Picture of Cutting Wine Bottles for Glasses and Vases
This is my ripoff... er, variation on Fstedie's Drinking Glasses from Wine Bottles Instructable using a Workmate and some clamps.

I'm just going to describe another way of scribing the score line for cutting your bottle. Please see the rest of Fstedie's excellent guide for instructions on how to candle the break and smooth the cut.
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Step 1: The Jig is Up

Picture of The Jig is Up
Clamp your glass cutter to the Workmate. Leave a gap in the top a couple of inches wide.

Lay your wine bottle in the gap and adjust the glass cutter so it rests on the wine bottle. You will be rotating the bottle while pulling the bottle toward the cutter, so it needs to be snug, but as long as you have contact the fit doesn't seem to be all that critical. See the intro for a pic.

I found this nice pro style glass cutter in the gutter - the dinky little .99 cent ones may not want to clamp on as easily, so you may need to make a little cradle for yours to keep it from moving in the clamp.

Note that I got in a hurry taking pics - you'll need to remove the labels from your bottles first. You can cut above the labels for tall glasses and leave the labels intact if you like, but you'll have to be careful with the burning candle part to avoid damaging them.

If you do try some cuts with the label on, you'll probably hit "bumps" as you rotate the bottle since the sharp edge of the Workmate top will want to tear into the paper. Some masking tape wrapped around the bottle in a few places would probably fix this issue.

Step 2: Cradle to grave

Picture of Cradle to grave
Ok, figure out where you want your score line to be.

Position another clamp at the back of the bottle. I use a bigger 3' long nylon clamp for this step since it sticks up a bit higher than my one footers and makes a nice backstop for the wine bottle. Or clamp a 2x2 stick of wood back there.
simple and good method indeed.
Anne Boleyn's head, hahaha :)
jimena19763 years ago
legless3 years ago
I still have one of the old bottle cutters sold by K-Tel on the TV here in Australia 30 years ago or more. It had a frame to rotate the bottle and score it then one applied heat and if need be, rub an ice cube on it.
ilpug4 years ago
NICE. i am doing this.
stickmop (author)  ilpug4 years ago
Fun; I haven't played with this for a while. I was reading the other day about using a torch and putting the scribed bottle on a turntable to "candle" the score line. Sounded like it would be easier to heat up the line and make it crack.
feltonite4 years ago
Regarding the flame-over-the-label issue, another method of breaking the glass is to use a long tapper inside the bottle opposite the cut line.
We've done this by wrapping a nichrome wire round the bottle and then flashing the thing red hot for a few seconds by passing a huge current through it.
I've almost tried the same thing more than once. I've heard of people "cutting" bottles a similar way but have never tried it myself. I have a roll of nichrome wire and some thick liquor bottles that I'd to cut but I'm not sure how.
Any tips?
Cold glass, LOTS of current - we had a big powersupply, a car battery would work. Wrap wire ONCE, and insulate the point where the wires will cross with a piece of glass fibre tape or whatever won't melt.
Thank you sir. I'll have to give it a shot.
Make sure you wear eye protection !
Good luck.

I saw someone doing this years ago, same type of prep (I think he scored the bottle by stacking books) but to heat the score line, he wrapped it a few times with some cotton string, and then put on a few drops of lighter fluid. After lighting it on fire and letting it go a few moments, he dropped it into a bucket of water and SNAP! it was off. I like your scoring method better.
stickmop (author)  atombomb19455 years ago
I tried the lit string method years ago and never had much luck with it. I don't remember the string burning all that long so maybe that was my problem.
yztay5 years ago
put the bottle back in the gap and hold the candle underneath while rotating the candle. you mean rotate the bottle? not the candle?
stickmop (author)  yztay5 years ago
Good catch, thanks. Fixed!