Jobsite Essentials: Five Glazier Must-Haves

Glaziers are the backbone of the glass industry. They are responsible for a range of vital glass services, from new installations to repair and replacement.

And while it takes a certain level of skill and knowledge to get the job done, glaziers couldn’t do their jobs properly without the right tools. These tools include everything from pliers, levels, screwdrivers, tape measures, caulking guns, pry bars and more.

“A glazier without the proper tools is just an overpaid laborer,” says Kevin Hardman, owner of Hardman Glazing Management, which is based in Athol, Idaho. His company offers consultation, project management and installation services for commercial and residential projects. “If they have to stop to ask me or their co-workers for the tools that they need, they slow down the entire operation and crush the efficiency we strive to achieve daily. The second half of that equation is knowing how to use those tools properly. A person can outfit themselves with the best of the best tools of the trade but if he can’t use them properly it is a waste and a loss of productivity.”

So, what are the essentials in a glazier’s toolbox? USGlass magazine and USGNN™.com surveyed contract glaziers with that question in mind: What tools are the most important to you? Here’s a look at how the top five played out, starting with the most important.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is an essential tool for any jobsite. Many glaziers and other construction workers might even call it mandatory. For a glazier, a tape measure is vital to ensure that the glass is placed in the proper location.

“The tape measure is one of the most important items in our arsenal,” says Hardman. “It allows us to check openings before we start, order material appropriately, cut material to the right size and check for square and plumb.”

If the measurement is right the first time, then there’s no need to worry about correcting mistakes. It also helps that tape measures are transportable and easily replaceable. If there’s one thing to know about measuring, it’s to never eyeball and assume.

Suction Cup

Glass is difficult to move, and ever-increasing sizes don’t make it any easier. That’s why suction cups came in as the second most important tool for glaziers. Suction cups allow a glazier to gain traction on the glass so they can easily maneuver it into place. A suction cup is activated when the middle is pushed down, which displaces the majority of air that was under the concave surface. This creates a vacuum and seals the cup to the smooth surface.
The balance of the cup wanting to spring back up and the atmospheric pressure pushing back forms the delicate vacuum seal toward the center of the cup.

Laser Layout

A laser layout projects a line that allows glaziers to align their work accurately. This crucial tool is important for tasks that require accuracy in hanging or attaching an object. Without a laser layout, workers would be unable to perform their tasks efficiently and accurately. The tool can be attached to a variety of accessories, such as tripods, magnetic brackets, suction cups, laser enhancement glasses, target cards and grade rods, among others.

Portable Drill

A cordless drill is a smart investment. It helps improve project quality and lessens the time it takes to finish the task. There are several reasons why portable drills are essential for glaziers including convenience, safety and power. They also reduce the need for screwdrivers, which take up time and energy.

Tie – Caulking Gun

Caulking guns help glaziers easily seal joints or seams. When installing a glass lite, for example, glaziers need to be sure the opening is filled and that there are no leaks. That’s where a caulking gun comes in handy. A good caulking gun will provide a quality grip, which allows glaziers to easily handle the tool.

Tie – Level

The level is one of the most commonly used tools in glazing. It helps determine whether a surface is perfectly horizontal or vertical. Glaziers routinely have to check if a door panel or window is properly placed. For that to work, a level ensures the product is in the right position at all times. A variety of level types are available, such as spirit levels and water levels.

Joshua Huff is the assistant editor of USGlass magazine. Email him at and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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