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.
Once you have one 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.
Best Stained Glass Grinders
Glastar All Star G8 Grinder – Recommended
The Glastar All Star G8 Grinder (paid link) is the Rolls Royce of the grinder world.
Efficient and reliable, it has that quality feel about it that you only get with the best.
It lives up to its promise by being sturdy and long-lasting.
I’ve had mine for years and have had no trouble with it.
Despite having lots of useful extras, it’s light, easy to assemble and to clean.
- one of the quickest and most powerful grinders, running at 3560 rpm with a 1/9 hp motor. This means it eats away glass faster than other grinders. No more sore fingers!
- boasts a very generous 11” X 13” work surface which is great for bigger projects. The larger area means that the stained glass grinder feels very safe and stable.
- compatible with virtually all the accessory products available, which makes it a very valuable and adaptable part of any stained glass kit. You can drill through fused glass easily with the drill bit.
- handy drawer for accessories, along with a coolant drain. If you’re like me and are always losing your stained glass grinder accessories, this is a very helpful feature.
- protective shield which helps stop the glass and water from spraying everywhere. I always wear safety glasses when grinding to be on the safe side but it does form a useful secondary barrier and stops you getting wet.
- spare drill bits are a little expensive, although it comes with two grinder bits – 1” and ¼”, which should cover most projects.
- the built-in water pump is great for keeping the glass cool, but is a bit splashy.
The Glastar All Star G8 Grinder (paid link) is a quality stained glass grinder that came top in the reviews. It’s reliable and built to a professional standard and will suit stained glass makers at any level. 9 out of 10.
Is Grinding Glass Necessary?
The short answer is no, you don’t have to grind glass.
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 why the myth of having to grind each and every piece of glass has come from. I DO know that it will waste a lot of your time.
A stained glass grinder should only be used to tidy up a piece of glass and get it to fit accurately.
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