Jodi McRaney RushoWelcome to Q & A Monday, where I answer reader questions. Today we also have a reader contributed tip, AND a question I don’t have an answer for.  Hopefully someone out there will be able to help us!  Personal details have been omitted for privacy reasons.  If one of these questions is yours and you’d like a back link, let me know.  If you have a question of your own, feel free to send it on over.
Q:  I LOVE your sense of humor, esp. about clumsy relatives, ha! I was SO excited to accidentally stumble across your website yesterday!! I signed up for your email immediately. I have saved wine and other pretty bottles until they’re spilling from the house onto the patio and deck. I KNEW there had to be other crafts to make besides circles for wind chimes. My question is, how do I cut the remaining bottle cylinder evenly in half vertically; after the bottom and neck have been removed? Do I have to buy a tile saw or other type of saw or can I score both sides, tap, and hope they separate relatively evenly at the same time?

A:  Welcome to the wonderful world of “What do I do with ALL THESE BOTTLES??” I’m a bottle hoarder, I can’t throw any of them away.

You have a very good question, and one that is coincidentally the topic of a blog post later this week, as soon as I have time to type it up.

The short answer is, I like to cut the cylinders in half using a pistol grip glass cutter, I score down the seams on the inside of the cylinder, and then very, very gently, use my running pliers to run the score. The curve of the running pliers is curving opposite the curve of the bottle, so if you squeeze too hard, it will break off the corners. If that doesn’t cause it to break right away, I tap the score from the outside of the cylinder until it breaks. This works great for 1.5L bottles, a little harder to get your hand into the 750ml bottles.

I made a little video of the process, so look for that later this week if that sounds confusing.

Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any other questions. And don’t forget to send me a photo of your project, I love that stuff. =)

Q:  This is off that topic, but I tried to break up a Gray Goose Bottle. I hit it lots of times with a hammer and not even a crack. I had it wrapped in a towel to keep the pieces from flying. What else do I try to break this bottle?

A:  Bottles are a bit like egg shells, extremely hard to break until you get that first crack in it. I have found a spring loaded center punch is a good way to get the breaking started. It’s a handy little tool similar to a nail set, but with a spring in it, so you press it down on the bottle (through the towel will work great), and the spring shoots the point into the glass. It sometimes takes twice, but I’ve never had to do it more than that. The other nice thing is it isn’t loud like whacking the bottle with a hammer.

This is a reader tip that sounds like it would be a great way to cut using the thermal shock method without all the smudgy smoke from candles (Contributed by Farook.  Thank you!!):

Hi Jodi.Thanks a lot for your very informative web site. I have been trying to cut bottles using boiling water on the out side followed by cold water, ice etc. The cut hasnt always been perfect.Seems to be a hit and miss. I decided to pour the hot water off the boil into the bottle using a funnel to about a centimeter above the cut line and after about 30 secs, when the bottle has heated evenly apply ice around the cut line. Perfect cut every time! Since I have not seen this on the internet i thought it might be of interest to others.

A:  That is a method I haven’t heard of yet, I like it. I never did get the candle thing to work very well, and I hated cleaning off the soot. Thank you for letting me share this with others, I’m sure it will be very useful for a lot of people!

Q:  I want to make a cheese plate with a wine bottle. My plan is to

1. soak the paper label off the bottle
2. flatten the bottle in a glass kiln
3. put the original paper label back on

Problem is how do I put the paper label back on and then coat it with something that is

1. transparent
2. food safe
3. hard enough to not be scratched by a knife

A:  I’m not aware of a coating that covers all of your requirements. My best guess would be to use the same type of product that is used to seal granite counter tops, but I don’t know if it would dissolve the paper labels. I will put this on my Q & A post and see if anyone on the reader list has suggestions.  Anyone have suggestions for this reader?  Please post them in the comments.