Simple Bottle Cutting Jig

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Intro: Simple Bottle Cutting Jig

Cutting glass bottles can often be a frustrating task, especially if the score line on the bottle is not perfectly straight. For this reason, I will show you how to make a simple glass bottle cutting jig from scrap wood that is quite versatile when it comes to cutting different sized bottles. My design is intended to use a Kohler, 6 blade glass scoring tool without altering the tool itself.

Step 1: Materials

For this project, the following tools and materials are needed:

-Three lengths of wood (dimensions are not very important)

-Two inch wood screws

-Drill bit approximately the same diameter as shaft on screw

-A glass scorer/cutter tool

-Radial Arm/Chop Saw

-Table Saw

-1/4 inch chisel and hammer

-Drill gun/screwdriver/drill press

Step 2: Cut and Assemble

The three lengths of wood I used were leftovers from previous projects. Their approximate dimensions are:

-12" x 4" (lengthwise support)

-17" x 6 1/2" (base for holding bottle)

-17" x 1 3/4" (edge for bottle to lean against)

Once the boards have been cut to size and sanded to clean up any burrs, you can start assembling the jig. I turned the base board and the piece that acts as an edge for the bottle to lean against upside down, supporting the overhang of the base board with a few scraps of wood and clamping the pieces to be joined to the edge of my workbench. I drilled and recessed four holes, driving four, 2-inch screws into the holes (the screw length might be a bit excessive, but I wanted to ensure it held together).

To attach the support at the end of the jig that the base of the bottle will eventually rest against, I turned the two pieces that were just attached so the edge support for the base had a corner nearly touching the edge of the horizontal support, and placed scraps of wood underneath to keep the angle. Placing the horizontal support on the opposite side of the base but maintaining the orientation of the board, I marked the approximate location of the edges of the board so I could drive screws into the end of the base. Moving the board back to the intended side of the base, I used a two-foot clamp to clamp the pieces together, and a one-foot clamp to clamp it to the workbench. Drilling and recessing holes, I drove three screws into the end of the base.

Step 3: Making the Scorer Holder

Now that the body of the jig is assembled, it is a good time to find where you want the scorer/cutter to lie. I placed mine at the end of the jig to accommodate larger bottles. I cut a piece of wood 6 1/2" long by 1" high for holding my scorer. As shown in the above images, I cut two notches in the wood: one for holding the metal end of the scorer (for cutting the side of bottles), one for holding the handle of the scorer (for cutting bottle necks). For the previously mentioned notch, I used a miter jig on my table saw to slowly trim small amounts of wood from the block, making sure the blade was set at a height that would allow for the scorer to protrude from the bottom of the block. I used my 1/4" chisel to knock a flat edge from the original curve made by the blade. Once the block could fit the hexagonal nut on the scorer in so the blade itself was just poking from the end of the jig, I used my drill press to drill a semi-circle in the wood, using a larger and then smaller bit to eventually get a parabola in the wood big enough for the handle to sit comfortably, again making sure the edge protruded over the block's side.

I then marked on the body of the jig where the scorer would protrude from the block intended to hold the scorer in place and drilled two screws into the wood to prevent the wood from being deformed from the force of the block against the jig. I drilled holes in the end of the block and into the jig for final mounting.

Step 4: Test the Jig With a Bottle

You will need a bottle you do not care much about for this. Beer/soda bottles work well for this, as they are inexpensive enough and easy to come by. Remove the block for holding the scorer and place the scorer in either the square notch (for cutting the side of the bottle) or the parabola notch (for cutting the neck); place the scorer and block back in place. Using scrap blocks of wood as spacers, adjust where the base of the bottle will rest against until the cutting blade is located where you want it. If you are cutting the neck of the bottle, you might need a block of wood against the edge of the jig and/or under the bottle to position it until the cutting blade just touches the bottle.

Once you are ready, apply pressure against the edge of the jig and toward the back of the bottle and slowly spin the bottle around. Since the bottle is in a jig, you should get an even score line around the bottle, regardless of how many times you rotate it.

After scoring, use near-boiling water and pour it over the scored line for upwards of one minute then rinse under cold water. There should be a definite 'crick' as the bottle cracks from the shock. If this does not happen, repeat the hot/cold shock until the top drops off. If the score is not deep enough, it may require you to go back to the jig and score more or a gentle tap against the side of the sink.

REMEMBER!! ALWAYS THINK SAFETY! Glass, if not handled properly may shatter in your hand while scoring a second time or during the hot/cold shock. If you injure yourself while doing this and not being cautious, you are the one at fault. Always remember to think before you act, and if possible, wear gloves and safety glasses on the off-chance that some catastrophic failure of the glass occurs.

Step 5: Experiment

This is a rather nifty jig. It costs very little, especially if the scrap wood is already on hand and can get very accurate cuts. It may also take a few cuts to get used to the handling and the feel of the jig, but once you get used to it, you can get very nice cuts. Enjoy the jig, experiment, and make some cool crafts with this! I am interested to see what you all come up with and how it works for you, so let me know.

Thank you and happy (glass) cutting!

