Cutting laminated glass can be a little bit tricky compared to a single layer of glass. The video below demonstrates the safe method for cutting laminated glass. Laminated safety glass is similar to the glass used for automotive windshields. It is essentially two layers of standard glass with a layer of plastic film sandwiched in between. The film acts like an adhesive to hold the pieces of glass together if the window breaks. Common uses of laminated safety glass in architecture include: glass doors, home furniture, bathroom shelving, storefront windows, and bar shelving.
Safely Cutting Laminated Glass
Lay the laminated glass on a flat smooth surface. If you plan to use a work bench, to avoid scratching the glass, cover the bench with something soft and forgiving like a sheet of cardboard or a rubber mat. Carefully measure the cut location and mark it with a sharpie pen. Measure twice & cut once! Place a construction square adjacent to the mark. Using a glass cutter score a line all the way across the entire width of the glass. If you are using a steel cutting wheel you will need to use cutting oil. If your cutter is equipped with a carbide wheel, the oil is not necessary, however the use of oil can reduce the wear on your square and the side of the cutter. This is helpful if you intend to do a lot of cutting.
Slide the glass to the edge of the table, aligning the score mark even with the tables edge. For safety, you should be wearing your gloves and safety glasses at this point. While holding the outlying end of the glass, gently drop the glass on the table which should snap the upper layer of glass along the score line. Carefully flip the glass over. Using your square again, score another line directly in line with the split on the far side of the glass. Misalignment makes it difficult to cut the lamination. Once again, slide the sheet to the edge of the table and pop the glass.
The next step is cutting through the lamination. The best tool for this is a razor blade holder. Gently lower the scrap end of the glass to expose the laminate material. Slice through the laminate as close as you can to the useable section of the glass. If you miss the mark slightly, you can make multiple cuts through the laminate to remove the excess material. In a warm environment, the lamination will be flexible. If your shop is cold in the winter months, you may need to heat up the lamination material to make it pliable. You can use a small propane torch to heat the cut area. You don’t need to heat the glass excessively, you are simply trying to take the chill off the glass to make the laminate bendable.
Video Tutorial | Cutting Laminated Glass
Safety Tips for Cutting Laminated Glass
Gloves: Always wear gloves when cutting laminated glass. After cutting, you will be handling the cut glass which will have sharp edges. Not to mention the sharp edges of the cutting tools themselves. This is especially true of the razor tool used to slice through the laminate material.
Safety Glasses: When you break the score mark, tiny shards of glass could fly off. Wear safety glasses to prevent eye injuries.
Handling: When carrying large sheets of glass, you should use 2 people to lighten the load. Carry the glass in the vertical position and never carry it overhead.