Best Stained Glass Grinder For Quality And Value
The stained glass grinder will soon become your best friend although strictly speaking it is not essential for making stained glass.
Click here to jump to Quick Fixes for Common Grinder Problems
However, once you have a grinder you’ll wonder how you did without! Did you know there are many other creative things you can do with a stained glass grinder, for example drilling holes and bevelling?
The main things to consider when thinking of buying a grinder are:
- power (or torque)
- whether it can easily be adapted for drilling or bevelling
- the availability of replacement bits
Compatibility with other manufacturers’ products is also worth thinking about. You may want to benefit from specialist stained glass grinder accessories such as drilling bits and ripple bits for textured glass.
I used to recommend Glastar and I still have one of their grinders but sadly they had a big warehouse fire and are no longer trading. What a big shame 🙁
Best Stained Glass Grinders
The Grinder by Techniglass – Recommended
The The Grinder and The Grinder 2 (paid link)
I’m putting my hands up: I never recommend items I haven’t tried and tested but I’m making an exception for The Grinder. Why?
Because everyone I respect and trust in the stained glass business is blown away by it. And it looks so very CLASSY 🙂 I’ve always been a sucker for style.
There are two different Grinder models, the first is simply called The Grinder (paid link). This is bigger and more expensive. It’s well suited for studio and more professional workshop setups.
The second is The Grinder 2 (paid link). This is smaller, cheaper and more suitable for hobbyists or those with less space. The cheaper price is reflected in terms of features – no light or shield, no mini surface or large splash shield. You can order these items separately if you want.
Both grinders are of the same high quality.
Here are the two grinders side by side, to give you an idea of size difference:
I’ve summarised the PROS and CONS of this state of the art grinder for you here:
The Grinder – PROS
- Built-in LED light – An absolute must for those of us with eyes that weren’t as good as they once were
- Stainless steel guard around the bit – Far superior to the usual plastic
- Comes with Aqua Flow system – Provides a good flow of water without the need for a sponge (and all that sponge cleaning)
- Removable water tray – Easy to clean
- Effective splash shield – No spray guards are needed as it covers the whole width of the grinder at the back
- Stronger and quieter motor – Faster grinding without the noise of other grinders
- Very large deck – Great for larger pieces of glass
- Compatible with a range of bits – Inland, Glastar, Gel Bits, Twofer and (of course) Brilliant Bits by Techniglass
The Grinder – CONS
- Lower than the Inland grinder – A plus if you’re short like me but may be an issue if you need to be more upright
- Relatively expensive – but I was always taught that if you can afford the best, then go for it 🙂
If I could justify buying a new grinder at this time this is the one I would buy. Without a doubt.
Is Grinding Glass Necessary?
The short answer is no, you don’t have to grind glass before foiling.
You don’t have to grind glass edges to make copper foil stick. If you don’t believe me, try this test. Cut a glass shape without grinding. Now try sticking copper foil around the edges. Did it stick? I thought so!
I’m not sure where the idea of having to grind each and every piece of glass has come from. I DO know that it will take a LOT more time.
A stained glass grinder is only necessary to tidy up a piece of glass and to get it to fit accurately.
I know my view on this causes consternation from those who religiously grind all their pieces before foiling. As always, I would never insist my way is best. If grinding each piece works for you, carry on 🙂
Stained Glass Grinder Suppliers
Any local stained glass store will be able to show you these reviewed grinders.
Otherwise, most of the models discussed are available from Amazon online. They are very reliable and accommodating.
Everything Stained Glass receives a small percentage from Amazon (not you!) for any grinders bought by clicking through this site. I hope you find our review service helpful.
Other Stained Glass Grinders
Inland Wizling Cg
Inland make a whole range of grinders. The Wizling Cg is their most basic model. It’s cheap and reliable and lasts.
It is incredibly simple to set up and operate and never breaks down.
You can use Vaseline for lubricating the shaft and inside the grinding bit to prevent it getting stuck.
-It has a reasonably sized 9” X 10” grinding surface, which adequately supports bigger pieces of glass as you pass them across the grinding bit.
– With a 3450 rpm motor and 1/22 hp, it isn’t the most powerful, so if speed and power are what you need for heavily textured glass, or if you do lots of grinding this might be too slow and hard for you.
This is a cheap and cheerful grinder which is certainly up to most tasks. It is more than adequate if you can’t find the extra dollars for the Glastar and will serve you very well. 8 out of 10.
Inland Wiz Cg Grinder
The Wiz Cg Grinder is a mid-range grinder.
With a 3550 rpm motor and 1/11 hp, this has more power and speed than the Wizling Cg and is a good bet for copper foilers who use their grinder more regularly.
