How do I repair a broken crystal vase?
May 27, 2009 4:46 PM   Subscribe

How do I cut or file down a crystal vase?

Years ago a friend dropped and broke one of her most cherished crystal pieces that had belonged to her grandmother. She threw it away and was very upset. I took it out of her trash can, intending to somehow either repair it or make something out of it and surprise her.

Well, years have gone by, and my friend's son has just died. I found the old, broken vase in my closet and feel that it is now really time to follow through with my original plans. However...

...I have no idea what to do. When I search "cut crystal" on the internet I get a bunch of links on how to make crystal meth --- um, not really what I'm looking for.

The piece is a tall, thin vase that would probably be used for just a few flowers at a time. It has a base similar to a champagne flute, but without a shaft. Just the flute part sitting on the base part (really bad discription...sorry).

Really what I'm looking for are suggestions on how to cut off the base entirely. I know that crystal has lead in it (well, I think that is the case), so I'm a bit scared to use a hack saw to just cut the base off. I'm guessing it's not the best idea to breath in lead-laced dust.

I'd also like to drill a hole through the base and into the cavity of the vase. I'm thinking of turning it into a lamp somehow.

Anyway, any suggestions are welcome. I'm not well-versed in linking to photos, but I will try to do so so you can get an idea of what the piece looks like.

Specifics: 10 inches tall, base would have a 3 inch diameter if it were not broken, opening of flute has a 4 inch diameter; the part I would like to drill through looks to be about 1.75 inches, although that would reduce to about 1 inch if I cut the base off first.

Also, if this is important, I'm fairly certain this is a Waterford vase, probably from the 1930's or 1940's, but I really don't know that for sure. The colored part of the crystal is green.

posted by junipero to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
I work with glass (as a hobby) and I'd suggest, due to the sentimental nature of this piece, that you contact a professional who works with glass to do this for you. It's very easy to get it wrong somehow and ruin the piece - which I've done with a bunch of wine bottles - but you may be able to get a pro to do this for you with much better results.
posted by odinsdream at 4:57 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, definitely go to a professional. Please don't mess with this yourself. Here's one option (found via google.)
posted by gudrun at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2009

There are options out there for the googling (like this: but crystal behaves differently than glass. Because it may have small bubbles in it, or it may be "cased" (the green) these methods might not work. It's realy probably best to have a pro grind it down.
posted by peagood at 7:45 PM on May 27, 2009

Find a tile saw or lapidary trim saw to cut off the base,chips and other flaws can be sanded with wet or dry sandpaper glued to a chop stick and used like a file, the Lead is chemically combined with the glass and is not usually a hazard, use water while working.
posted by hortense at 5:44 PM on May 28, 2009

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