Instructables
Picture of Want to cut wine bottles?  Build this jig!
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I wanted to recycle some old wine bottles into glasses and chandeliers.  I have seen a lot of online tips about how to buy a jig to make the cut,  sand the glass with a dremel, etc.  But why buy a $20-30 jig that you can make yourself?  Here are directions for an easy, solid jig using a cheap stained glass cutter and a few other supplies from your local hardware store.
 
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
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I purchased everything at Lowe's

1. A glass cutter (commonly used for stained glass). I already had one but you can get it for $4 
2. 1/4" x 6" x 3'  pine board $3 each (buy two) or one 4' length if you can find it
3. 5/16" glvanized wire rope clip $0.88 each (buy two) 
4. Wood glue (I like Titebond II, $3 for 4 oz)
5. optional 5/16" washers $0.08 each

Total cost: about $12 if you already own the glue
Total time: 1 hour of Making time + 2 hours waiting for glue to dry.

Tools: I don't have a garage in San Francisco, so I made this at the Techshop (SF) where I used a bandsaw, clamps and belt sander (optional).


Step 2: Cut things

Picture of Cut things
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1. Cut approximately 8" lengths of the pine board (cut 5 of these).  I don't love to measure so this is approximate.  Just make your board length's about 2" longer than your glass cutter tool.

2. In two of these 8" pieces, cut a v-shape (right triangle) at one end. Make these identical.  The v shape should be big enough to accomodate at least half the diameter of your wine bottle. 

I used a bandsaw because it is so fast and easy and precision is not important here.  As a wise man once said, "don't let your project turn into an anal-retentive-neurotic-nightmare".  Ok, he said this about making beer but I like to keep it in mind pretty much all the time.

3. Use your wine bottle to mark approximately where it contacts your v-shape. 
acoens made it!5 months ago

This works really well! Thanks for sharing :-)

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tekaka2 years ago
last year i made this for a friend. works well, if not aplied with too much preasure. Yours seems more stable, thanks,
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BOBCARVER tekaka6 months ago

DO YOU HAVE ANY DRAWING SHOWING JUST HOW THIS IS MADE I REALLY THING IT IS IDEAL FOR WHAT I NEED.

txmediator @ yahoo.com

I like your design, tekaka! I always seem to have trouble getting a consistant score. with this design I could put a specific weight on the handle and get the same pressure every time.
andrea biffi10 months ago
great project!
malbotia2 years ago
I love this ible. I am going to attempt a modified version of this that allows adjustment so the bottles can be cut at different lengths. I am going to use the wood piece with the V cut and glass cutter and also the back V cut piece and the solid piece it is glued to. Instead of gluing solid pieces for the sides I am gonna try to use 4 long bolts secured with nuts going through each corner of the front and back planks so that the back plank can be slid closer to the cutter by adjusting the nuts and sliding it forward then tightening the nuts again. I will post an update with results once I am finished. My only concern is that the bolts will not hold the ends straight and may allow the jig to slant.

