Better finishing

With a real turnaround in the weather after what has seemed like months of rain, I’ve been busy collecting more bottles from the streets , and trying to plough through quite a big backlog of bottles building up in the yard. I’ve recently passed the 100 bottles mark of bottles I’ve picked up off the streets in the ten minute walk home to and from work. Many have been reused, with surprisingly few being too badly scratched to attempt, which get recycled.

I’ve been trying to improve techniques, and really have the cutting and breaking down to a good standard now, leaving as little finishing as possible, but it still takes some time to get to a good standard that I feel happy with. I’m still astounded at how some cut bottles are presented as finished in books and on the Internet, when they are very poor and uneven. A quick rub round with sandpaper really doesn’t cut it.  I want it totally smooth, as uniform as possible and as safe as possible for an edge that is manually finished. Getting small shells on the inner surface has always proven to be the biggest problem when flatting off the cut face. It’s harder to finish the inner edges without catching a surface and leaving scratches, so these shells can leave the edge too difficult to finish to the standard that I want to achieve. I’ve been varying the method order, and started to gently edge the inside edge first, on a shallow angle at first, holding the bottle firmly on it’s side on a wooden surface to avoid movement. When I get the inside edge to a good enough standard, I move onto the outer edge, repeating the holding down technique to minimise movement. Once both edges are complete, only then do I begin to use the flat of the diamond pad to level off the width of the cut surface to remove all crater signs and level it off, creating a nicely clean , “flat and arris” style edge. This was the process that added a few edge shells to the thinner bottles, so leaving it unitl the edges are done reduces the risk dramatically. I should have worked out this sooner, but now I have, it’s producing massively better and more reliable results,  and actually reduces the time taken by around a half – a real bonus, when the finishing process is the major time consuming one compared to the cutting itself.

So there you have my process recommendation:-   inside edge, outside edge , flatting

Coca-Cola candles

After a wait of a few months to find a glass Coca Cola bottle to have another go at, I’ve been given two yesterday, so got cracking right away. The famous curved shape with ribs is good looking, but difficult to find a place to cut, with only the flat mid section any real use as a cutting point. Though it’s a packaging icon, I think you still need the logo remaining to differentiate it from a normal soda bottle cut, so there is a tight, but achievable, spot for the G2 cutter head just above the logo, under the ribs, to target. Both cuts were clean, and broke successfully using hot and cold water. The bottles were then edged off with care to leave a neat edge.

 After my first attempt at a Coca-Cola botte, which went well until I overheated the glass when attempting to level off the candle top and cracked the glass, I bought some black wax dye to try next time I got one of these bottles. I poured the wax in as far I could to keep the flame inside the glass, and left them to set. I’m still learning better techniques to try and avoid sweating on the glass surface, so I warmed the glass a little before pouring, and wrapped them in tin-foil to try and slow the cooling process down a bit. I’ve not added any fragrance in these two, as I’ve nothing suitable in at the moment, but I would imagine something on the lines of an aniseed or vanilla would work pretty well. This photo shows them just after the pour. Hopefully they will be not too sweaty or grey-ish in colour when cooled and levelled off.