How & When to Change Your Stained Glass Grinder Bit

Grinding is an essential part of the stained glass process, particularly if you’re doing the copper foil method. So, how do you know when & how to change your glass grinder bit?

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Yoga Pants & Glass Grinder Bits

(Stay with me….these two things do relate)

I had the best fitting pair of pants ever. They were yoga pants. And they fit perrrrrfectly. 

I wore them 852 times a week. 

They were bootleg and black and even though they had a super comfy elastic waist, they were so nice that no one even knew they weren’t dress pants when I wore them to work. Bawuuuuhahahaha!

They were like hugs for your legs. I had them for 9 years. 

One morning, I was in a rush to get to work. I threw my hair in a bun, quickly pulled my trusty yoga pants up and took off in a rush. 

I made it all of about two feet before I nearly face planted it into my dresser, my pants all in a puddle around my ankles.

You see, I had washed & worn those little leg wraps of love so many times, the elastic had dry rotted. 

It was a very sad day.

In hindsight, I do recall hearing an odd sort of crunching noise throughout the preceding months when I pulled them up, but to be fair, I assumed it was just my aging joints. 

Or muscles. Or cartilage. Who freakin’ knows. Bodies make weird noises after 30.

Anyway…..dry rot doesn’t happen suddenly. It’s a slooooooooooooow type of degradation.

When To Change Your Stained Glass Grinder Bit

That’s what your grinder bit does. It degrades ever so slowly.

It’s composed of layers of teeeeeeny tiny little pieces of diamond. And as you smoosh your lovely pieces of stained glass into it, the diamond flecks gradually wear away.

You unwittingly compensate for this by pushing a litttttttle bit harder every time you grind. It’s such a gradual change that you simply don’t notice it. 

Until you’re grinding a piece of glass & you’ve had to hulk it out for so long, your arms feel like spaghetti & just when you think you’re fiiiiiinallllly done, you see the edge of your glass still has a collection of tiny little (only slightly rounded) shivs on it.

This. This is definitely the time to do something about it. 

But, unlike the dry rotted elastic pants induced faceplant…

there’s more life left to this bit!

Brands of Grinder Bits

The type of stained glass grinder bit you use makes a difference too. You can cheap out and get some bargain brand bits, buuuuuuuut….

  • they don’t last as long, and
  • junky bits are often made with cheap pot metal (when that gets heated up/friction happens, they can get stuck to the grinder shaft-eeeek!)

So, I’m a fan of Gryphon Brand Grinder Bits. They’re higher quality & fit most brands of grinders.

You can get them & all kindsa other fun stuff for your grinder here in my shop:

How To Adjust Your Stained Glass Grinder Bit

Simply grab your little allen wrench and…

  • loosen the bit
  • slide it up or down the shaft of your grinder by about the height of a piece of glass
  • tighten ‘er back up & that’s it! You just got a whole new life out of your bit. 

Note: MAKE SURE the screw is lined up with the flat spot on the shaft of the grinder. If it’s not, when you run it, it can round out & ruin your grinder shaft. Eeek!

Here’s a video if you’d like to see all that in action. 

(The grinder bit adjustment & change. Not the faceplant.) 

That’s all. I’m going to mourn the loss of my favorite pants again now.  *”Taps” plays in background*

Peace, Love, & Stained Glass,


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