Sort of like this:
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You can keep this design but add one board on either side screwed only to the back board that extends just slightly beyond the furthest point you plan to extend it, as well as a small board placed between the two sides about midway down on the bottom.
Alekij malbotia2 years ago
Great idea! That's exactly what I thought: "What about different bottle-sizes?"
Thanks.
That's a great idea but I feel like it probably will slant a bit, even if you do utilize the jam-nut idea from Sch8611. I built a jig very similar to this one and used old feed rods from printer toner cartridges (they're good steel and should be stockpiled by anybody who makes stuff like this...) as traverse rods for the cutter. A small jig like the one used in this 'ible rides along the rods and clamps in place wherever I want the cut to go, making the adjustment of the whole assembly unnecessary. Also, I used a pair of old skateboard trucks bolted face-to-face to hold the wine bottle so it would spin nice and smooth. It works wonderfully.
Try using 12 nuts, 3 on each bolt. Then, you can use one to tighten to the bolt head end to keep it from being loose and the other 2 on either side of the other board to do the same. If you're worried about the nuts moving you could wrap rubber bands or tape just below/ above them to stop the extra movement. I haven't tried it, but in theory it should work.
grammers (author)  malbotia2 years ago
How did it work?
glopines1 year ago
Gracias, gracias, gracias, no te imaginas lo que llevaba intentando hacer una maquinilla de corte con calor y electricidad, pero esto me parece mucho mas practico, económico y facil
jpaddle21 year ago
Great idea , n make sure to were safe glovesd
jasonsj1 year ago
just an UPGRADE... make a smaller V cut on the uncut board just to make the neck of the bottle fit, so you can also place the bottle upside down on the cutter. you can also add some lock so you can stuck the neck in the smaller V cut in order to avoid any sliding of the bottle from the cutting axis. hopeI can make a similar to yours with this upgrades and post a picture of it. GREAT PROYECT!!!
cjs12981 year ago
I think a good idea would to add a bottom and have U-bolts to ground the bottles into place.
Phoghat1 year ago
I thank you and the 2 dozen blue wine bottles in my workroom thank you. Not to mention my wife.
grammers (author)  Phoghat1 year ago
You are very welcome!
Wilmette1 year ago
This is yours too?
I want to make it; but, in fact, there are too many nice glasses so readily and cheaply available in thrift stores that I cannot justify the project.
One suggestion is that you advertise how you use corner clamps. Until I started using them, I despaired of simple joints. Bandsaws and jigsaws are wonderful, but the new oscillating tools make these projects possible without a shop.
droid19362 years ago
Thanks, without you instructable I could never make my lamp
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grammers (author)  droid19361 year ago
Looks great!! Thanks for sharing your picture.
profpat2 years ago
great jig,

i usually tie a wire around the bottle and heat the wire with a candle or torch, then place the heated wire and bottle under the tap with water running. it makes a crack on the bottle where the wire touches..

but this one is easier!
I've seen where someone used a nichrome wire and heated it electrically to cut a lot of bottles. seems like a sweet idea to me.
grammers (author)  profpat2 years ago
How does the cut look? Your way sounds really simple.
could not complete the task in one try.. sometime i have to heat the wire again, also some times the cut is not perpendicular... :-(
grammers (author)  profpat2 years ago
So far, with this jig, the most important thing seems to be making a perfect score-line. If I am slow and careful it lines up perfectly and I get a very good cut. Sometimes there is a slight notch (as in the cup picture I posted) but that is easily smoothed out. If I am too fast, sometimes I get a bad score and big notches. But, luckily, there are nearly unlimited bottles to use in my recycling.
acpoknight2 years ago
Great 'ible. I built this jig last weekend for a friend. Took one of the commenters idea and used my drill press to line up 4 holes and then cut threaded rods to insert in the holes. Put stop nuts on the one side, and then 3 wing nuts on each rod to hold the two pieces of wood tight. I did not glue the 4 side to the other three (the one with the cutter attached). It slides nicely and allows full adjustment of the height of the cut. thanks for the ideas everyone, it really works well, and all in at lowes for the material was about $26. I'll post pics if i can ever get it back from my friend.
rwomble2 years ago
Used this to make my own. Great instructable. Mine was a bit more crude but got the job done nicely. We've been using these instructions to break the glass after the score. We're getting about 50% rather than the 95% this guy quotes, but we're learning.

http://goo.gl/0xOgG

Awesome work!
Just made the jig recently and used the video link above as my method to cut the glass once I score it! A+! It's easy and quick - now to sanding.
Have You tried this with square bottles?
grammers (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
I have not tried it with square bottles. At first when I read your question I thought of course that wouldn't work. But now I'm thinking it depends on the size of the square.
brandon832 years ago
a great idea to use both ends of the bottle would be to make one of these. the only trick would be that the spout of the bottle needs to sit just on top of the bump on the underside, to keep it stable.