– It comes with two grinding bits which is a plus, a standard ¾” and a smaller ¼” for more fiddly work.
– Both of these Inland grinders come with a 5-year warranty.
– You can also convert these Inland glass grinders for drilling by buying an adaptor and a diamond drill bit – they come in 3/8”, 1/8” and 1/4”, depending on the size of hole you need.
You can see it on Amazon HERE (paid link)
A very good all-round reliable grinder. Reasonably quick and powerful, but I’m not sure if it warrants the extra price-tag over the Wizling Cg. I’d rather spend the extra and go up market to the Glastar. 6.5 out of 10.
Quick Fixes for Common Grinder Problems
1. Your bit chips the glass more than normal.
Your bit is new and needs breaking in. Press less hard than normal to reduce chipping until the bit is smoothed off a bit.
You can inadvertently tilt the glass up when grinding, instead of holding it flat and horizontal. This can also cause chipping.
2. Your bit is old and has bald spots.
This results in uneven grinding and sometimes glass cracking. Replace the bit.
3. The glass gets hot and a white residue builds up.
You’re pushing far too hard on the glass. Let the diamond grits on the bit do the work for you. Make sure you keep the reservoir full and the sponge in contact with the water to prevent glass dust building up.
4. Next to nothing happens and grinding glass takes forever.
Either you’re not pushing hard enough on the glass or you’re using too fine a grit or a worn out bit.
5. The grinder and/or glass is vibrating.
Make sure when you put your grinder bit on that the screw is flush with the flat side of the rod that comes up from the grinder. If the screw is not flush it will cause excess vibration. Try adjusting the bit and the screw.
Hold the glass firmly to the grinder bit. If you hold it loosely it’ll cause it to vibrate.
Grinder Grits & What They Mean
If you’re not sure what the different grinder grits mean and don’t know when to use one but if it will make grinding easier to use one over the other that would be great. I just need to know which one does that.
The grinder bits come in various grades:
Coarse Medium and Fine.
The different grits are for different jobs and types of glass:
The coarser bits are used for removing a lot of glass quickly. You can shape glass with these bits but they will chip. The coarser the grinder bit the more glass it takes off in one pass.
The medium bits follow up the coarse bits by shaping more precisely and smoothing off the glass. This is the most commonly used and useful bit for standard stained glass work.
Use fine bits for thin glass or precious antique glass that chips or breaks easily. These bits are good for mirrors to preserve the backing (although you can also save your balder used bits for this job).
You can smooth edges further with these fine bits.
You can get away with not using coolants by making sure you keep your water in the reservoir cold.
The grinder coolant does help the diamond bit to last longer. It reduces the heat and friction glass grinding can cause on the bit.
The coolant also reduces heat that causes fractures while grinding.
A small amount of chipping is normal. Coolant doesn’t affect chipping at all.
Helpful Stained Glass Grinder Resources
Here’s a 1.5 minute video that shows you which way is best for grinding large amounts and some safety tips for your fingertips!
Video showing the best way to grind glass
Tips For Grinding Small Stained Glass Pieces Accurately
What you need to know about other stained glass tools is here.
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30 thoughts on “Glass Grinder For Accurate Shapes”
On the video they suggested using adhesive bandage tape to protect your fingers when grinding – please don’t do this! When you need a sticking plaster the first-aid box will have none left. I use the rubber finger/thumb covers used by bank tellers for counting bank notes, you can get them in office supply stores. They’re much faster to put on, easy to remove, re-usable many times, more environmentally friendly and don’t deplete the first-aid box.
Good thinking on the safety front Pamela, thanks for adding your thoughts.
Pamela, I tried bandaids years ago and found them to deteriorate too fast. Went to the rubber fingertips the same as you have and much happier, too. Either way, don’t waste money on manicures if you’re going to grind glass!!! Fingernails go first!
Regarding the video, there are better options to protecting your fingers when grinding(tape is awkward). Check out finger cots(disposable), finger protectors(reusable), or rubber finger tips(reusable). Available on Amazon or office supply stores. All these options are cost effective, protect and offer great gripping of the glass pieces.
Thanks for the additional suggestions to save our fingers Silvia 🙂 Very helpful.
I can’t loosen my old grinders head ,
It’s as if it’s fused together . My Allen key won’t fit tightly in order to turn it either ,
If you search for ‘broken screw extractor kit’ you should find the tools you need to drill and get the screw out Susan. I hope that helps.
I take a pair of latex exam gloves and take a strip of duct tape and tear it in half long ways and wrap your index and thumbs as the video shows. When done I just cut off the tips and you have reusable tips. I keep a yogurt cup taped to my back splash for storage. Just another cost saving idea. I am learning so much from everyone’s comments especially the marvelous Milly.
