts down the bottle all failed and it was a dead loss. I was left wondering if the shape of the bottle was a problem in terms of adding stress to the glass, as the straight runs particularly at the neck curve were quite explosive under the warm water pouring. Or was it maybe a peculiarity of heating blue glass, as I had also a lot of problems with the Blue Nun bottles, which were regular cylindrical shapes, though quite uneven. Time will tell as I learn more through practise, but blue glass is something I’m going to attempt very carefully to try to increase the chances of success than I’ve had so far.
So on my second attempt at a Ty Nant blue bottle, I first tried to remove about 80mm from the narrow neck at the top, using the G2 cutter. I positioned the cutting wheel so there was a clear contact , though this was not so easy given the curving nature of the glass. The score line was good, and I began to gently heat the glass with the hot water for a couple of rotations. Then on quenching under a cold running tap, the reflection of a clean break could be seen, but not all the way around, and by then the temperatures had fallen, so it was back to reheating. This is the point where it is more vulnerable, as a single clean break all the way round first time seems to produce the best results. On the second quench, it began to run off, so I stopped immediately, and dried the bottle for a second cut further down the bottle.
Second time around was successful, as can be seen from the photo above. I left a good 40mm or so from the failed cut, as I knew the likelyhood of a vertical split was high. I heated the glass gently, but for longer, and got a visible break first time all the way round the circumference under quenching. A second gentle heating then cleanly separated the two halves. I edged down the top very carefully and patiently indeed, using three grades of diamond pads in a bowl of warm water. I really didn’t want any slips, and subsequent scratches to spoil this piece. It went well, and I’ve got another very attractive blue glass item. It makes for a good vase (140mm high, around 80-90mm wide).