Technical tips (Issue 4)

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In every issue, we share some technical tips. Here, Australian artist Peter Twining (pictured below) provides some tips on grout for mosaics and we seek out some top tips for cutting stained glass.

Over the last few years, the product range has increased markedly. Many products employ groundbreaking technology. There are also products that can be added to some grouts to enhance their durability and water resistance.

Unsanded grout is generally not as durable as the others and isn’t as widely used. Some people prefer it because it is smoother. It can only be used in narrow grout lines and is more susceptible to slumping and cracking.

Sanded grout is by far the most popular with tilers and mosaicists because it’s durable and can go into wider grout lines. It’s suitable for outside and comes in a wide range of colours. Some brands contain mould and mildew inhibitors.

Epoxy grouts are becoming more popular as they are waterproof, more durable and smoother in their finish, making them easier to keep clean. There are two- or three-part systems (depending on the brand) and they’re more expensive to use, but it’s definitely worth paying for the extra benefits. There’s also a translucent epoxy grout available that takes on the surrounding colours of the glass tesserae, eliminating the need for grouting in multiple colours. The translucent grout is best used in grout lines up to 3mm.

Premixed grouts are not that popular, although they are convenient to use. They’ve been known to be difficult to work with and to clean up. They’re generally more expensive to buy compared to mixing your own, which gives you a lot more control. 

I always advise people to read the manufacturer’s technical and safety data sheets before buying any product. They’re easy to read and generally available from the manufacturer’s website. They take the guesswork out of choosing. Better retailers also provide them for you.

Watch this video by Peter about all things grout related…

Find Peter Twining on Treasury Road

And some tips for cutting stained glass…

• When you’re creating a score line, hold the cutter perpendicular to the surface of the glass. Push or pull along the surface to create the score, with enough pressure to hear a “zip” sound.

• Don’t cut over a previous score line if you make a mistake. Create a new score line instead.

• Make sure your cutter of choice is well oiled. Dip your cutter into oil every time you cut glass.

• Score lines have to start at one edge of the glass and finish at another edge. You can’t start or finish a score line in the middle of a piece of glass.

• You can break the glass using running pliers (best for shallow curves and straight / long cuts), grozier pliers, or by hand (best when breaking larger pieces with straight cuts).

Stock photo used.