In this Instructable I made a drinking glass from a mid-size Grey Goose Vodka bottle (375ml or 12.68 ounces). I used the same jig I've used before with some modifications to make sure that the bottle did not wobble when it was being cut. I will describe the cutting method, the use of a candle to induce thermal shock to cleanly break the bottle and then the sanding process.
Grey Goose and Belvedere Vodka bottles make great glasses because the design is etched onto them and is not merely a decorative label. With hand washing I've never had any of the design chip off. Also both have a really nice transparent section of the bottle that creates a nice visual contrast.
These make great gifts and the cost, other than for the vodka itself, is negligible. I have made vases out of the large 1.75 liter bottles and shot glasses out of the miniatures. Minibottle Shotglasses
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- First, a word about safety
- Silica dust is associated with both lung disease and lung cancer. Description of Hazards of Silica DustUse a respirator when sanding the bottles.
- Use eye protection during all steps
- Use gloves to hold the bottle during the sanding process.
- I have never had a bottle break during the builds but still, I would caution you to keep your face a reasonable distance from the bottle.
- You will see a picture of me doing the "lip test" for smoothness. Before I take this step I have sanded the bottle to 300-1000 grit and felt for any kind of edge. I've run a cotton ball to test for snags. My reasoning for this is that I am about to use the glass to drink out of, or give it away and I want to make absolutely certain it is drinking glass smooth
- Grey Goose 375 ml bottle
- Glass cutting jig. You can find many versions on Instructables. Mine is based on this Glass Cutting Jig. I think that the most important modification I made of it is to use veneer so that the back of the bottle is perpendicular to the cutting head. Otherwise, the bottle is at a slight angle to the head and the score is suboptimal. You will see a picture of this in the step on bottle cutting. I use tape to hold the veneer because I have to move it back and forth.
- Another more recent bottle cutter plan is here: Nice bottle cutter plan
- Rotary Sandpaper Holding Bit with Velcro
- Various sanding disks starting with 60 and going to 220 grit
- Wet-dry sandpaper of at least 330 grit. I sometimes go as high as 1000
- Glass to put sandpaper on
- 3/4 inch dowel to hold a strip of 330 grit wet-dry sandpaper for final sanding
- Pitcher of ice water
- Cotton ball
Step 2: Scoring the Bottle and Inducing Thermal Shock to Separate the Top
- If you have ever taken a glass from the dishwasher and filled it with icewater and had it crack, that's thermal shock. Thermal shock is caused by uneven expansion and contraction and if there is a fault in the glass like a hairline crack, or in this case, a scored line, it will cleave along that fault.
- I modified my jig by putting a 1/8 inch piece of board on the bottom to raise the bottle up so that the cutting head was at the midway point of the bottle. Then I taped some veneer (about 1/16 inch) at the back so that the bottle would be stable and perpendicular to the cutting wheel.
- I can't emphasize enough how important it is to get ONE clean score around the bottle. The scoring needs to be continuous and most important must begin and end at the same point. In my opinion this cannot be done by hand. At least I can't do it. If the start and end points don't meet when the bottle is heated or separated it's going to cleave longitudinally, down the bottle, ruining the project.
- In this build, I used a candle flame to heat the bottle. I had been using a butane torch but the flame was so hot a couple of bottles cracked outright. Candles are slower and you will need to heat and ice more times but at least this time it seemed to cleave in the right place. Also, the candle left some soot but I expect that to wash away over time.
- Repeatedly heat the bottle right at or above the score line for about 30 seconds, turning constantly. Then dunk it ice water. Do this until you hear a distinct crack in the ice water. You might be tempted to hit the top of the bottle. That works more times than not but it also results in more rejects. Be patient. It will happen.
- When you finally cleave the top off there is going to be some jagged edges. You will note that the top is shiny. All of this gets sanded away. But be careful at this stage.
Step 3: Sanding the Glass
- Again, please use a respirator. I can't say if a dust nuisance mask is enough to filter out silica dust. Personally I would not take the chance.
- Begin with the lowest grit. In my case that was 60 grit. Gently hold the glass flat against the rotating sand paper. You will work off the big shards first and quickly. Most times they crack off and this is when you really want to be careful about not having the bottle near your face and vacuuming up the area afterwards.
- I continue with 60 grit until the glass has taken on a matte appearance completely. If there is even a speck that is shiny I continue sanding. I sand the outside and inside lips by tilting the glass.
- I hold the glass for no more than about 20 seconds at a time because I don't want the glass to get hot enough from friction to induce more thermal shock.
- I then work thru the grades of sandpaper I have. By 220 grit it is already smooth enough to run my finger over.
- I finish polishing it with wet-dry sandpaper stuck with water to a piece of glass. Today all I had was 330 grit but often I go up to 1000. This creates a smooth polished surface similar to commercial drinking glasses.
- I finally wrap a strip of 330 grit wet dry paper around a 3/4 inch dowel and use that to really polish the inside lip and the rest of the glass top.
- Finally, the lip test. After I've sanded it all, visually inspected it, Run my finger over it and then used a piece of cotton ball around the rim to make sure nothing snags I wash and dry the glass and then run it over my lip both on the inside and outside rims. Again, I figure that if I'm going to drink from it or give it away then I'm going to be my own test subject.
I hope you enjoy this Instructable and I welcome your comments and questions. This is a fun project and I've received more requests for this project from friends and family than anything else. I also think I use more caution with this project than with any other. So enjoy, stay safe, have fun.