I learnt this trick the 50's from an article in the Australian
Post, Pix or People Magazines where it was recommended for the
home handyman to cut glass for replacing glass in domestic
louver windows. However, I assumed it only worked with the
thinner glass they used in those days but admit I haven't yet
tried it with today's thicker domestic glass. I may experiment
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"According to Scientific American, water causes glass to crack
more easily because when a water molecule enters the crack, a
reaction occurs in which a silicon-oxygen bond at the crack and
an oxygen-hydrogen bond in the water are cleaved, creating two
hydroxyl groups attached to silicon. As a result, the length of
the crack grows by the size of one bond rupture. The water
reaction reduces the energy necessary to break the
silicon-oxygen bonds, thus the crack grows faster."
"From the book The Farmer's New Guide, 1893
How to Cut Glass - It is not generally known that glass may be
cut, under water, with a strong pair of scissors. If a round or
oval be required, take a piece of common window glass, draw the
shape upon it in a black line; sink it with your left hand under
water as deep as you can without interfering with the view of
the line, and with your right use the scissors to cut away what
is not required."
It actually is for real. What's not obvious is that they're
not "cutting" the glass. They're chipping it.
The scissors are chipping bits off the edge. The water is there
to deaden the shock and thereby prevent the rest of the glass
Stained glass artisans do the same thing using glass nibblers,
but those don't need water, because they're taking off such
You can't cut through the middle of a sheet of glass using
that method. Cutting with scissors requires that the cut
material has to bend. Glass won't bend enough - it'll break
Except when in a near molten state - some glassblowers _do_ use
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