this one is market as a 'Grow Bottle' and they do sell recharge kits that include clay pebbles and a felt wick, as well as some seeds.
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grammers (author)  brandon832 years ago
Thanks Brandon, I am going to make some of these.
agis682 years ago
Excellent simplicity and poductive idea....thnx....from me 5/5....do you remember the cutter model...or can someone recomend me (from ebay) one best value/reliability glass cutter?
grammers (author)  agis682 years ago
My cutter was from a stained glass class. It is a "Fletcher Gold Tip Ball-End Wheel Cutter", one of the most basic cutters. Available online for $4 or at most stained glass stores. Lowe's carries one that looks just like it, also $4 but I haven't tried that particular model (made by "Warner").
agis68 grammers2 years ago
ok thanks allready ordered.....i had one but broke and i make stain glass vitreux
agis68 agis682 years ago
my sample works in staned glass
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Your stained glass work is amazing!! I also work with stained glass and always enjoy seeing the work of other artists.

Beth
I use to do this for living during my second degree in electronics. From these iwas good to pay my room, food, and study books....I had production 1-2 artifacts per month....and i had a studio at the end just for this!!!!!!


thnx

One day i will make a complete instructable about this
grammers (author)  agis682 years ago
I love it!
sharkh2o2 years ago
I work in a frame shop and I cut glass daily. For cutting glass olive oil is your best friend. We keep our glass cutters soaking in a jar with the cutting wheels covered in about 1/4" olive oil. We take them out only to cut and then back in the oil they go. I've been cutting glass for 10 years now and have never had a single miscut or broken piece yet! Get some olive oil on that cutter and you'll see what I mean :)
n0ukf sharkh2o2 years ago
For diamond point (instead of wheel) glass cutters, is there any benefit at all to oiling or is this only to lubricate the wheel's rotation?
sharkh2o n0ukf2 years ago
No, the oil is for the wheel. Without oil the wheel often locks up and drags across the glass scraping it instead of scoring it. I haven't used diamond cutters but I would image that they don't need the oil.
grammers (author)  sharkh2o2 years ago
Yeah, I always use olive oil and I get great cuts as well.
you sure have magic hands. this is an incredible project.
Brosiman2 years ago
Very simple and great instructable,also well and entertaining written!
godbacon2 years ago
I have made a simular jig. Mine was vertical.
To break the line you've scored on the out side of the bottle; glue a wooden beed to a length of wire coat hanger and bend it a bit. Inserts it into the bottle, and Then tap line you scored. A wine cork pushed onto the length of coat hanger can act as a stop if you are cutting all your bottles to the same length.
I like this, well presented and inspiring, well done. I've become quite accomplished at the hot kettle/cold water tap method, its really pleasing when the bottom just falls of. I think this jig will help me scoring technique now
angelabchua2 years ago
Great I'ble! Found it featured on Lifehacker! Awesome that your first instructable got featured!
grammers (author)  angelabchua2 years ago
I know! Thanks for the support. I'm feeling a lot of pressure to come up with more fun ideas.
tim_n2 years ago
What's best to smooth the edges so you don't slice up your mouth when using them as cups?

Thanks for the Jig!
grammers (author)  tim_n2 years ago
This is actually my first time making these and the only method I have tried personally is using a dremel tool. It worked great and took about 15 minutes per cup. I used a diamond bit followed by sand paper bit and a polishing wheel. If you happen to have a very hot torch, you could try to smooth the edge that way. People seem to have a lot of suggestions online but the dremel was the easiest for me with limited tools and space.
SIRJAMES092 years ago
I like this DIY Jig for cutting bottles...

It's easy to make if you have basic skill in wood working, it does not take a lot of time to build, and best of all, even if you have to buy ALL the materials, it's still better made than the ones for sale on the internet or in stores....and prolly cheaper cost too.

