Another bank holiday weekend comes around, and last night I was given an empty large Baileys Irish cream bottle by a relative, so just bashed right on with it today.
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’ve not done much in the way of bottle cutting in the last month or so as I have been busy working on a few copper foil items and also a lead came design in the class I’ve been attending. The nearest I’ve got was doing a single cut on a wine bottle to make a hurricane to send to a friend in Norway , leaving a bottom end which I bonded to a circular piece of 3mm clear again in preparation for a centrepiece for another copper-foil hanger like the last two posts. All good practise and fun though.
So it was time for a bit of a catch up on the bottles. I’d been given a green Champagne bottle on Thursday, so I cut that to make another vase. The weight of these strong and thick bottles is ideal for this use. I also cut a street salvaged Smirnoff vodka bottle for use as a vase, though the paper labels were unsaveable having been exposed for a long time to the elements.It’s still distinctive though. A large J P Chenet clear wine bottle was cut to make a pot pourri dish (front right in photo), which will be filled later. Finally, I rescued a 1.5 litre plonk bottle from the flowerbeds on the walk home from work yesterday, and cut it low to make a useful finger dish (front left in photo) , ideal for nibbles or similar use. A perfect example of a kerb to the table reworking. It’s perfect, and looks good in the flesh. Good to be back at it in earnest again using discarded materials. Next plan is looking towards christmas, with a whisky bottle I’ve had since January, which I plan to decorate and insert christmas lights.
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.