Building a simple Wet Grinder Bin

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    I would like to share my simple grinder set-up that you can easily build at home or in your studio with materials from Home Depot and Target or your local discounter.

    When I started working in glass I really was clueless about “finishing” or cold-working. (Honestly I was clueless about everything regarding the process but that’s another story) After researching the equipment, lap grinders, saws and belt sanders, I was even more confused. How could I learn more about the methods, with out purchasing some of this pretty expensive stuff? When I decided to make fused glass I bought the biggest kiln I could afford because I love BIG art. Most of the lesser expensive cold working things were targeted at the “small scale art”. Which is fine, but did not seem like a good solution to finishing large work. At first I tried a 104″ stand-up belt grinder. Although it worked well, it posed other issues. My pieces were heavy and hard to hold so I purchased a hand-held wet angle grinder. I liked the angle grinder, it was a bit more aggressive and not so heavy, but stabilizing the glass to use it posed a major challenge. I made several things I thought might work, you know… trial and error and error again. Ultimately I designed a “grinder bin” (although it looks more like a dog bath!) and it works so well I am sharing the plans to make it with friends in my local glass community.


    Start with a rubbermaid tub from home depot about 40”? Cut a drainhole in bottom and hook up 1” drainage tube to a bucket or floordrain.(An electric drill with a 1“ bit goes right through the plastic) Drill 1” holes over handles of tub and some front to back. Use 1”curtain rods or run through the holes. Pool noodles of various sizes roll easily over the rods and provide both protection and support to the glass. For height adjustment and stabilizing of glass, use blocks of packing foam in bottom of tub as needed. I put my tub on a rolling cart so the glass would always be about waist height. Holding the grinder with a 90 bend to your arms helps prevent back strain and allows more control and balance. Let the ginder do the work for you! Light pressure is best, don’t press too hard and stress your glass. I added a plastic curtain to contain the overspray. Wear a waterproof apron, rubber boots, hearing protection, mask and googles! Wet glass dust is not good to breathe. Be aware water and electric requires extra caution! I also stand on a thick rubber mat. Take care with the cords and always use a GFCI wet shutoff outlet. Be safe… and happy grinding!

    PICTURES LOCATED AT LINK BELOW (just cut and paste into your browser window)!/album.php?aid=155449&id=240976633524&ref=mf

    Stephen Richard

    Do not put drains from glass working water and waste directly into your waste lines.  It will clog them up! very expensively!  Use the same kind of things ceramics people use – a settling tank.

    Stephen Richard

    blogs at:   and


    Thank you for sharing your experience, photos from a workshop, and the description of how to build the bin.  I have wondered how to cold work larger pieces in a small area using home made equipment. Your post encourages me to expand my scope of fused glass endeavors!  Please also consider posting more about your cutting table layout and materials as well as your use of a framers mat cutter.

    Buddy Atkinson


    This wet grinding bin has totally changed the concept of cold working glass for me.  We followed Susan’s directions very carefully, mounting the ginder facing forward and added a stand (a cut down wooden chair) and platform on which the glass can rest and sitting about 2″ out from the face of the grinder so changing pads, etc. is easy.  I couldn’t be without it and I am VERY grateful to Susan Hirsch, designer and excellent artist for this invaluable help!



    Windows listen attentively for the sound of broken glass.

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