TY for sharing Sir. 5 stars!!
mkreszan2 years ago
Much easier. Place oil in bottle up to the level you want to cut. Then enter in bottle an iron heated to red.
that will result in a fractured cut...
what I mean is, you will not get a clean cut more than 1 x for every 250 bottles you try to cut....

Mr.Rojas idea is better....and this ible alone is better
What are you talking about?
EmcySquare2 years ago
So good!
4 stars and favoured

Also you might benefit from this GREAT video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFXngPx3w3M&list=PL773F41DE95CE80FA&index=8&feature=plpp_video
I was looking through his other videos(300+ videos in all) and WOW! this uy really believes in what he's doing!!

TY for sharing the video Sir.
Jose has a good system and an interesting cat.
jkarle11062 years ago
A $68 Skil tile saw does a wonderfull job. Mine is a left over from a DIY kitchen tile job. A real bonus is you can do an amazing number of compound angles.
oppie2 years ago
Having done some stained glass work in the past, one good trick is to take a piece of glass scrap and scrape it against the sharp edges. Do this sharp edge against sharp edge. Both pieces are hard and will do a good job of removing sharp edges. If you are doing any kind of grinding with a dremel or the like, keep the heat down or you will get more cracks. Short light passes folowed by cooling time. A wet saw like one used for cutitng tile is great.
Again, taking from stained glass work, adhesive backed copper foil applied over the edges gives a nice effect. Whether you let it oxidize for a nice patina or you tin it with a soldering iron and solder is up to you.
menahunie2 years ago
I did this many many years ago. To separate the bottle top after scoring it I used a hot wire.
You had to be careful because of the hot wire - same type they use in electric heaters, but straight.
Hooked the loop around where it was scored stepped on the foot switch and turned the bottle around; the halves just fell apart.
Also you have to sand the sharp edges dull around the lip.


dewexdewex2 years ago
I saw a rig at my old college for applying the heat: A small horizontal turntable with a gas jet on a stand which could be positioned to the required height. The glass was centred and spun with the flame pointed at the score line.

Thx for the instructable.
flyingpuppy2 years ago
Excellent low tech solution to cutting a bottle. Only drawback is that you can't adjust the location of the cut. Can you combine your idea with my low-tech glass cutting idea using a cake pan and tape?
jmrnavydoc2 years ago
Really like the idea and am going to try and build it.. Just going to add to it too. I'm trying to figure out the best way to make the "v" with the glass cutter be able to slide while staying parallel so I can change the depth of the glasses on a whim... 4 metal dowel bolts and wing nuts to secure on each side? But that won't necessarily maintain the v's being parallel, just first thought that came to mind. Any ideas are welcome!
Don't need to get into rocket science here. The key is to have something stable enough to make the score on the bottle join up at its beginning and end. Cutter angle is not critical. Parallel V's are not critical.
I have used a piece of angle iron, a C clamp, and cutter held by hand. It works just fine.
grammers (author)  jmrnavydoc2 years ago
I thought about putting another piece of board down the center of the jig with tracks for the clamps. So the clamps would be at a 90 degree plane to their current orientation. This would allow you to change the length of the glasses. I can draw a picture if this doesn't make sense. I didn't need it for my project and this was just basically proof of principle without getting too fancy. Let me know how it works and post a picture please!
bterps2 years ago
You could also make some wood spacer blocks to adjust the distance of the cutter giving you more freedom to make different sizes.
Transquesta2 years ago
Nice, short, sweet, simple. The best kind of 'able.
bowlingb2 years ago
Excellent jig! One question though. Why buy 2 boards if you are cutting 5 pieces at 8" each? 5 x 8" = 40" and a single 4' board is 48" long which should be more than enough.

