Which Stained Glass Saw Do You Recommend?

stained glass saw

Stained Glass Saw – Taurus 3 Ring Saw

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There are 3 main types of stained glass saw; Ring Saws, Band Saws and Wire Saws and they all have slightly different strengths and weaknesses.
The Taurus 3 Ring Saw* is the one I use and recommend.
I get a small % if you click through from my website and purchase it. As I hope you know by now, I’m not going to be recommending things I don’t find tip top and incredibly useful. Thanks for your support.

1. Ring saw

This type of stained glass saw has a cutting blade that is a rigid steel wire ring – about 10cm diameter – that spins at high speed. You cut without turning the glass with these saws. Good for a all sorts of work – probably the most versatile. You can go side to side with them as well as back and forth.

My Recommendation – Taurus 3 Ring Saw *paid (pictured above)

*Just so’s you know, if you click and buy through the link within 24 hrs I get a small % from Amazon, (not you!). Thanks in advance but no worries if you have a local store – I’d always support them first 🙂

2. Band saw

These glass saws have a steel ribbon blade with a diamond coated front edge. They can cut fancy shapes and are faster than wire saws. Good for high production work but you can only go back and forth not side to side. eg. Diamond Laser 3000XL.

3. Wire saw

These saws have a straight wire blade that travels up and down very quickly. Very popular as a bit cheaper than the other two types, with cheap replacement blades. Good for fine delicate work. eg the Gryphon Omni-2 Plus+.

What else do you need to know?

  1. They cost about $300-500, £400 for us over the pond.
  2. You MUST watch your water levels with a stained glass saw. If you don’t you’re asking for problems.
  3. A useful tip: use permanent marker lines smeared with vaseline for cutting guide, it won’t smear off with water.

Tips for Using the Saw Successfully

The Taurus Ring Saw should give you really nice cuts and help you make difficult cuts on different types of glass, for example drapery glass or glass that has been fused. To use the saw to it’s full potential do the following:

  • make sure everything is in alignment and there’s enough water, not too much though
  • don’t push too quickly. Go MUCH slower than you think you should.
  • don’t leave the belt in water after you’ve finished cutting.
  • wet the entire belt before turning on the saw and that seems to keep the belt from jumping the gears on startup
  • it helps to put a cap full or more of grinder coolant in the water to lube the belt.

Ongoing Stained Glass Saw Maintenance

If your stained glass saw starts to vibrate a bit or doesn’t make a clean cut, look out for the following:

  • your belt may be stretched out and you’ll need to replace it
  • replace the belt whenever it starts to be heavily grooved or starts to lengthen. Probably 2 or 3 belts per blade change. The blue gear and pulleys all get replaced every couple of years.
  • if the belt keeps coming off, try putting a doubled over rubber band around the tension arm, that sometimes helps.
  • you can buy a ‘slim blade kit’ that reduces the amount of glass removed, so that will help with vibration and give you more flexibility.

Stained Glass Saw Questions

 Is It Worth Buying One?

Stained glass saws have their place and use in the studio, but should not be viewed as something to use for all your cutting. Saws are good in cutting some of those difficult pieces with deep curves and where the quantity of glass may be very limited.

If one is proficient in scoring glass accurately, that task can be done considerably faster than using a saw. The saw will basically do some of the finishing grinding but using a saw is slow. Don’t be tempted to cut ‘impossible’ cuts as the glass will most probably break further down the line if it’s a weak shape. I’ve written a whole page outlining 5 things stained glass saws do well which may help you decide whether you need one.

Questions About Stained Glass Projects

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17 thoughts on “Which Stained Glass Saw Do You Recommend?”

    • A lens cutter is a better bet for small accurate circles. This is a good one (* paid link)
      It does up to 5″ diameter circles. Try using painter’s tape to hold down the corners of the glass securely while running the score.

  1. I have both the Laser Diamond 3000xl and the gryphon ring saw.
    I use the band saw with its thin blade to cut lines through a large piece of background in order to keep the design flowing (think of the Youghiogheny glass here).
    I use the band saw for some impossible cuts and also to make cutouts for gems. Both serve me well. Something to remember is that the bandsaw is more of a delicate flower, while the ring saw is a big, bad, bully. 😄

    • I’m sorry I can’t help you, I don’t sell tools or materials, I offer online courses for stained glass. You could try an online stained glass supplier and ask them.

  2. I have tried ring saws, etc. But, have found that the MicroMark band saw with the glass cutting blade is great. The main issue it has is that the cutting throat area of the saw itself is somewhat small. If you have a large piece to cut, it becomses a balancing act to get it done.

  3. I have the Diamond Laser XL3000 which I love! I understand how to clean the water receptacle and filters below, but am stumped how to clean the front receptacle that houses the lower wheel assembly…it seems like it should come off; glass chips and some water accumulate there and none of the instruction videos mention it!

    • Hello Lavinia, I’m sorry I don’t know this band saw so can’t advise. Anyone else out there know the answer?
      Good luck with your quest, Milly

  4. I am using basic subway tile to make a ceramic mosaic and need to cut curves. Which machine do you suggest?
    I know you deal in stained glass but hope you can help me.
    Thanks in advance.

    • I use a micromark micro band saw with the glass cutting band saw blade. The blade is expensive ( usually about $120.00, but it does seem to last a long time. I think it cuts a nice edge and very intricate designs.

  5. In the 18 months I’ve had it, I do nothing but fix my taurus. I’ve replaced the wheels etc which are very costly.
    The stabilizer cracked allowing the blade to pop off the wheels breaking the blade. Everything I try to use it, I must fiddle with some part to use it without the belt/blade coming out. A very expensive disappointment

    • Wow, that’s a damning review and one that I’ll look into. I have heard that there are sometimes dodgy saws sold – not just Taurus but all the makes – and you’re just unlucky to have one. Like cars.
      Thanks for your thoughts Joann, it’s always good to have a rounded look at things.

  6. Can you tell me why you prefer a ring saw rather than a wire saw? I would like to purchase a saw and I want to get the most versatile and effective type. Also, do you know if these saws will cut smalti? Thank you!

    • Wire saws are slow and noisy and very loud! I’m not sure about smalti, never tried but I’m guessing yes if they cut glass. I hope that helps a bit.


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