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Have you ever attempted to cut a wine bottle only to have it leave a nasty jagged edge? Maker Dan Rojas shows us the secret to cutting a wine bottle with a clean edge in less than 30 seconds. [Thanks, Timothy!]

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Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. ggreenb says:

    Where can you buy and who is the manufacturer of the exact bottle cutter shown in the video

    1. Beth says:

      Nice work Dan Rohas. Very informative :) Plus you’re pretty easy on the eyes…added bonus.

      Beth

  2. Funky Space Cowboy says:

    I’ve not tried this method and it looks interesting but probably not something I’ll try since I don’t have a sink in the shop and my kitchen sink is cast iron and I don’t want to have to fish broken glass out of the garbage disposal… again. The least messy and safest way to cut bottles I’ve come across is to score the bottle and then tap from the inside, just above the score line. A 1/4″ mild steel rod with a 90 degree bend along the last 3/4″ or so works really well. Stick that through a wooden dowel to use as a depth stop and you’re all set. Just set the end of the steel rod to tap about 1/8″ above your score line and start tapping, a crack will soon appear along the score line, just chase it with the tapper all around the bottle. Takes about a minute and gives a clean break without having to mess about in the sink. I can do about five or six glasses an hour or so,from bottle to clean usable drinking glass.

    I wrote up some bottle cutting instructions here:
    http://www.acerbic.org/weblog/viewentry.php?entry_id=399

    and here:
    http://www.acerbic.org/weblog/viewentry.php?entry_id=400

    And have a finished project using a bottle top, here:
    http://www.acerbic.org/weblog/viewentry.php?entry_id=402

    Cheers,

    Josh

  3. theophrastus says:

    Back in the late neolithic (~1974ish) we were cutting bottles with nigh perfect edges in about 30 seconds (unless we were high) with the [trumpet fanfare]: “Fleming Bottle and Jug Cutterâ„¢” (which had parts which closely resemble one of the devices used here) The other bit went inside the bottle after scribing the outside and allowed one to progressively tap/advance the score through the glass, (much as is done in certain lab glassware procedures). I’m sure that ebay and google would lead one to enough images to reconstruct these simple devices:

    http://www.google.com/products?q=fleming%20bottle%20and%20jug%20cutter&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wf

    (need some permanent repository of these ancient slightly tacky hobbies ..yep)

    1. Adam Flaherty says:

      craftzine.com perhaps?

    2. Gloria says:

      Thank you. Your video was very informative and easy to follow. You inspired me to try this. Thanks again.

  4. capt.tagon says:

    Back when, there was an article in Scientific American that explained how water in a glass fracture essentially debonded Silicon Dioxide, reducing the force necessary to break glass.

    You have the best of both worlds with this breaking technique, a sharp score line to produce a controlled stress riser, moisture to propagate the crack, and reasonably low temperature stress so you don’t have the bottle break anywhere else but the score (nasty side effect of the burn ‘n dump method). As can be seen in the video, the fracture propagates from the score inwards until the top pops off.

    Simple touch-up with a carborundum stick is usually all that’s necessary once you’ve got the technique down.

  5. Garrett says:

    Anyone care to explain what the appeal is for these types of glasses? I’ve used them and don’t really see the point, they’re maybe one step above drinking out of a mason jar. Or maybe one step below, a mason jar at least has a little charm, and doesn’t have a gritty sandpaper edge. Glass is infinitely recyclable and made from the most abundant substance in the earth’s crust so I can’t imagine environmental concerns are a factor here. If it’s “wow I cut some glass” then I can understand but who actually thinks a cupboard full of these is a good idea?

    1. jiggy says:

      There is a not insignificant energy savings by reusing glass instead of recycling it after just one use.

    2. I have no mouth and I must scream says:

      You could also use the cut bottles as other things other than just glasses. Vases, mini-terrarium, in the case of Dan Rojas it sounded like he had a purpose in mind that didn’t involve drinking out of them. Also as jiggy said the energy to reuse the glass though if you mess up through experimentation it is as you say infinitely recyclable(and easy to get empties if you know the right folks).

    3. kirstin says:

      What I’m doing it for, is for these: http://diy.weddingbee.com/topic/my-diy-wine-bottle-centerpieces

      Cut the bottom off the wine bottle, and place a candle underneath. Really cool looking, and every time I show someone the picture I get asked “But how did they get the candle inside?”

  6. jimofoz says:

    In addition to drinking glasses, you could use the tops either as a type of wind chime or bell type of gadget in kinetic sculptures. That’s the type of idea I have in mind.

  7. pault says:

    Typically I am not a sucker to my “OMG, i have to buy that now” type emotions… well, ok, more than I’d like to admit.

    But I did go to the web site and spend $55 (after shipping) for this Dan guy to send me the scoring apparatus. Initial impressions: it’s aluminum, i think, and it was either 1) poorly manufactured, 2) previously used, or 3) stored badly… in any rate the thing is all scuffed up. Not sure it was worth $55.