3 People Made This Project!

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49 Discussions

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seanc19

3 years ago

Firstly, BRILLIANT!. This is exactly what Instructables is about; simple, fantastic ideas that don't require engineering degrees to understand or complete. Great job! Secondly, I wish people would be more supportive in general on this site. We are all just enthusiastic DIYers, not experts. Let's all be a bit more positive in our comments if we think or know there are better/more effective ways of achieving certain steps in an Instructable, rather that just being really blunt in our responses. There is already more than enough of that on the internet. I give this guy massive props for the idea and execution. If there are one or two things out of the entire Instructable that aren't 100% right that's no big deal.

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ST15seanc19

Reply 10 months ago

Such a great comment. :)

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Onesaucywenchseanc19

Reply 1 year ago

Thank you, I agree 100% about the importance of constructive comments with this being a DIY site. There is no room for snarky comments, it comes down to common courtesy and respect. I applaud the time and ingenuity our author showed, and as far as the snarky commenters go: chalk it up to jealousy for not devising it themselves.

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WAYNEANDCATH1

2 years ago

check out the movie {bird man from Alcatraz}

burt lankaster shows you how

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SteveMann

2 years ago

Great work!

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dyoung1011

3 years ago on Introduction

Nice jig! Bernz-o-matic makes an Oxy-Mapp gas torch kit avail in good hardware stores for $59.00. includes a bottle of oxygen and a bottle of mapp gas. Rounds the sharp edges nicely. use eye protection for sure.

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eruger

3 years ago on Introduction

Nice!

This would solve a problem I've always had with doing projects with bottles, namely, the bottles I like usually come with threads that just don't look right...and I've ruined a few trying to cut the threads off. With a clean cut though, I can easily flame polish the end and it's all good!

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Quizicat

3 years ago on Step 5

I have tried to make a couple of things to do this, with no success. This looks good.

Have you figured a way to smooth off the edges of the cut bottle?

Thanks!

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diydonutQuizicat

Reply 3 years ago on Step 5

Myself I use a dremel with various sanding wheels.

The trick is to take it sloow when warming and cooling the bottle, run the hot cold process a few times instead of once, you'd be amazed how good your cuts can be as long as you are patient

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Quizicatdiydonut

Reply 3 years ago on Step 5

I was thinking more of making drinking glasses and rounding things. I can see making a perfect cut but still winding up with a very sharp edge. I suppose it is all experimentation. Thanks.

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diydonutQuizicat

Reply 3 years ago on Step 5

I have done drinking glasses, I ended up using a dremel with various polishing wheels to round things off, I've seen some people who are good at glasswork use torches to soften up the edges with pencil flames (but you gotta be careful with the cooling process).

So easy, so cheap (left over wood) and so perfect! I'm definitely going to build such a jig as soon as possible to finish my hanging-bottle-lights for the balkony!

Thx and keep up the work!

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throbscottle

3 years ago on Introduction

I made one a bit like this years ago, but yours is much nicer and better. Mine had a sliding stop so the bottle could be cut at different lengths. I used to tap round the inside of the cut with a bent piece of steel rod hung inside the bottle until it cracked all the way round. Usually would get a cockle somewhere though. Used to place a piece of emery paper on a flat surface and hold the cut piece flat down on it, move it around to grind the edge down. Made a little set of spice jars out of small sauce bottles. Lids made out of cut up and glued together corks.

Apparently the best way to split the cut is with a hot wire. Never tried it though.

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diydonut

3 years ago on Step 3

The way you attached the scorer is genius.

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bfry

3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the jig design!

I would really like to cut some bottles for use as drinking glasses similar to the ones my parents used when I was a kid. But I haven't figured out how to create the same degree of pleasant mouthfeel of the originals, which had a smooth, 'radiused' lip. a flat edge just doesn't do it. Any suggestions for making this final step happen?

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Andsetinnbfry

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

The smoothest lip comes from melting the edge with a torch. I sometimes use 10$ diamond sharpening set (3 plates of 6" x 2") to smooth the edge before melting. It is best to use torch with added oxygen to melt the edge. Added oxygen raises the temperature of the flame considerably.

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bfryAndsetinn

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the suggestion!

Any suggestions about what kind of torch can accomplish this? I would be willing to purchase one if it wasn't too much dosh and I was confident it's good enough to do the job!

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Andsetinnbfry

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I don't really have suggestions for what kind of torch you could use. My Oxygen/gas bottle kit would cost close to 1000 dollars to replace. I use it for much more than melting edges cut of bottles though.

A good propylene torch could do the trick but it is marginal. Propylene burns at max 2000 °C and glass starts to melt at around 1500 °C. Butane torch burns at max 1500°C so that will not work under normal circumstances (so no Brulee burners,,, unless you put propylene into them. That might work but is just as likely to blow up, burn down the house and kill you :)). Oxyacetalyn mixture burns at 3000 °C so it is a much safer bet. I think I saw a oxyacetalyn hobby kit at my local welding gas dealer in the 300 dollar range when I was there last but I have not tested it so I cannot recommend it.

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joenbfry

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

You can go to YouTube and search for "cutting bottles" and you will have more information than you need to do what you want.