Rescue jobs

Broken mini lampshades

Broken Shades

Occasionally, we get unusual requests from customers at work about cutting or salvaging glass items from their homes and vehicles. One such request lately was for a customer who had borrowed a lamp from somebody, but had managed to break the cylindrical glass lampshades that slotted onto the lamp. Without seeing them, I told him to bring them in and at least I could take a look.

When they arrived, they were actually really small in size, approximately 30mm in diameter, and a heat formed glass cylinder with a moulded inner base tube that slotted onto a mount. This one was going to be tricky. It was certainly going to be too small for all but one of the bottle cutters I have, but I decided to give it a go with the G2 bottle cutter.

fixedb

Fixed Shades

The G2 cutter is the most flexible cutter I have in terms of the sheer range of size it can cope with. I set it up, and felt confident it would rotate and give a clean, even cut on the shades. It did work in terms of size, but I could tell the score wasn’t too successful just by the feel of it. This is most likely for a combinations of two things. Firstly, the outer surface of the glass shades were sandblasted, which makes it a textured surface. Usually this needs a deeper and harder cut. Secondly, as the glass is a single formed piece with an internal cylinder, I’m guessing that the shades become slightly heat strengthened by the forming process, making it a tougher glass to cut, though not unbreakable clearly. The usual hot and cold method didn’t achieve anything at all in terms of getting the score to run. Time for plan B.

There was no other alternative to tap, run of snap it, so I tried an electric water-cooled tile cutter. As the glass was quite thin (<3mm), the tile cuter was way too brutal to cut these shades. All it achieved was giving me a good soaking. Time for Plan C.

The last remaining chance was to turn to my glass grinder that I use for stained glass making. This would be tricky and time consuming to get the very jagged edges down to being as close to a flat cylinder edge as original, but I gave it a go.

The Lamp

The Lamp

The glass ground well, and using the grid lines on the grinder top, I got the three cylinders down to as flat an edge as I visibly could, which is not easy when you consider it’s a cylinder and you are using a round rotating grinder head. They were so erratically broken, I cut them to just below their lowest breaks, leaving three distinctly different height cylinders. This was as good as I could do, without spending all night grinding. I figured it would look good as the lamp stalks were three different heights anyway, and I could place them to suit the best look. I finished the tops of with the hand diamond pads, to give them as good an flat and arrissed edge as I possible could. The internal edges were too small to do anything with, but I was satisfied they were as safe as I could get them with the grinder.

End result

End result

All in all, I’m quite satisfied in how it went, as the job was really just a ‘make best or bin’ gamble with what had become a damaged and unsafe lamp. It looks pretty good in the end, and was a fun little challenge to do. I don’t mind tackling something like this, as you’ve nothing to loose, and it’s good experience with bottle cutting skills on objects other than bottles. A worthwhile and interesting task.

 

Jaribu bottle top stem

Patrick Lehoux, the creator of the Kinkajou bottle cutter, has launched a very interesting looking second project on kickstarter.com to enhance the bottle cutting experience, namely a bottle neck stem which he has called The Jaribu. Jaribu You read and see more of the project on The Jaribu Kickstarter page.

The idea is to manufacture a stable and hygienic base which allows you to utilise the often redundant neck sections of cut bottles, and make them into glassware. As is often the case, the beauty and success of such ideas is the simplicity of design and execution. The tapered stem will fit and seal a great number of bottle neck styles and sizes, allowing the necks to be used as funky drinking glasses, while offering a stable base footing. They will also be very useful to make small vases for cut flowers and table centrepieces.

What I really like about the designs are the very attractive base and colours, and the benefits of a removable base for hygienic cleaning compared to fixed glass bottom glasses on many  go without saying. It’s not easy to clean down a bottle neck that is permanently sealed off, even with bottle brushes, and this way also keeps glass glues away from the consumed liquids. With a removable stopper, you can simply replace the bottle neck in the event of a breakage, which is a big plus. I’ve tried one of the commercially made beer bottle glasses at a relative’s house, and they are nice looking and perfectly fine, but this gives the hobbyist a chance to make some interesting products in a very sustainable way. It gives the idea of an upturned bottle glass a much cleaner and more modern look than those ugly bottle bottom bases you see in the few books on the subject.

It’s no surprise to see that the project has already massively smashed it’s initial fundraising target of $15,000, with almost 700 backers pledging nearly $50,000 already. I’ve backed it, and look forward to trying them out after launch. Looks like Patrick is well onto the way of another very successful product, enhancing the bottle-cutting experience a great deal.

Sauce bottle

The beauty of having more than one type of cutter is that it can give you a greater range of options in terms of bottle cutting heights and diameters. A few small bottles have been too narrow in diameter to fit onto the Ephrem’s cutter, but this is where the G2 cutter steps in nicely. One such bottle that I’ve been waiting to start on, when I finally emptied it, was a Sarsons Worcester Sauce bottle, which has a narrow neck with a lid ridge at the top, and an almost  flat shoulder above a cylindrical body. I thought the neck and shoulders would make a great base, and that the body would be fine on top of it.

Worcester SauceFirstly, the bottle was soaked to remove the label, and the drip lid was removed with the point of a screwdriver. The bottle was then cleaned thoroughly with hot water to remove the last of the sauce remains prior to cutting. The round of the shoulder of the bottle actually forms a clear step-in of less than 1mm onto the cylinder of the body, which gives it a distinctive line, but also makes it slightly awkward to cut. You don’t want it much lower, as it might make the base foot look odd, but too close might add risk to the cut as a good score line is especially important on a small bottle, and I noticed there was a slight variation in the bottle on a test spin with the cutter. I pushed it as high as I could, and hoped for the best. The scoreline was good, though close to the change in angle, so I took plenty of time to run the cut with the hot and cold water. I warmed the bottle slowly around the full diameter, and then quenched it under the cold. On close inspection, It had ran cleanly and fully, and separated perfectly on the next warming. The body of the glass was surprisingly thick at around 3mm, and more substantial to work with than most beer bottles.

The clean breaks were gently arrissed down in 3 stages with increasingly finer grade diamond pads, and then scrubbed clean and dried. The base was then UV glued onto the neck top. Though the base was largely embossed with numbers, they actually didn’t hinder a central position for the narrow neck. The UV torch was used initially for speed, but as it was clear glass, I left it in the window for the day to fully cure naturally.

Worcester

The narrow body with it’s internal opening diameter of about 42mm is a really great fit for most tea-lights. All in all, a very nice little bottle to work on with an attractive end result. The neck and shoulders really make it work. It goes to show that you should keep an eye on all your glass containers for potential use, including sauce bottles and jars, and not just the more usual beer and wine bottles. I’m looking at all the condiment bottles and jars  when shopping now.