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Some Wheelcut Glass InfoBits:
Glasscutting was done with great sophistication during the times of the Roman Empire and even earlier. We use the same techniques today, but with modern equipment.

During World War I, the need for lead and metals for ammunition and machines halted the production of 'brilliant' cut-glass in the United States. Today, it is making a strong come-back and will again find appreciation and enthusiasts as new works of quality emerge.

There is a variety of glass that can be used for cutting:

plate glass of various thickness',
lead crystal for awards and sculptures,
and handblown glass for vases, sculptural objects, etc. to name a few.

The possibilities for ideas is endless!

Some Technical Descriptions:
Cut-glass is a 'coldworking' technique. The glass is cut and shaped while it is cold rather than hot, as in glassblowing, fusing or bending glass. In cut-glass, the main tool is a Stationery Lathe, which is a shaft with a spindle. On the spindle, you attach different wheels with different profiles and textures.

The wheels are seperated into four categories:

medium polish and then,
optical polishing.

The profiles of the wheels are responsible for the shape of the cut on the glass.

For example:
If the wheel has the profile of a 'V', then your cut is a 'v-groove' on the glass. It is possible to shape the wheels to any profile imaginable, which in turn, opens a wide range and variety of design possibilities.

The first two stages of glass cutting, roughing and smoothing, are done with the aid of water, which cools the glass and prevents 'heat cracks' and flying particles. The final two stages of medium and optical polishing are achieved with the help of cork, wood and felt wheels. A constant application of pumice and then, cerium oxide is applied to the wheels. Both of these compounds are mixed in water to also prevent cracks and dust.

Since a Stationery Lathe is used to do all of the cutting, regardless of its' size and thickness, each panel is hand carried and held over the lathe, at times with the help of a vacuum cup attached to a pulley system.

To have a finished cut, you must go through all of the above stages. Cut-glass is a time consuming technique demanding precision and patience. In cut-glass, the beauty derives mostly from the prismatic effects the cuts will give once light travels through it. All of the cuts have a different optical effect, which altogther are composing a 'brilliant visual symphony'.

Summary of the steps taken to create a cut-glass panel:

Creating a design using sketches and full scale drawing
Marking the design on the glass
Roughing the cuts with Silicon Carbide wheels
Smoothing the cuts with Ceramic based wheels
Pumice polishing with solid wood or solid cork wheels
Cerium Oxide polishing with fine felt wheels.

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