Copper Wheel Engraving

Image © 2006 Jacqueline Allwood

This is an old-established technique of cutting and engraving glass, having been established in Germany and Holland in the 15th and 16th centuries, and enjoying an unbroken tradition since then.

The glass is cut with a copper wheel or disk, rotated in a lathe, whose edge is charged with an abrasive powder suspended in oil. The wheel is fixed, and the glass is offered up to the wheel to make the cut. By using different rotational speeds, different size and edge profile of the wheel, and types of abrasive, a wide variety of texture and line effects may be achieved. Larger wheels with a rounded or vee-shaped profile may be used to give deep cutting which is difficult to achieve with Flexible Drive engraving. On the other hand, free-hand and calligraphic work are more difficult with the copper wheel.

The copper wheel can be used with softer abrasives such as iron oxide (rouge) or zirconium or cerium oxides, to polish and soften the texture of glass engraved with other techniques.

Page last updated 18 August 2014

Website content and images © Jacqueline Allwood 2004-2014