A Trip to the Neighborhood Glasscutter

I needed to get a piece of glass cut this afternoon so I went to one of the local neighborhood glass cutters.  I mean, who doesn’t have a glass cutter (actually, two) around the corner from their apartment?  Anyways, I went to the shop with a piece of cardboard cut to the size I needed and asked if they could help me.  Fortunately, the woman behind the counter wasn’t busy and she immediately set to work on this little proyecto.

After measuring the cardboard (24.5 cm by 36 cm), the lady pulled out a long piece of vidrio from the corner of the office and put it on the counter between us.  It looked like one of those leftover pieces from some other work.  She asked if the piece was thick enough and I said that yes, it was.  Next, she measured out the dimensions on the glass with a tape measure and, using a T-square as a guide, ran an exacto knife down the pane at the point on the tape marked as 36 cm.  The blade of the knife made a thin, barely perceptible scratch on the surface.  She turned the glass so that the marked line ran right above the edge of the table and — this was where I realized I should have brought a camera — proceeded to snap the pane in two with her hands, right along the marked edge.  The second cut at 24.5 cm was similarly performed.

Part of the story I have left out was that I had also asked her to smooth the edges so the I could handle it easily with my hands.  So, she next reached under the counter and pulled out a small belt sander, which she flipped over and placed upside-down on the counter top.  She said “this may get noisy” and turned on the sander, which began to vibrate and jiggle because, after all, it was laying precariously on its handle.  Then, holding the glass with her hands, she ran all four edges, both top and bottom, along the wobbly, unsupported belt sander.  Of course, she was wearing neither ear plugs nor gloves nor goggles.  OSHA be damned!

Now I have a piece of glass, 24.5 cm by 36 cm, with smooth, albeit uneven, edges.  All said, it cost me 20 pesos — about a buck fifty.


México, D.F.


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