Wine Bottle Cutting Jig

    We've been storing up empty wine bottles for awhile. The plan was to recycle them into some artwork - vases, candleholders, etc. Earlier this year, we tried to cut the top off by scoring them with a glass cutter and heat-shocking the glass. The plan didn't work out so well, mainly because the scoring was very uneven, both in pressure and in making an even line around the vase. So while we were able to heat-shock the glass into breaking off, the end result was more effort than it was worth, and not very pretty.
    So over the last few months, I've ideas of how to improve the results simmering on my mind. The result is a nifty cutting jig I threw together this weekend:

The idea is simple: a couple of boards to hold the bottle while we rotate it, and a backstop to keep the bottle from sliding back and forth. The glass-scoring tool is seated in a wood block so it's easier to apply pressure.

My favorite part is the peg and hole system I used to allow the tool to cut the bottles at varying heights. The holder / guide for the cutting tool has two pegs at the bottom which pair up with numerous holes along the length of the guide-rail.
This allows the jig to accommodate bottles of multiple sizes. It doesn't allow for arbitrary distance movements, but the steps are 3/4" apart, so it's close enough for practical purposes.
As you can see, it makes nice even scoring - perfect for later heat-shocking for cutting the glass.

Tools needed:

  • Jigsaw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Sander
  • Power screwdriver / drill

Total cost:

  • $7 (Another furring strip and some longer screws.)

EDIT: Here's a schematic of the jig with sizes. The base and backing is 1/4 inch plywood, and the square wood pieces are furring strips. Be sure to take all safety precautions when working with wood, glass, and fire. Click for a larger size.


  1. Wow I need to check this a bit more frequently. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

    Anyway, I made this off the cuff using parts I had available. I'll put together a schematic and append it to the post soon.

  2. Alright, schematics up, I hope it works out for you, let me know if you have any more questions.

  3. Brilliant!! I love it, and thanks for sharing. I have also tried several ways in the past i.e. heated steel rod in old motor oil, glass cutter etc. but this device is nifty.

    Could you please elaborate on the heat-shocking process?


    1. Socrates,
      The basic idea is that glass cracks when it's subjected to a rapid change in temperature. Usually this is done by heating up the glass then exposing it to cold water. You can find various alterations on this technique, here are a few;

  4. Hey mad scientist, now the last step: sanding down the rough edge. I just launched a kickstarter campaign for the Bottle Bit. It makes that last step a snap.

    1. Neat idea. I've taken to using a sanding drum on the mill to do the hard work. I imagine the mass and inertia of larger bottles might be a problem, how does it handle those?