To make the jig semi adjustable for length use screws from the outside through predrilled holes to hold the board that has the cutter. By drilling holes at various distances along the sides you can move the cutter board to get the glass height you want.
grammers (author)  bowlingb2 years ago
Thanks bowlingb and good point. It was a typo. The "craft board" I used was actually 3' long. But if you can find a 4' board you would only need one.
raviolikid2 years ago
Good directions enhanced with very clear photos. I want to make one, too - but first, I gotta drink some wine.

Cheers!
grammers (author)  raviolikid2 years ago
That is a very good point. Drinking a bottle of wine should have been step one!
f5mando2 years ago
Excellent 'ible! I love that so many others have tried this and come up with other cat-skinners, too. Mk II and Mk III..
*If you haven't bought Goo Gone yet, use mineral spirits. It does the same thing for less money.
dbbd2 years ago
Very nice project. Big like!
V8ACCobra2 years ago
My Dad used to make Truck diesel filter bowls just fill bottle or a glass to level where cut is required and stick a red hot poker in Voila!!!! glass will crack all way round oil level be sure to wear goggles and gloves and take every safety tip possible and do it outside.
octochan2 years ago
Coolness! I wonder if there's a way to adjust the jig for different sized bottles?
Turning the finished cut upside down on a piece of wet/dry fine sand paper with a little water for lubricant and turning the piece in a circular motion will ensure a uniform flat edge.
paganwonder2 years ago
Elegant use of parts in a way that was not intended by their designer. The mark of an excellent 'ible!
I like the idea very much, and have made a similar jig using wheels.The problem that I foresee with a jig like this is that it does not give me the freedom to change the distance from the bottom of the bottle.

Under the assumption that the bottle type is the same, this is a brilliant jig.
DonnerGirl2 years ago
Glad to see that this worked out and thanks for posting all the process shots! (I'm the girl who was using the table saw who is also planning to make glasses out of bottles some day.)

See you around TechShop again, hopefully.
grammers (author)  DonnerGirl2 years ago
No way! I can't believe you happened across this Instructable! When are you going to throw your project up here? It looked a lot fancier than this jig.
grammers (author) 2 years ago
FYI. This makes glasses of one length. But without any additional construction, you can flip the cutter to the outside of the jig to make your cups about 1" taller. In addition, if you have a different size cup in mind, just build your jig accordingly (using slightly wider board-stock).
rimar20002 years ago
Clever!
SeamusDubh2 years ago
Instead of trying to break it like you would flat glass.
Try slowly pouring boiling water over the cut area and then pour some cool water.
It creates just enough of a thermal expansion to cleanly fracture the cut.
Also only spin and etch the bottle once, trying to make the line deeper/heavier will just give you a jagged edge.
When I do it without the tile-saw(yes, I usually cheat),
I drop an ice cube in the neck of the bottle(special "water bottle" ice tray to fit through the neck).
Then run the bottle cut-line under a steady drizzle of steaming hot tap water while spinning. The water heats the whole score pretty well, and the ice inside provides plenty of thermal shock to propagate the crack.

Yet another method, in addition to the hundreds already out there. Just my favorite, since there's no back and forth, and i can keep a hand on each half of the bottle. Pulling slightly apart helps, IMO. Just a little tension helps the crack run free. otherwise you have to OVERLY heat and cool. Not an issue with the strong, thick wine bottles, but thin American beer bottles will quickly find ANY flaw in your technique.
grammers (author)  SeamusDubh2 years ago
Agreed!
ironsmiter2 years ago
"its possible to just place your cup, top edge face down in a bowl of sand and twist in the sand"

Possible, yes, but it's gonna take a LOT of twisting.

If you're gonna try this, I'd make a jig to hold the bottle, and use a junk record player to rotate the bowl of sand. Turn it on, and walk away for a few hours.
mischka2 years ago
I already have a jig for cutting bottles, but your diy-jig is much cooler.
grammers (author)  mischka2 years ago
Thanks!
prestux2 years ago
Very Nice!