What's the best bottle cutter on the market?

By: Diy maven Jan 18, 2011

The complete bottle cutter review

UPDATE: We put the top bottle cutters to the test, and the results are in. Click here to see our in-depth reviews, and our pick for the best-tested bottle cutter available.

Photo: DIY Maven

About a year or so ago, I found myself shopping for a bottle cutter. I spotted an inexpensive one at my local craft store, and since I had a project in mind that required a bottle cutter, I bought it. As it turned out, that wasn't a good idea. It didn't cut so much as scrape. Plus, I wanted to cut slanty bottles (at the neck, actually) and it certainly wouldn't do that. (Can any cutter do that?) I put it back into its box and stuck it in the closet in my craft room and that's where it's been ever since. Now, after seeing so many more great recycling projects out there, like the tumblers pictured above, I want to give glass cutting another go. So, to make a long story a short question...what's the best bottle cutter on the market?

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Part 2.

I user a set of 6 drums with sandpaper grit sizes 60, 120, 220, 600, 1000, 2000 and I sand for about 1 minute with each drum, dipping the glass in a container of water to wet it which avoids dust.  You can also purchase diamond coated sanding drums but they are in short supply and difficult to find.      I have not yet tried the SaberTooth sanding pads. I think they would be good in combination with the sanding drums. The 60 grit pad would be useful to make the 1st coarse grind to take the maximum amount of that sharp edge off. After that I would proceed with the sanding drums.  I think that the gaps between 60 to 400 and 400 to 2000 are too large and don't produce the best results or require a lot of elbow grease if you are looking for a nice polished edge. An analogy I would give you is your finger nail and a fine nail file. Cut a 1/8th " notch in your nail. Now try to file the entire nail down to get it level with the bottom of that notch. It takes a long long time. Its a similar problem with glass or gemstones which are very hard substances. When you use a 400 grit abrasive to grind down a 60 grit deep groove it takes a long time or what usually happens is that you leave scratches because you don't go all the way down. But if you don't care about the aesthetics of the edge and just want to smooth off the sharpness, then one or two grit sizes will do the job.      

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=20189&cat=1,42500,20189          

Cheers, Murray

Part 1. Hi Denise, (2 part reply due to character limit)  I'm glad the video was useful. You should be getting 100% success so if you would like to describe what the failing cuts look like, I can offer some suggestions. For example, when you immerse the heated bottle into the ice water, it is important to dip it in with the closed end first so that the outside of the score line is exposed to the ice water but the inside wall is not. Or stated another way, do not plunge the bottle in upside down. And of course, a  continuous score line is critical.    Regarding the sanding of the cut edges, I can speak quite a lot from having tried numerous tools and techniques.  My current process uses a set of 3/4"  sleeveless sanding drums (for use with any electric or battery drill) some info of which you can see at the link below to Lee Valley Tools. I buy standard 9" x 11" sheets Silicon Carbide Wet/Dry sandpaper which cost about $1.50 each. I cut each sheet into 12 pieces (the drum requires a 2" x 3") so each drum sleeve costs about 15 cents. A sleeve will do about 5 - 10 bottles so it's very economical once you invest in a few sanding drums. These drums are made by a company in Greensboro N.C. but with the Canadian $ so low, you can order them from Lee Valley Tool for approx $12 U.S. each. How many you but depends on how much time you want to spend and how smooth and shiny you want your glass edge to be.  

Denise,  I just received my sanding pads from Kinkajou Sabar Tooth!  They are awesome and work the best out of the many pads I have tried.  I can get the beveled edge n about 5 mintues with these diamond pads.  One is 60 grit and the other is 400.  The kit also comes with 2000 grit paper.  Before getting these pads I had such a hard time getting that bevel.   

Good Afternoon Murray, Thanks for the video again. I've been practicing and have had great success and flops. But I do have one question what do you recomend using to sand the edges when I'm done.

Thanks Denise

I guess Ishould also say the hole/circle needs to be big enough to fit a candle through.

