September 27, 2020
The Art of glass bottle sanding

The Art Of Glass Bottle Sanding

When it comes to sanding down your glass bottle projects you will want them to have a nice smooth finish. In the end, having the right tools and a little persistence does pay off.

The project – I wanted to score and sand a SVEDKA bottle for a flower vase. What made this project challenging was the shape of the bottle itself. The base is narrower than the top. Hey, If it were easy, anybody could do it.

The Score – I went with my tried and true bottle cutter by Creator’s. This particular bottle cutter can handle square bottles by setting it on end. Carrying on with this same technique, I simply set the bottle on end and made sure that my rollers were aligned with the center of the bottle so that it would allow me to rotate it evenly on the scoring wheel

This image shows how far away the base of the bottle was from the rollers.
By aligning the rollers to the center I would be able to rotate it evenly.

The Separation – Over the years, I have had to throw away numerous bottles because they didn’t separate properly. From beer bottles that literally broke apart to the some of the larger glass bottles that left a huge broken piece out of a section of the rim. This time was the third outcome that always makes me question whether or not I can salvage it. This outcome involves a perfect separation but will have a small shard still left behind. Ugh.

The Sanding – This bottle isn’t too hard to come by but when you’ve come this far and it is so close to being completed, you really hate to just throw the whole thing away. I had just recently replaced my Saber Tooth Diamond Sanding Pads. With five years of use on them, it was definitely time to trade them in. It is amazing how well they lasted. I’ve salvaged quite a few bottles with them and now the new set was ready to tackle my SVEDKA / flower vase project at full capability.

It was nice to work with the new sanding pads again and it made my job easier. This was a huge jag of glass that needed to be sanded down. As of the writing of this post, I got it to look respectable enough for the pictures but I really want to smooth it down even further so that the end result won’t show any of the glass imperfections.

The end result – Overall, this project came together quite nicely. When you look at the top of the bottle you notice that some edges are thinner than other areas. This inconsistency in the glass thickness is usually what gives you trouble during the scoring and separation process. It’s always good to know that you can still save some of these bottles with a little bit of ‘elbow grease‘ and ‘know how‘.

2 thoughts on “The Art Of Glass Bottle Sanding

  1. Hi Nick and Silke, how are you folks doing? After almost a decade of struggling with different ways to smooth cut glass bottles for various uses especially drinking glasses, I found the fastest and best solution for me and I thought I would share it with you. I have always been pretty picky about only giving people creations that had very skin safe and mouth safe edges from cut glass. That often meant smoothing cut glass with a power sander and 220 grit, then using a random orbit sander with 320, 600, & 1200 grit pads to finish the cut side and the outside edges, then using an electric drill with rubber cores covered with 220, 320, 600, & 1200 grit silicon carbide sand paper. That represented an hour and a half for every bottle. But now I have migrated to a single tool with 3 different grit sanding belts and only 3 short cycles. The tool that solves my problem is an inexpensive 3×21 belt sander by Black & Decker. Web link shown below. https://amzn.to/2WHO6hJ

    I remove the detachable dust bag and connect the port to a standard shop vac vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter. It is impossible to collect 100% of the glass dust so it’s import to work in a garage or outdoors and to wear a face mask as well. The sander is mounted upside down (flat side up) in a sawhorse / folding work table. This configuration quickly smooths the flat edge of the glass and smooths the outside edge as well. But the belt sander has a tapered front / side = and while turning the mouth, the inside edge of the glass is angled against the small rotating edge thus smoothing the inside edge of the glass. It only takes a minute to neatly smooth each of the 3 edges of the glass. The 1st cycle uses a 220 grit Aluminum / Zirconium Norton sanding belt – inexpensive and very long lasting. It aggressively eats the edge smooth. The 2nd cycle uses a 400 grit 3 x 21 Silicon Carbide sanding belt. Many manufacturers have them or will make them for you. I get mine from Klingspor. They can be used wet or dry and have good amount of usage per belt. Dry works faster and efficiently and is less messy than wet . The 3rd cycle is a copy of the 2nd cycle but with a 800 grit belt. I do a bunch or bottles at the same time. Run the whole lot through each cycle. They come out smooth on all edges and flat on the top / cut edge. Excellent result and 800 grit leaves the edge shiny smooth. If you would like any additional information, just let me know. Best Regards, Sean

    1. Sean,

      It’s great to hear from you! It has been ten years since we’ve been communicating. Thank you for sharing your tips with our readers. We have referenced your separation techniques that you shared in a video as well.

      Stay safe,
      Nick and Silke

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