How To Sand Glass
Glass is the one of the most essential elements in creating widely used products. Whether it’s a chandelier used to light up your entire hallway, or just a simple glass you can drink water in, glass is a fundamental requirement. But no piece of glass, with jagged or broken edges, can be put to good use.
A tainted glass is often discarded as garbage. Just an inch of permanent scratch can make a large glass object futile. Thankfully, there are easy ways you can smooth those uneven edges.
You can conveniently use a normal sandpaper, a sanding bit or an orbital sander, or even some silicon carbide powder to smooth those edges.
Here is how you sand glass to perfection without being an expert.
Table of Contents
Sand glass to perfection
Safety First – Protect Yourself before sanding a Glass
Before you delve into all the sanding methods, there are certain precautions you need to keep in mind. Whether you wish to sand glass once or several times consecutively, the safety measures are the same for all of them.
Firstly, you need to pick a suitable area, preferably in your basement, to carry out the sanding process. Sanding glass may leave you with random glass debris floating aimlessly in the air you breathe.
To prevent any hazardous consequences, pick an isolated room, and make sure nobody enters without wearing proper safety gear. Seal any doors and windows to ensure no sudden gust of wind blows the debris all over the place. Your safety gear should include:
Safety Glass or Goggles
Any lightweight pair of protective glasses is enough to protect your eyes from airborne particles. Mostly available at any home improvement store.
These masks will help remove most of the minute debris from the air you breathe in. Some respirators have an exhalation valve which releases the air you breathe out, and lowers the heat within.
Use gloves, usually made of thick leather or rubber, to avoid cuts from handling sharp edges of the glass.
Glass Sanding with Random Orbital Sander
Begin with spraying window cleaning liquid on the scratched surface of the glass, and carefully polish it with a rag. Attach the abrasive disc of sandpaper onto the orbital sander, before switching it on; start with 80 grit.
Start sanding over the scratched surface evenly, without pressing too hard. Continue this for at least one minute then wipe the glass afterwards with a cloth. Attach the 180 grit sandpaper disc for the next step. Again, sand across the scratched area carefully for approximately 1 minute 50 seconds.
The scratch must be fading away by now. Wipe the glass clean before sanding with 360 grit this time. Sand accordingly, in the same fashion for about one and a half minute.
To achieve an even smoother finish, use a 600 grit sandpaper disc, and sand uniformly over the scratched surface. After about a couple of minutes of sanding, apply some window cleaning liquid to the glass, and wipe to prepare it for the next step.
For the final touch, attach a polishing felt pad to your orbital sander. Pour some glass polishing compound on the felt pad, and gently rub over the glass with the sander switched off at first.
Once the polisher is evenly spread on the glass, turn the sander on and polish all over the glass surface. Continue this process until the glass retains its former shine. Use glass cleaning liquid and wipe it clean one last time. Check for any remaining scratches or stains.
Sanding with Dremel
Dremel is a rotary sanding tool used to jagged polish edges of glass objects. It's compact and efficient. What's crucial about using a Dremel is the choice of sandpaper grit you need to use at each step.
Start with adjusting the abrasive tapered point on the rotary tool before plugging it in. You can also replace with a carbide sanding disc made of silicon carbide, suitable for smoothing glass edges. Once it's set, turn on the tool and start working.
Hold the glass firmly with your dominant hand with the edge facing towards you. With the Dremel switched on hold the side of the tapered point against the edge of the glass. Gradually rotate the glass object to sand the edges evenly. From the center to the outside portion of the glass, keep working the tool until all the jagged edges are smoothed out.
To apply a smoother finish, use fine-grit sandpaper for visual perfection. Wipe the glass clean with a standard window cleaner for a final touch.
Smoothing with sandpaper
Begin with an 80 grit sandpaper for this method. Dip the sandpaper in water to dampen it and lay it on a sturdy surface. Make sure the workplace is rigid and stable. If you don’t have access to sandpaper, emery cloth is a suitable substitute.
Carefully place the piece of glass on top of the wet sandpaper. Use one hand to hold the glass securely, and simultaneously use your other hand to hold the sandpaper in place. Move the glass in orbital motion on the sandpaper.
Exert tender force on the glass so that it's pressed against the sandpaper during rotation. Rotate the glass in two to three-minute intervals to make sure the sanding is constant. Continue this for 5 minutes until the whole glass surface is evenly smoothed.
Once the front portion is done, pick up the glass cautiously. Moisten the sandpaper again and hold it in your dominant hand. Hold the glass edge on top of it and place the sandpaper over the corners of the edge.
Do so by holding it with your index finger and thumb. Rub it all around the edge until all the jagged edges are smoothed out. Use different grits of sandpaper and repeat the process, mainly 150-400 grits. Finalize with 1000 and 2000 grits for a perfectly polished edge.
Using silicon carbide
You need to place a mirror glass or a piece of a window pane on your worktable for this method.
Pour silicon carbide powder on top of it, and spray it with water to make it moist. Place the jagged edge of the glass against the wet sand mirror. Hold it with both hands, exert gentle pressure on it, and twist in a circular motion. After a minute of twisting it against the sand, inspect your glass. The edges should be evenly smoothed out by now.
Use a dry towel to wipe the glass clean of the sand once finished. Smooth out the portions the sand couldn't reach, by manually sanding with sandpaper.
Once you have taken the necessary provisions, make sure to follow the instructions sincerely and in the order mentioned. The methods are easy enough to be done at home but try to do them under supervision for extra security.