Intro: How to Use a Wet Tile Saw to Cut Glass Bottles
Please pardon the less than stellar photos in this Instructable.
It was created years ago when I had nothing but an inexpensive
digital camera. I hope to update it soon with much better images.
After purchasing numerous gadgets and widgets to cut glass
over the years, I finally discovered the joys of using a wet tile saw.
They are inexpensive, easy to operate and in my opinion, fun to use.
If you are in need of a straight cut on a glass bottle, especially
a wine bottle, this is right up your alley!
No wires, no candles or flame, no torches or shattered glass after
all that work.
As my intention for the cut glass is for a later project, if you seek only
to cut the top from a wine bottle to use as a glass, you'll find step #3 to
be what you need. Be sure to file, torch or otherwise smooth down the
sharp edges before using it as a drinking vessel.
Be sure to check out Fstedie's instructable for making drinking glasses out of wine bottles, too!
Step 1: The Basics of a 7" Wet Tile Saw...
While wine bottles can be used for various things, this
tutorial is basically aimed at cutting the tops off.
Hopefully, this Instructable will have you wishing and wanting a tile saw yourself.
Fear not, they are not as scary as you think, are very inexpensive, and may even be
in your garage already.
This tutorial is based on use of a 7" QEP wet tile saw. Many home improvement
stores offer wet tile saws; which are intended for use in cutting tiles for mosaic
and other projects such as backsplashes, counter tops, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
It is an electrically operated saw which works with water.
While I have used a standard, inexpensive blade intended for tiles, there is a
blade available which is called a diamond blade. Let me reassure you that use of
the word 'blade' is not what it sounds like. In fact, it is nothing like an actual saw
blade with teeth or sharp edges, it is rough to the touch, though. Naturally one would
want to exercise caution with any power tool, so it is always a good idea to keep
your fingers away from the cutting wheel while in operation.
After familiarizing yourself with the initial operation of the saw itself, we'll
bring in the bottles, complete with pictures for each step.
For those who haven't any common sense, allow me to remind you of the
need to be of sound mind with all your senses in check before proceeding. In
other words, consumption of the bottle contents is fine, just not while doing this
Put on some clothing you don't mind getting dirty and wet,
grab your safety glasses, ear plugs and let's have fun!
Step 2: Choosing Your Bottles...
In choosing a bottle to cut on your tile saw, keep in mind that lumpy, bumpy
or odd shaped bottles are a little more difficult to cut straight.
Shown in this post are examples of different bottle shapes.
At left is a bottle shape typically used for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Note the bottle shape allows for slightly over half the bottle
length to be cut into rings easily. Once you begin cutting into the
angled neck of the bottle, it is more difficult to keep the bottle flat
and straight, thus you must rely on your hands to hold the bottle straight
for cutting. Please note, you can use rings of all different shapes and
The bottle in the middle is often bears Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux
blends and such. The shape allows for more straight cutting and a taller
cylinder. The bottle on the right is almost a perfect choice, allowing you to cut rings
all the way to the top of the bottle, or to provide an even taller cylinder.
Think candle holders!
Remember this little bit of information when shopping for bottles,
especially at a recycling center. And speaking of recycling, don't feel
guilty at all about only getting a few rings out of a bottle. Keep a big tub
nearby to put all the scraps into, then be sure to take them to the recycling
Step 3: The Initial Cut...
Hope you still have your safety glasses and earplugs handy!
Let's begin making those rings, shall we?
Make certain your saw is plugged in and on a stable, level work surface.
Ensure the water reservoir is full, make sure it stays that way every chance
you get. Babies, pets and other critters under feet are not a good idea while
using the saw. Don't look away while working. Instead, stop what you are
doing, turn off the saw, then tend to your business. Bottles can be replaced,
babies on the other hand...hmm. Not so easy.
Holding the bottle firmly, but not in a death-grip manner, slowly move the
bottle toward the blade. As you should have ear plugs in, you should still be
able to barely hear the glass hitting the cutting wheel. My personal manner
of holding the bottle is with both hands. My method is to roll the bottle towards
myself, rather than away, because I feel there is a greater chance of kickback
when rolling the bottle away from your body.
Speaking of hands, I feel much more comfortable using bare hands. Once in
a great while I will get a teeny tiny glass splinter, but as long as you work slowly
and carefully, glass splinters should not be that big of a problem, more of a
After you work, be sure to clean your hands and arms and put on lotion, as they
will feel as though you have been handling chalk all day.
Once the cutting wheel (or blade) has entered the bottle, slowly turn the bottle
back towards you, as though you were going to roll it off the table towards your
body. Slowly, don't move too fast. You will soon get the hang of it. Keep in mind
that thicker bottles will require more cutting time. Don't rush it. Let the tool do
When you have completed one ring, turn off the saw and examine it. See how
easy that was? If you didn't cut quite straight, don't worry, you can carefully file
it off using the saw or leave it as is, the kiln will likely melt away any imperfections.
Step 4: The Hubs and the Nubs...(a.k.a. 'Punts')
Another thing to note are the punts, which I lovingly refer to
as nubs or hubs on the bottom inside many bottles.
When you first begin cutting a bottle from the bottom, keep in mind
that you only need to cut through the glass enough to separate the rings,
or in this case, the bottom, from the bottle.
You might want to save these hubs, who knows when a new idea
may strike. Who knows, you may come up with a great thought for
Step 5: Setting the Rip Guide for Straight Cuts...
If you prefer evenly sized rings, be sure to set and note the width
of your cut. For those planning to make many rings, record the
placement of the rip guide with a permanent marker.
The rip guide is a bar which runs vertically across the saw table.
Most saws come with both inch and centimeter marks.
Slightly unscrew the knob, adjust each side of the rip guide, making
certain they are both the same, tighten knobs.
Step 6: Keep Cutting Those Rings...
Ta-da! It was very easy.
Now let's do it again. And again!
Step 7: Finish Cutting the Bottle Into Rings...
Continue cutting until you have reached the last section of
the bottle which can be cut evenly, typically before the neck,
until the bottle is completely cut into rings.
Keep in mind, you don't have to work with the tiny section at
the top of the bottle. It is not wasteful to use another bottle as long
as you return the scraps to the nearest recycling center.
Step 8: Details for the Techs...
Details, details, details for the techy:
(7" QEP Wet Tile Saw)
Step 9: Now What?
Alright folks, you now have a bottle cut into rings.
Stay tuned, I'll soon be adding instructions for melting them in a kiln.
You'll have the coolest, tinkling, green chimes in town!