Using the Diamond Saw(s)


  2. Turn On the water supply, (on wall: ¼-turn).
  3. Go SLOW.
    (A slow cut is a clean and SAFE cut.)
  4. When done clean saw THOROUGHLY.
    (NO glass shards or dust/residue left on saw.)
  5. Empty Collection Basin under saw.
    (Scrape glass residue into trash.)
  6. When done, Turn OFF water supply.
  7. Clean Floor.


  • EYE PROTECTION is ALWAYS required, including use of face shield if appropriate.
  • HEARING PROTECTION is ALWAYS required. Earplugs are located on top of Cold Shop Cabinet. Earmuff are hanging in various locations around Cold Shop.
  • ALWAYS make sure the water is on BEFORE beginning a cut. The Diamond Saw is water cooled. This prevents your glass from cracking and the blade from overheating and warping.
  • NEVER force a glass piece through the saw! The diamond saw blade used to cut glass has a continuous edge. It does not actually “cut” the glass but rather grinds it away. It needs time to do this. The slower the cut, the smoother it will be. Too fast and the glass can crack, chip violently and (worst of all) the blade can grab the glass and pull it, jamming the blade and breaking the glass. So, go slow!
  • NEVER hold the glass so that your hand is in line with the blade! Even though the blade isn’t “sharp” in the same way a knife blade is, it can harm you if your hand is pulled into it. More likely, however, is the likelihood that the glass itself will break and cut you if your hand is in line with the blade, and therefore likely fracture lines.
  • Thoroughly CLEAN the saw (including the basin) after finished! No visible sign of glass dust (white powder) should be left on any part of the saw, floor or surrounding wall after cleaning. This tenacious dust is composed mostly of amorphous silica and can be invisible when wet but obvious as a white film when dry. Although less dangerous than crystalline silica, Amorphous Silica dust is a classified as Hazardous Substance and is controlled by OSHA guidelines. (see Terms: Amorphous Silica) Failure to properly clean up will result in docking of Participation Grade and (if repeated) revoking of access to Cold Shop.
  • Be cautious of wet floors! Almost all equipment in the Cold Shop uses water. This means that the floors are very often wet and can be slippery. Caution should be used anytime you are working in or moving through the Cold Shop. In event of excess water, squeegee water into nearest drain immediately! Squeegees can be found hanging throughout the Cold Shop. Mop up water residue with mop.


  1. NEVER run the saw without water! It will overheat and severely dull the blade and (worse) break your glass. The water not only cools the glass and blade, but helps remove ground material that would otherwise build up and “bind” the blade. If you turn on a saw and no water is spraying off the blade, make sure the water supply is turned on at the wall and that it is in fact connected to the machine. If it’s turned off you can simply turn it back on again by turning the valve counter-clockwise. If the water supply is not connected to the machine notify a Grad Student, Studio Tech, Professor or Advanced Student.
  2. A diamond saw doesn’t “cut” glass, it grinds it away. This is important because you have to consider that the grinding action will leave a fairly rough surface on the glass (depending on the type of blade) and that surface might have to be removed to achieve the final look you’re going for. So, it’s prudent to be cautious when cutting the pour-cup off a casting, for example. Leave a little more than you think so you have enough material to finish the surface without eating into the casting. Remember, you can always remove material, but it’s nearly impossible to add any back on!
  3. Plan your cuts with some visual mark. Oil-based pencils (China-markers) work great, as do Sharpie® However, to protect your marks from the force of the water use clear tape—it can take quite a while to finish a cut and the constant water spray can remove your carefully placed marks.
  4. Always make a test cut on a piece of scrap glass. This provides a visual guide for depth of cut, width and finish. It can also reveal any issues with the saw before you cut your artwork.
  5. Go slow! Remember, you’re grinding the glass away. This takes time. If you rush and push too hard the glass can “bind” in the saw and destroy your work, damage the saw motor and ruin the blade (roughly $300 to replace).
  6. When finished cutting make sure to remove all glass debris. This includes removing glass shards and cutoffs—clear glass can be put in the “Clear” Breakoff bins, colored glass can be put in the “Dead Glass” bins. Glass shards are a hazard and should never be left on the saw bed, basin or floor surrounding the saw. These shards can cut you or scratch your work.
  7. Clean glass dust off all surfaces of saw when done! This includes sponging out the interior of the saw basin. There should be no white residue left after proper cleaning. Glass dust is a respiratory hazard and will not be tolerated.
  8. Turn off water when done. Never leave the water-supply on. If the water is left on it can drip, which will cause the saw blade to rust, creating a rough spot on the blade which can damage work. Rust can also seize sensitive moving parts of the machine, which are expensive to replace.