    BUT, my wife and I just tried it tonight. Of the three we tried, the first (a La Hoya wine bottle) was nearly perfect(!). The second was not so good and the third, a thick bottle of Captain (we got greedy), was quite bad, but I have seen enough that I think with practice it will work very nicely.

    You might find it cheaper on ebay, but the process does work surprisingly well.

  8. My husband does this also.  He scores the glass, then uses a candle to heat up the seam until he hears a slight cracking noise, then he goes over the seam with ice that he’s frozen flat in ziplock bags.  This uses a lot less water, and still results in perfect cuts. 

  9. Judi Jamieson says:

    WOW!!!  THANK YOU!!!!  Im going to try it…;o)

  10. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  11. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  12. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  13. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  14. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  15. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  16. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  17. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  18. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  19. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  20. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  21. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  22. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

  23. Is there something wrong with the video? It won’t load here and it’s not even showing up on youtube.

    1. Darren says:

      Probably not the video…

  24. Anonymous says:

    just get to the point!!!!

  25. As much as this is helpful, I think the video could benefit from a 5 minute excise of useless commentary.

  26. NancyM says:

    OMG how perfect.  Thanks.  I actually found the “don’t do this” sections helpful and entertaining.  If you just want to cut to the chase, jump to 3:40. 

  27. Susan Howard says:

    So excited to try this! We have a glass cutting set that I have only used once because the method of tapping around the score line was so tedious and yielded a disappointing result.  Good to know that the scoring took wont go to waste either! :D

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thought this was great! Sorry some folks are so impatient.

  29. Helen Wilsher says:

    Thank You for your glass cutting instructions. I have cut many bottles for craft projects
    and did not have great luck. It looks like this cutter is great. Thank you again for taking your time to share.

  30. Kate says:

    Wonderful tutorial. You are obviously very good with this and offering the video allows others to skip ahead to better ways to get things done. Please consider, however, not “putting down” others or their sites as you aggressively do. People (and products) improve with experiences, but the former examples were necessary in order for us to move on! There’s no reason to “bad mouth” the Model T in comparing it to the newest, sleekest and powerful car! We can see the improvement and the proof is in the pudding! Thank you, again, for your wonderful and enlighting video!

  31. Jessica says:

    Just wondering..can you make multiple scores in one bottle, then use the water method to break them? I want to make rings from my bottles.

  32. Rosie says:

    I would like to know what brand of bottle cutter he is using. We have purchased two different ones and neither work..Thank you

  33. lemongingercrunch says:

    This looks great! Thku

  34. Betty says:

    Scored 3…1 is perfect. Want to make wine bottle lanterns to hang around the deck. Thank you for the help.

  35. tom says:

    how would u cut a square wine decanter?

    1. Jerry says:

      I have watched people use a tile saw for square, as well as round, bottles. In response to the tacky comments, I totally agree that some of the projects are nauseating, but I do think the pendant lights look very nice. http://img3.etsystatic.com/000/0/6706366/il_fullxfull.323909399.jpg http://cdn.furniturefashion.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Recycled-Wine-Bottle-Colorblock-Lights-from-Jerry-Kott.jpg

  36. Diane says:

    This is nice. Seems less dangerous. Now can you come up with an easier way to put a hole in a bottle to string lights into it?

  37. Tamara says:

    I have tried scoring 3 different bottles and all 3 have started cracking on the line, but then before I know it the cracks have gone crazy and my bottles are useless now :( What am I doing wrong?

    1. Kirstin says:

      You have to have a perfect score line. I initially tried to do it with a handheld glass cutter with zero results. I didn’t want to buy another cutter due to budget reasons, but someone got me the one in this video as a gift, and let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT! I got about 16 bottles done in an afternoon. And the only reason I didn’t do more was because I ran out of bottles. I think I lost about 5 at most due to the glass breaking wrong. In my experience, the thicker glass cut smoothest. So if you have the right tool, and a heavy bottle, you should be good to go!

  38. ewood120 says:

    i was going to try the rope and acetone trick to cut it,but i wanted to make sure it was completely safe.so i also looked for other ways that DID NOT have any fire involved.thanx for the vid!it worked perfectly!

  39. t. canady says:

    wow. you are my hero!!!

  40. Marti Christie says:

    This is absolutely brilliant- thank you so much for sharing. I really don’t know that much about glass and it’s properties… have you ever tried it on a hand blown crystal bottle? It probably sounds more exotic that it is, but I thought I would at least ask you before trying. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  41. Vonnie says:

    I have cut thousands of gallon glass jugs, we used to make canisters out of them and made around 3000 a week. Everyone wanted to know how we cut them and we never told because when your in the craft business you don’t tell your secrets. I stopped making them years ago so I don’t mind telling how we did them. We used a hot wire.; You can set it up with either an old toaster or welder. We used a small welder and nickel cadmium wire. It’s too much to explain how to set up a cutter here but all ya need is the welder, wire, alligator clips, a couple springs and a spray bottle. You can cut a glass jug in two places within one minute.

  42. Vonnie says:

    Forgot to mention, the cuts with the hot wire are very smooth, no jags at all. The same wire will cut anywhere from 20 to 40 jugs ( two cuts per jug ).