‘Marvellous Milly’ – I like it Joey LOL 🙂 Thanks for your tip, very useful.
Completely disagree with you!!! You need to grind glass to have a nice finished product. Sure you can cut glass to fit but for nice smooth edges, you need to grind. It is not easy to foil glass that is rough and sharp. I was in business for 22 years. I made everything from small hummingbirds to large, 1000 piece molded lampshades to lots of commissioned pieces. A grinder is a necessity for a professional art piece. Don’t skimp on your stained glass finished pieces. The money you spend on a grinder is not wasted!
Oh good, I love it when people find a way they’re happy with and stick to it Kathleen 🙂 I grind glass in certain situations too and would never dissuade anyone from getting one.
I like to put forward different options so that people can choose which works best for them. I personally mix and match; I’m always very happy if I cut accurately first time and don’t have to spend time grinding the glass.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I think she meant that copper foil grips to the glass better if the glass is grounded. I believe it’s not necessary to grind if your using leads unless of course you haven’t cut inside the cartoon lead lines. Personally I hated grinding glass but for copper foil pieces I would feel it’s necessary.
This is something people feel passionate about 🙂 I haven’t found that foil sticks better to ground glass – try experimenting with ground and non-ground edges to see for yourself.
I know lots of people prefer to grind everything before foiling; I’m fine with that! I just don’t think it’s necessary myself.
Safety Point: I do make the edges safe with a carborundum stone before foiling, though. Very important.
Can you recommend a tool for polishing the edges of cut glass such as wine bottles, so they are not sharp? Is there a bit I can use on a grinder that will do this? Thank you in advance for your help.
The finer the grit the smoother the edge you’ll get but you won’t get a shiny polish unless you use hand pads and fine grit, taking it down slowly through the grits until the surface is smooth. Hard work! If you only want ‘safe’ and not shiny, I use diamond hand pads (affiliate) like these to make edges safe. I hope that helps.
I believe you can get a felt disc and use water cerium oxide or a Diamond paste the type that Lapidary artists use to polish gemstones. luckily my flat lap grinding machine came with a felt polish disc so I can grind or polish both gemstones or glass. Failing that option you could even use wet & dry sandpaper’s and elbow grease (Will take forever but achievable) i’ve polished some glass cabochons this way I hand in the past.
Wow, that’s impressive Kizzy! Polishing anything to a shine with elbow grease alone is possible as you say, but very time and muscle consuming.
Thanks for your input, it’s very helpful.
Of course you don’t need to grind the glass to make the foil stick. If that were true it would not stick to the non-ground surface of the glass. But if you use a foiling machine or even tend to put your foil on tight by hand, you will find yourself with many torn foil corners and edges to repair, and probably more band-aids on your sliced fingers. If you are not going to grind (which I agree with) use a hand held grinding pad to take off those knife edges that happen and soften the corners.
I’m with you on this one Karen. There isn’t any need for grinding to make the foil stick, only to get the glass to fit. Make each shape safe to handle with a grinding stone.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Can I buy Inland glass grinders any place? I sold them for years however none of my wholesaler have them in stock and won’t tell me when they will be available are they still in business.
I have had the same experience Mary. They don’t seem to be able to give a reply and yet I know they have recently upgraded their website so can’t be going out of business. A mystery!
I keep waiting and hoping. Sorry I can’t be of more help.
I’m taking a class in cuyahoga falls ohio and the owner was saying he was having trouble getting them too. however, he recently connected and just got the inland grinders in this week at a discounted price (he said).
That’s really interesting and hopeful Natalie, thanks for updating us. I’ll keep my eye open and will update the page if and when they become easily available again.
Was this place Stained Glass 11? I took classes there maybe 15 years ago. We were learning the basics of stain glass for a large window in our church in Bath, OH. Small world!
i am looking for a new grindingdisc for my Inland twinspin.it is a perfect working machine .
some people told me that the inland company has stopped producing ,do you know a shop who still have a disc in stock?and sell and ship this to Europe ,Netherlands a place near Amsterdam
It looks like this has been discontinued Erik. Your best best would be eBay or somewhere similar where someone is selling old stock.
Helpful info! I couldn’t get. Stainedglassnetwork.com to come up in my google search. Could the name have changed?
Thanks Vicki. Not sure what you mean about the link not working; I couldn’t see any reference to Stainedglassnetwork.com on this page. Sorry I can’t help here.
The reference to stainedglassnetwork.com is in the video.
Ah, sorry Lola, I see what you mean. They must have decided not to carry on with the business I guess. Shame! The video is still useful though.