Volume 39,  Issue 11,  November 2004

It Takes a Toolbox…
The Tools Glaziers Can’t Do Without

by Megan Headley

If it takes the right materials to make a good window, then it takes the right to tools to make an installation go smoothly. Some of those tools might be the same from business to business, but glaziers also have their particular favorites that they keep close at hand for every job. The simplest tools are often the most important and many glaziers aren’t picky when it comes to picking up the tools they can’t do without. 
“As far as installation, you pretty much can’t do without suction cups, a screwdriver and a hammer, believe it or not,” said Glynn Collins, vice president of R.G. Collins Glass Co. in Baltimore. Collins added that he doesn’t use a particular brand for the tools that make his job run smoothly, just whatever is at hand. 
Elbridge Leland, the president and owner of Architectural Contractor, in North Andover, Mass., was more specific. Leland said that Wood’s Powr-Grip suction cups are the tool he can’t work without. 
“There’s no way to put glass in commercial storefront without them. It’s the most used tool that we have,” said Leland. 
Of all the different types and sizes available, Leland uses a variety to get the job done. Wood’s offers the hand cups in ten types and sizes, providing standard tools and unique handles for each job’s requirements. 
Steve Hull, project manager with Manchester Services, of Westminster, Md., agreed on the importance of suction cups. “You can’t do anything without them.”
Hull added that his company primarily uses Wood’s brand suction cups as well. “We’re kind of an old company and we’ve stuck with the tools we were using before the new manufacturers came out.”
Dennis Yale, owner of Yale Paint & Glass Co., in Walla Walla, Wash., had one tool to recommend to his fellow glaziers. “I think a PLS five-point laser would be a major tool,” Yale said. “We find that to be very useful.”
In particular, Morgan finds the PLS5 leveling laser from Pacific Laser Systems useful in determining level and square reference points.
Lawrence Cartner, the owner and president of Cartner Glass Systems, in Charlotte, N.C., narrowed it down to the three tools that right now he can’t work without. 
“Suction cups you of course need, a battery drill you can’t do without, but most important is a little tool we call a do-all,” said Cartner. “It’s a pry-bar made by Red Devil that we can’t do without.”
According to Cartner, the tool comes in handy for lifting a mullion to put the shims in, or in pushing glass into the pocket of the frame. 
“I call it a do-all, or a five-in-one,” said Jack Whitman, the owner of Whitman’s Glass Shop, in Carollton, Ga., of the same Red Devil tool. “It’s an extension of your hand, that you use to pry or pull.”
When asked which tool he found most essential, Donald Holbert, the co-owner of Vanguard Window and Entry Systems, in Spokane, Wash., said, “One comes to mind.” After pausing for thought, he amended that statement. “A few actually. A vinyl roller and a pry bar. And a hammer.”
Agreeing with other glaziers, Holbert finds that he uses Red Devil’s pry bar, while the vinyl roller he works with is from CRL.
Herbert Suttles, president of Sunbelt Glass and Aluminum, in Marietta, Ga., deliberated before answering the question about what tools he can’t do without. “That would be a screw gun, I guess,” he said. Suttles prefers no particular brand so long as it gets the job done.
“That’s a tough one,” agreed Dean Roman, owner of Rosemoor Glass in Chicago, when he was questioned. “I’ve got to have my suction cups. Got to have my glass cutters, and glass pliers.” 
Roman admitted that he does favor a particular brand, but he doesn’t remember which one it is. “I’ve been using the same pair [of tools] for the last 15 years, I don’t even know who makes them.”
Dave Eatmon, an installer for Burke Glass Co., based in Hazel Park, Mich., works primarily with commercial storefronts. When he was asked which tool proved the most essential, he began to matter-of-factly recite the list. 
“Glass pliers. Tape measures. Glass cutters,” Eatmon began.
Eatmon’s list seemed to emphasize the one point that all of the glaziers polled agreed upon: there is no one essential tool that makes the glazier’s job run smoothly. To install a window, it takes a toolbox. 


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