Tooling Up: Understanding Different Tools for Different Seasons

Whether obtained through word of mouth, first-hand experience or a supplier recommendation, glaziers are often passionate about the tools they use on an everyday basis. But every day is different and there may be weather-dependent reasons that they sometimes add certain tools to their belt.

Weather Considerations

During the winter, compounds and sealants could harden if left in a truck. Barbara Haaksma, senior vice president of marketing for C.R. Laurence (CRL) of Los Angeles, says that glaziers can use a heating chest that plugs into their cigarette lighter or other power source to keep those products at room temperature.

“The primary benefit with these types of tools is efficiency. Instead of bringing every tool available, glaziers can bring their go-to basics and heat them properly before using,” says Kim Wallace, product group sales specialist at CRL.

There are also special gloves that glazing contractors can wear in cold weather conditions. Gareth Francey, president of Bohle America, based in Charlotte, N.C., notes that thermal gloves made by Towa, a Japanese brand, are designed for cut level three, so they can’t be used for fabrication but they do have anti-slip properties appropriate for glass handling.

Jacob Woodard, director of business strategy and risk management for Manus Products of Waconia, Minn., says that, in colder temperatures, glaziers may want to use a higher-ratio caulk gun.

“If the standard is 12-1 they might jump to a 26-1. That allows them to extrude material a little easier in cold climates,” he says, adding that his company also can tweak its formulas to cure slower in hot and humid areas because they tend to cure faster in high humidity.

On the fabrication side, Francey says Bohle supplies cutting fluids with a slower evaporation speed for hot weather conditions so it doesn’t evaporate before the glass is scored.

Project Specific

In many cases glaziers have specific tools for certain projects. Wallace explains that glaziers may need monolithic and laminated glass railing setting tools, adjustment tools, extraction tools, laser tools and vacuum cups for railing installations.

Shower enclosure installations require a different set of tools such as shower door panel clamps, alignment tools, frameless hinges, plumb level finger gauges and suction holders.

“Home renovations are booming, and many homeowners are targeting showers for their latest home design update. We see tools like these used all the time on Instagram from the glazing community,” says Wallace.

Choosing Tools

“The tradespeople I know who have applied product over their career have developed a certain rhythm,” says Woodard. “The rhythm that works for them doesn’t always work for a colleague.”

He explains that some use guns with an electric motor whereas others use a lower ratio gun because they can get a longer bead per trigger pull.

“The higher ratio gun is easier but you have to pull the trigger more frequently to extrude the same amount of material. Products aren’t one size fits all,” says Woodard.

Francey adds that it’s important for glaziers to ensure that the products they’re buying are professional and intended for use with glass.

“I’ve heard of a glazier recommending to take graffiti off of glass using a Magic Eraser dipped in Lysol. However, that could destroy some of the glass’ characteristics such as its coating,” he says, recommending that glaziers reach out to the glass supplier when they’re unsure.

Jordan Scott is an assistant editor for USGlass magazine. She can be
reached at

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