5 Essential Beginner’s Glass Engraving Tools

Part of taking up any new hobby is getting familiar with its tools. Whether you’re woodworking or creating stained glass art, knowing about the requisite instruments and how to use them will be a great help when you’re getting started.

Creating stained glass art involves the use of many glass engraving tools, both large and small. If you’re just getting started in stained glass art, you may not know what to buy.

Purchasing some beginner’s glass engraving tools is a solid entry point to the hobby of stained glass creation, and that’s what this article will cover.

Rotating tool

At some point, you’ll need a rotating tool to run the various burrs that you’ll eventually accumulate and that we’ll cover down below. If you’re just starting out, you probably shouldn’t purchase a top-of-the-line rotating tool. At the same time, you don’t want to buy one of the cheapest versions of rotating tools that are available for under $15. Aim for something in the $30 range (Dremel has a nice selection) to start with.

Rubber silicone burrs

As you can surmise, the metal attachments on the end of the rotating tool are known as burrs. Rubber silicone burrs are available in gray and brown versions, with the gray being rougher than the brown. The bullet is the most popular and useful shape, so keep that in mind when buying. You can use these rubber silicone burrs during the pre-polishing process as well as for smoothing and shading.

White Arkansas stone burrs

Also known as white Arkansas polishing stones, these burrs are useful when shading or smoothing a piece of glass. A good first purchase would be the 3-millimeter ball variety, as it’s the most frequently used and quite versatile. As you experiment with these burrs, you may find you want different shapes like the flame, cone, bullet or cylinder to perform some more advanced techniques.

Green silicon carbide stone burrs

When it comes to beginner’s glass engraving tools, green silicon carbide stone burrs are a must-have. Next to diamond ball burrs (which we’ll cover below), they’re the most popular type of stone burr. They’re ideal for touching up any previous engraving you’ve done as well as for use on blank glass. When sorting out specifics, try to find green silicon carbide stone burrs with 120 grit, and try the 3-millimeter ball, 5-millimeter ball or flame shapes.

Diamond ball burrs

These are the cream of the crop when it comes to glass engraving tools. You’ll need to become quite familiar with these if you’re going to be completing stained glass art projects. They are small metal balls that have a diamond coating and are rated for grit.

You’ll want diamond ball burrs that are between 120 grit and 160 grit (the higher the grit, the finer the finish) and sized at 0.8 millimeters, 3 millimeters or 5 millimeters. To extend the longevity of these burrs, it’s important that you use a slow speed and some water as lubricant to prevent the tip from overheating.

Call for stained glass information today

If you’re a beginner and would like some instruction on how to use glass engraving tools, call us at Smiths’ Stained Glass. We offer classes, workshops and stained glass services, so call us today, and we’ll help you take the first step in creating a spectacular stained glass piece of art.