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Q & A Monday – March 18, 2013

Jodi McRaney RushoHere we are at another Question and Answer Monday.  These are reader questions, which I thought may also be useful for everyone.  If you have a question, send it over.  (I’ve removed personal details for privacy reasons, if you submitted a question and would like attribution and a back link, let me know!)

Wow!  Last week’s Tech Tip was extremely popular, the number one question last week was:

  • Q:  Where do I find Boron Nitride Spray?

A:  Sorry about that, I should have included it in the newsletter!  Fusion Headquarters has the lowest price I’ve seen.  And the Reynolds are good people.MR 97 Boron Nitride Spray

  • Q:  Can I use regular kiln wash on found ceramic molds?
  • A:  You can if you sandblast off the glaze first.  If you don’t want to sandblast, or don’t have access to a sandblaster, you can use the Mold Release pictured above right over the top of the glaze.
  • Q: We recently acquired a wet tile saw and want to use it to cut glass wine/liquor/beer bottles into uniform tiles for a kitchen backsplash.  It came with a 10″ continuous rim diamond blade.  It cuts tile very well. Our results of cutting bottles are as follows:
    1) thin walled wine bottle chipped/fractured
    2) medium walled wine bottle cut fairly well until last 3/8″ which cracked and left jagged protrusion
    3) thick walled champaign bottle cut through very well with only minor roughness
    4) pre-scoring by rotating the bottle before pushing it through the blade might have helped but there were too many other variables to state a definite result.  Rapidity of the it seemed to make little difference in the result of any of the above cuts.We viewed a few you tube videos online before attempting this experiment. Since our results were disappointing we are seeking your guidance.
    1) are there special blades you would recommend for bottles?
    2) are there any tricks of the trade for cutting stops from bottles for backsplash tiles?  The thick champagne bottle was the only one we successfully cut strips from.
    3) what material would you recommend we make a bean bag out of to support the bottle necks to eliminate movement throughout the cut?Our goal is to have multi-colored 1″x2″ tiles.
  • A:  You’re on the right track, some of it is just going to come down to practice.  Here are a few things though:a blade that is specifically for cutting glass tile will give you smoother cuts.

    Not all bottles are created equally.  Typically, cheap booze comes in cheap bottles.  The thin walled bottles are really hard to cut because they are so thin.

    I’m not clear if your saw is a table saw style, it seems so, if that’s the case, I would suggest rolling the bottle toward the blade as you cut.  Also, I’ve found it works much better to cut with just the forward edge of the blade, rather than pushing the whole bottle through.  This also seems to prevent the jagged protrusion problem.

    Slower does work better, it will give you less chipping

    you can also use the flat part of the diamond strip of the saw to smooth out the edges of your smaller pieces.

    If I were cutting your tiles, I would mark a 2″ line away from the blade (from the side), cut the bottom off the bottle and then cut 2″ rings.  The rings can then be easily cut with a glass cutter or cut with the saw.

    Since I roll the bottles, I don’t have any ideas about a bean bag.  Although, a very heavy duty plastic baggie full of sand should do the trick.