Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What to do when you have no money and need more glasses:

Moving is hard on glass objects. Considering how many times I have moved in the last 5 years (more times than I have fingers), it's a bloody miracle I have glass objects that are still intact. So, I realized that in this last move, I needed more drinking glasses, because I'm a broke snob and refuse to buy plastic. That's how I roll.

So, to fix my problem, I took up drinking copious amounts of wine. HAHA, GOTCHA. No, not really. I did steal a few empty bottle from friends and family. I have this crazy old glass bottle cutter, and I decided to get crafty. I have done it before, with mixed results. I have cut myself. I have burned myself. I have almost shot myself with half a bottle. This time, I was determined to NOT do any of that. Yay me.

To start, you bust out bottle cleaning. Labels have to be removed and the glue has to be scrubbed off. Hot water and elbow grease works best. The glue can interfere in the actual cutting, so make it clean.

Once the bottle are dry, clean, and ready, assemble your necessary tools: bottle cutter, candle, matches, grinding powder, bowl of ice cubes, towel, flat piece of glass. Have everything on hand, because it sucks to realize you are missing a step. Then you are going to cut the bottles. Be sure to adjust the height of the scoring blade every time, not every bottle is going to be cut in the same place. I have noticed it is much easier to cut on the flat bit, rather than the curving neck. And then you cut. You place the bottle against the scorer, press down, and turn, as evenly and carefully as possible. You will hear a crunch noise when you are all the way around. If you don't press evenly, you will have gaps. You can go back over those spots, but they create a less even cut, and will result in more possibilities in cracks or uneven cuts. So be consistent. You will get better over time.
My cutter. 
A scored bottle. This bottle cut was very evenly.
After they are all scored, it is time to separate the two halves. I will admit this is the most nerve-wracking part. You have fire, broken glass, ice cubes all over....what a mess. Anyways, I survived. To start, light the candle. DO NOT USE A GAS STOVE FLAME. I did and it was a Bad Time. A candle is plenty hot. Have the ice cubes very close. Roll the score line through the flame, letting it blacken and heat. You will hear tiny little cracks happening. If you hear nothing, you aren't letting it get hot enough. Slow down. Keep rolling it around a few times, making sure to get the score really toasty. Then grab an ice cube and ice the score line down! Get it while it's hot. You will hear the crack reacting to the heat and cold, and if you cut it well, the score will pop, and the two parts will separate. I always keep a hand towel under the bottle, because they break suddenly.
The ice gets black and messy and drippy. Don't wear nice clothes.
Heating up the score line.
If nothing happens, you did it wrong. Just kidding. No, it just means the score isn't perfect and you have to keep trying. Heat it up, cool it down. The more little crackle noises you get, the better. I did one of them 4 times. Sometimes you barely hit it with ice and it just pops right off. (And sometimes you are an idiot and heat it up over a gas range without taking the cork off and run it under cold water in the sink with no towel under it and the parts explode and shatter all over the damn place.)

All 5 of my bottles, cut and ready to polish.
After you get them cut, assess the damage. Some will be really good, a very clean cut. Some will be ok, with some dips that are shallow and can be polished out. Some will be kinda not so great, with big dips and big lumps, making polishing a nightmare, but possible. And some will just be tossed out, because they will be too badly cut. This round I got 2 really good ones, 2 ok ones, and one urgh one. I decided to bust out the polishing of the good ones first, to get it done. Those were the most rewarding. The other ones will take me more time, and I will complete later, when I have a solid hour to work the dips out. The last one I am contemplating cutting it down a little lower, in the hope that I get a cleaner cut.

Rub it out!
You then take the flat piece of glass (mine is from an old picture frame) and pour a bit of water and some polishing grit on it. And then you go to town on that bad boy. It takes a while. You arm will get tired. And the noise is terrible. It's glass, on sand, on glass. I personally don't mind it, but other people can't be in the same house with me while I polish. It's really noisy. You will polish, then wash it off, let it dry, and look at it. The parts that still need polishing will be shiny. You want the entire surface of the cut to be foggy and soft. Run your fingers around it and feel for sharp edges. CAREFULLY. I recommend polishing a while before doing this. Glass cuts hurt!

After you have gotten it to where you need it, wash the hell out of it. The glass shards are not good to drink! It needs a good scrubbing before use.

And voila! You have new glasses! You are dirty, you have bleeding fingers, your ears don't work right anymore, and your arms have new muscles, but by God, you have some wine glass cups you can use. Yay you.

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