  43. If i get one of these, does anyone want to buy my old
    one!

  44. smaquois123 says:

    if you want to do it the really easy way, get a cheap tile cutter or wet bandsaw/skillsaw. not much more expensive than the cutter he used ($55 for 3 bucks worth of aluminum? really?).

  45. dx says:

    Nice technique. For the hell of it I put the cork back in after filling the bottle and the vacumn alone was enough to keep it from leaking (no weight needed). Gonn have to try to prank someone with a capped beer bottle that ‘magically’ seperates when they pick it up.

    1. Turtl says:

      That would be so deathly hilarious!

  46. Jill says:

    Tried it exactly how he showed it – same bottle cutter evern – and it didn’t work. I previously used a candle and a jug of ice water and got results after repeating it about 5 times. Was excited about this way, but no dice.

  47. Stephan Buchholz says:

    I used to use a similar process on Borosilicate glass tubing, Score once around the tube then I used a torch to heat the end of a small diameter glass rod. Touch the red hot rod to the score and then bink the tube starts to split at the score, If it doesn’t go all the way around then repeat the heat and touch cycle in a different place on the score.
    Only had a problem sometimes with REEAALLY thick walled tubes.
    oh and Colored Chinese boro tubing ( damn stuff almost always broke in weird ways)

  48. Jennifer says:

    Awesome! I have the glass cutter, but you are right it cracks in all directions and I was cleaning for like an hour. I personally got my glass cutter at Micheals (its the one in the video) I think it was about $40 but you can use their coupons on it 40% or 50% makes it a little easier to get!

  49. MARIANA SAUCEDO says:

    i bought that cutter though internet and it doesnt work at all, 10 different people have tried it watching the video, IMPOSSIBLE.

  50. Poet says:

    Been watching the Rojas’s DIY videos on Youtube for a quite a while. His unpolished way makes a project doable because “if he did it than I can too”. I prefere the vidoes where his Wife is in them better. ;)

  51. Keith Anderson says:

    Why is everyone talking about sanding the cut edges? I was taught how to “flame polish” cut glass – gently and slowly bring the temperature at the cut edge up to the annealing point (just below melting) with a torch (in lab we used the bunsen burner). The sharp edges soften down to smooth and you don”t get the matt finish.

  52. Martin says:

    I am cutting bottles now for a month and I love it! I am trying to figure out though how to cut as smoothly as possible without the little ‘chips’ of glass. Maybe I have to pre-heat the bottle before cutting? I’ll try. Anyway I found my cutter on Amazon and there a many different types, I wish I could try them all before choosing one:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=bottle%20cutter&linkCode=ur2&tag=glassbottlecutter-20

  53. Becky says:

    Started out with a dozen bottles. One was perfect, 3 were salvageable and the rest were useless. They all started to crack beautifully but then all of a sudden would fissure up or down. Totally bummed this didn’t work.

    1. Kirstin says:

      Did you use the tool he did in the video? I had lots of frustration trying to use a little handheld cutter, but once I got the same kind of cutter he used, this worked perfectly. I got about 20 done in an afternoon. Occasionally I would have a bottle that didn’t want to cut properly, but in general this worked great.

      1. Becky says:

        Yep, i used the same one. Any idea why I kept getting fissures up or down? I tried everything… Adjusted the water temp, lightened up the stream of water, made the score line finer then deeper… Nothing seemed to work

        1. Kirstin says:

          I noticed that for me, the thicker, heavier bottles came out better than the others. I used a teapot to heat up the water and pour hot water directly on the score line, while rotating the bottle for a few seconds, and then ran it under a thin stream of water in the sink for a few seconds. Sometimes it would take a few rounds, but it almost always worked. Occasionally I would get a bottle that just didn’t want to cooperate, but overall it worked great. Try using thicker bottles. My hypothesis is that the glas is stronger, and therefore more likely to break only on the score line, instead of getting fissures above and below.

  54. Laura Stehle says:

    Excellent and very informative. Thank you!

  55. Pat says:

    I just replaced the string method with yours Thank You

  56. Nathan says:

    i’ve been cutting over 100 bottles now using the hot water to cold water method with the score line.. for sanding it i recommend a diamond grinder for some kind of rotary tool. rounds the edges with no effort, then use some fine sandpaper to make it a little smoother.

  57. Alicia C. says:

    Wow Dan Rojas!! Thank you so much for this. I love how you explained everything with so much detail. I can’t wait to try this. I’m crazy for this gin bottle that is an aqua color….Saphire, I think it is called? I want to see if I can make it work for that. Anyway, I really enjoyed your video and thought the cat jumping on the table was hysterical. Also, may I recommend something? You let the glass drop onto your sink. I’m thinking that if put a towel in your sink you won’t risk breaking the top half….I’m one of those people who want to use the top for putting tea candles inside. Please keep up the good work!!

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  83. deb h says:

    Awesome, easy, clear instructions safety better than other techniques, cant wait to try it. I also have a glass cutter, but an earlier model, more primitive, less successful. Especially since I didnt know Dan’s awesome added tip!