View Full Version : Cutting a Bottle Down

09-02-2007, 18:52
I have an empty Stagg and an empty Thomas Handy bottle. I would like to cut them down and make drinking glasses out of them. Not tumblers but full size glasses for Ice tea/pop. An older friend who grew up in the early seventies once mentioned a device for such a purpose. I took it that it resembled a pipe or tubing cutter. Something that you clamp on the bottle for a square cut and rotate a cutting wheel around the circumference tightening the device as you cut through the glass.

I wonder If I can't simply use a chop-saw. With the straight sided BT Antique Collection bottles it should be easy enough to get a square cut. I would then need to file the cut so as to round the edges and create a safe lip.

Does anyone have any experience doing this with liquor or wine bottles?

09-02-2007, 19:09

Not I, but I've had the same thought, usually in regard to the Eagle Rare Single Barrel bottle. (Are the bottles the same?)

If you succeed, you'll have glassware worth of Spinal Tap (http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/s/spinaltap14112/bigbottom388470.html).

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

09-02-2007, 21:16
Cutting glass is not something you actually do...glass sheets are scored and broken along that score line...the only thing I know that cuts glass well is a sandblasting setup...I've "drilled" holes in bottles to make lamps...even this is an exercise in patience...a friend of mine had some custom tabletops done on a CNC waterjet cutter...50% failure rate...

Aged In Oak
09-02-2007, 21:24

Haven't cut one down, but I've been working on and off on turning some liquor bottles into decorative lamps. This involves drilling at least a 1/2" hole in the side or bottom to insert a string of lights. I haven't done any of the final products (I'm aiming to do one of the beautiful Eagle Rare bottles eventually), but I've been practicing on cheap stuff like spaghetti sauce jars.

A couple key things I've learned so far...

1) A good vise or other way to hold the bottle still is essential!

2) Be GENTLE and take it SLOW. I've broken a piece from one jar and completely shattered another through haste. Timothy can probably attest to this as well.

Especially because of #2, I'd think that a pipe cutter-like device would definitely be the best way to go. If you do use a power tool, make sure you have some way to cool the cutting edge and bottle, and be sure to wear eye protection and a filtration mask over your mouth/nose (glass bits will go everywhere!). Whatever technique you decide to use, I highly recommend practicing it on something you don't care about two or three times to work out the kinks. Glass, especially in bottle form, is a very different medium to cut into than wood or metal. Things that seem great in your plans or on paper often won't work out well.

I don't mean any of this to dissuade you. Just want to give some friendly tips on things I learned the hard way! :rolleyes: Beyond looking great, the BTAC bottles seem pretty sturdy, so they should make a good final product. Please keep us posted on the project! I'm especially interested to know how the rounding of the cut edge works out.

09-02-2007, 23:20
I seem to remember that Ronco, or one of those "as seen on TV companies", use to sell a glass cutting device specifically for the task of converting bottles into drinking glasses. Does anyone else remember this? Perhaps finally, all those formative years of TV watching are paying off!

09-03-2007, 00:09
Yeah, I had one of those bottle cutters when I was about 12 (early 70's), and I've still got a nice scar on my left middle finger to remind me.

The one I had (don't remember the name), you just lay the bottle down on it and turn the bottle pressing down hard to put a scratch around the bottle, and then tap around the scratch to break the top portion off, virtually impossible to get a nice clean cut with no big chips out. Maybe they have better ones nowadays, a Google search on 'bottle cutter' brings some up.

09-03-2007, 00:12
GoodSearch yielded an interesting hit (http://users.ticnet.com/mikefirth/bottle.htm)when I searched on 'bottle lamp glass cut'.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Special Reserve
09-03-2007, 05:32
In the past I had a carbide tipped hacksaw blade in the shape of a rod that would cut glass.

Make yourself a jig to hold the bottle use a block to help guide the blade at the beginning get yourself some practice on a different bottle and work slowly.

If you can get a diamond cutting rod for a hacksaw it will be even better. Of course you can get a diamond saw blade for a miter saw and life will be easy.

09-03-2007, 16:42
....If you can get a diamond cutting rod for a hacksaw it will be even better. Of course you can get a diamond saw blade for a miter saw and life will be easy.

Thanks for the advice. My dad has a miter saw. I'll probably look into that.

It was a long shot but just for giggles I tried using a chop-saw on a empty bottle of Booker's. As you can (hopefully) see it did start to cut, or more appropriately grind, the glass but it quickly cracked the bottle.

Special Reserve
09-03-2007, 16:56
I have "cut" glass with a hacksaw, you actually grind the glass away. I've never did so with a miter saw.

You can get diamond tipped blades and if you work slowly (heat is your enemy) and cut around the bottle by rotating the bottle as you go and lowering the blade into an uncut part of the bottle you may be successful.

I would also ask the staff where you buy the blade from if they have any experience with this.


09-13-2007, 08:11
After the test on the Bookers bottle, did you decide to call it quits Brad?? I hope you're still working out a way to do this.

Hope to hear more on this soon.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Grain Brain
09-13-2007, 11:21
Yeah, I've been thinking about doing this too, precisely because I do remember those Ronco (or whoever) commercials from the 70s. I'd love to make some tumblers out of the BTACs.

09-13-2007, 15:59
Haven't given up, just postponed till later. As a millwright It's my busy time of year. I've got one farmers leg tore apart, another's bin floor tore out replacing an unload auger (both screw and tube) and three more larger jobs lined up that need to be completed before the snow flies. And everyone has is started picking. (corn anyway) Harvest is crunch time.

09-16-2007, 16:32
It's a great idea - I'd love to do that too if there was a way to make it work.