Removing the rim off a drop ring glass vessel using a wet tile saw.

July 06, 2020 1 Comment

Removing the rim off a drop ring glass vessel using a wet tile saw.

Removing a rim off of a drop ring vessel is a skill everyone can learn. It is one that takes practice.  I produce a number of  drop ring vessels in my studio and you can see many of them on this website. This is a reproducible way to remove the rim off a drop ring that uses a wet tile saw.  A wine bottle or any used glass bottle will work as a practice tool. Go slow and enjoy the process.

The first time I tried this, it was a disaster.   Even after attending courses, I was still searching for a technique that worked  for me the majority of the time. Originally, I was taught to score the outside, or inside of the vessel with a glass cutter and then to run the score by tapping with your finger or by tapping of the rim with a very small hammer.  This often produced some surprising and crazy  good/bad results.  Next, I tried using a diamond saw on a dremel/foredom tool.  This required 2 people. Someone had to keep the diamond wheel wet while balancing the vessel and the cutting saw. So after many failures and searching, I came up with this process.  

After talking with other glass artists who shared their struggles, this video was born.  I  share my tricks, and a few of my photographs of the lake where my studio/home is located. Nature is a powerful stimulus for much of my work.  A good video/blog does not replace a good course and instructor, with one on one instruction. I have given you the data so you can work this out, but do not be afraid to ask for help. It just takes practice.  Then it becomes fun and meditative.

If you do 10 practice cuts over a week, you will have this down.  I make a warm up cut on a bottle before cutting my actual finished drop vessel. Try a small vessel first before moving to a big vessel. This works with very thin rims or thick rims on large vessels.

Please use all the safety guidelines I have mentioned. Especially, only do this when you are rested and not at the end of a day or distracted.  Eye and ear protection are a must.

Sometimes we all experience "heavy gravity days" where no matter how much we try things don't go well.  This is not something to do on those days. Be rested and take your time. I must credit Pat Flynn, a good friend and goldsmith/metalsmith extraordinaire, with this term and concept.  It is so true.  It took me several years to recognize it, and to celebrate the wonderful flows of life. 

I also use a  dressing stone on my diamond saws blades and flat laps. It is simple and quick and gives me a much better cut. There is a good video from HIS Glassworks.  It makes my  diamond blades cut better and cleaner.  Here is the link to that video:

My last tip is to have the area clean where you stand and are using you saw. Remove the clutter. You need to be able to move around. A clean and sharp tool is a must.  Use plenty of good light and have fun.  Please share your experiences with this technique on my blog in the comment section.

 Thank you for your time. I hope this helps.

Al Heilman


1 Response


July 27, 2022

Very helpful. Thank you.

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