I have another question.  How do you cut a hole in the middle of a bottle?    I want to leave the bottom in for support of a candle.   And of course the bottles Ihave seen look to be beveled too.  

Hi Murray, Thanks so much for the info...I forgot to mention that the body of the vase has square corners, but where I want the cuts to be made is rounded...would that be a big problem for a glass cutter?  Thanks again.  Lori

Lori, I live north of you but it's in Canada and do things cross border has a number of impediments. I suggest you search for shops that do stained glass products. Just check your yellow page listings under stained glass. They all have workshops with the right tools including diamond blade table saws. Since you only need to cut off the top and bottom, the saw would be a solution. But many of those stained glass shops have bottle cutters and other devices so they should be able to help you.

Cheers, Murray

Hi Murray, I have a pink colored glass vase that I need to cut the top and bottom off, so I can use it as a lamp shade...how do I find someone who can do this for me?  I sure don't trust myself...I have tried to look up professional glass cutters in my area and the search still gives me the different types of bottle cutters on the market.  Is this something you could do for me???  I am from NJ.  I would be very grateful for any info you could provide.  Thank you.

After much experimentation, I have come up with what I feel is the best way to cut a glass bottle. Consistent perfect results, safe for all bottles including ones with plastic and paper labels, No boiling water, no flames, no candle flame, no combustible fluids, no propane or butane gases, no strings, or masonary saws.  Just uploaded a Youtube Video. Here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QE28BZPcX9A?rel=0                                    Cheers, Murray

Hi Denise, getting a successful, clean separation will require different conditions depending on the thickness of the glass, the type of glass, the area on the bottle where the score line runs, and the process being used to thermally shock the bottle.

I can provide you with my personal info via email if you would like to contact me   marvie10@gmail.com  

Cheers, Murray

Thank You Murray, where are you located address and I can see how much it would be to ship them I don't mind doing it myself but I don't have alot of confidence. Do you recommend practicing on alot of botles before cutting what you want/

Thank You

Hi Denise, The key issue for you is not going to be the cost of me cutting the bottles, it will most likely be the cost of shipping bottles back and forth. It doesn't take too many $30-$40 shipments back and forth to equal the cost of a Creator's Bottle Cutter which I have seen on Amazon and other places for $99.  If processing Pendleton bottles is a one time event then purchasing the cutter may not make sense. However if you plan to cut other bottles to make drinking glasses, mugs, lamps, etc, then the purchase would likely make a lot more sense.

Cheers, Murray

Good morning Murray, I have been reading your post in response to bottle cutters. Would you be interested if I pay for shipping on cutting some Pendleton whiskey bottles for me. If so what would you charge or do u think I should buy the creator kit you recommend?. Thank you

Denise

Thanks Ray, it's great to see that there is a device in the market that can actually score square bottles. So many of the liquor bottles that are readily available for up-cycling are square and rectangular. and those tend to have some nice embossed and applied ceramic labels on them.

That's great news Bobbi. Enjoy.

HI all,   I think I have FINALLY got into the art of bottle cutting.   I was not having a lot of luck with the traditional cutters, especially with the square bottles.  I purchased a diamond blade for my wet tile cutter.   Life is so much better now!  Out of the last 10 bottles I got 8 proper cuts.  It would have been 9 but I tweeked a rough edge and craked the 9th one!  No bottle is safe from me now!  

Just wanted to share this video of the CBC scoring a square bottle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsnhNcY308Y

Hi Edwin,  That might work, but it depends greatly on the bottle construction and uniformity of thickness along the score line. With the whole bottle heated, when you submerge in cold water the  fracture will propagate along the weakest path which may not be the entire score line. However what you could try instead of submersing the bottle in a bath would be to run a single ice cube or frozen ice pack along the score line.

Good luck

Thank you Murray for your response on February 6th 2015,

I wanted to know if it would be sufficient to make a continuous score line lengthwise down the wine bottle and then place it inside an oven between 250-350 degrees. Only afterwards would I place the bottle into an ice bath. Or would this cause the entire glass to shatter?

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