Jan 21st 2016

Who Swipes Glass

Swipe means to slightly bevel the sharp edges of a piece of glass.

One of the easiest, most basic, and important steps overlooked by the majority of framers today.

"Swipe" is a term borrowed from the glass industry meaning to slightly bevel the sharp edges of a piece of glass. You can call it "Bevel", "Grind", "Sand", or anything you want, it's Preventive Medicine.

Look at some of the reasons for swiping every piece of glass you handle:

  • You won't cut yourself as often.
  • You will take a lot less time to clean the glass because you won't have to be so careful.
  • Swiped glass won't shred your glass cleaning rag and make rag dust right where you're trying to be clean.
  • You will probably do a much better job cleaning the glass near the edges.
  • Swiped glass won't scrape little fibers of wood, gold leaf, or paint from the rabbet of your wood frames.
  • Swiped glass won't chip and break as often in metal frames.
  • Framespace goes onto swiped glass very easily.

What does it take to swipe a piece of glass?

Using a carborundum whetstone, a diamond or tungsten grit seamier, or a hand seamier. (All readily available from industry suppliers or hardware stores.) With two or three quick, light, strokes along the edges on both sides gets rid of sharp edges. It takes less than 15 seconds to swipe a 16 x 20 piece of glass.

Other considerations

Sometimes, at the very corner of the lite of glass, there may be a little bump or point of glass sticking out because of poor cuts. You MUST break off this point before you continue framing. Most of the time when glass breaks in either a wood or a metal frame, the break starts at the corner. It's not just a coincidence.

The inside corners of both wood and metal frames are exactly 90°. The inside corner of a wood frame may even have a little glob of hard glue. This doesn't leave room for any little point left on the corner of the lite of glass and pressure in the normal fitting of the frame is sometimes all it takes to break the glass.

It may be a good practice to break off just the tip of each corner with a pair of pliers before you swipe the glass. It takes a lot less time than replacing and refitting a new piece of glass.

Always wear safety glasses when working with glass. You need good eyes to be a good framer.

Refer to FACTS Standard "Determining Frame Allowance" A7(Org.) -02-96-01.

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