Glaziers Speak Out: Their Favorite Tools

Knowledge, experience and reputation are essential attributes for any glazing professional. However, glaziers will tell you that it's the tools they use on the job that help make the difference for the project and to the bottom line. Here glaziers share the tools they find to be the most important ones to their jobs.

Helmer Umana, a lead glazier for Alpha Glass & Mirror, a small contract glazing company serving the greater metro Washington, D.C., area, says the basic suction cup is the most important tool he uses.

"This versatile item makes carrying heavier pieces of glass and working in tight spaces a lot easier," says Umana. "It's an essential in my tool box."

"My glass cutter," says Tom Wool without hesitation. Wool, who works for Martino Glass, a large full service glass business in Pittsfield, Mass., cuts all the company's in-house glass, even for their guys on the road. "I literally cut thousands and thousands of lites of glass for Martino Glass," Wool says. "I cut glass for just about anything you can think of, storefronts, picture frames, automobiles and table tops to name a few. "I use it every day and losing my cutter would be like losing my right hand!"

For Bill Bobian, a journeyman glazier for Harmon Inc. in Denver, it's his DeWalt screw gun with a drill motor and hammer drill. Bobian, who has been in the business for 23 years, says he uses this three-in-one tool every day and it's what "brings home the bacon."

Dennis Bellville, project manager for Custom Curtainwall in Arnold, Miss., says his favorite tool is the Red Devil pry bar, which some consider to be one of the most valued jimmy tools in the glazing industry. "I typically carry two to three of these little, multi-purpose bars with me at all times."

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Andrew Saltz, a glazing contractor and owner of Metro Glass, a small glazing company in Forest Lake, Minn., says his cordless drills are most important to him. "Most jobsites do not have electrical access and without a generator, cordless tools are essential to getting the work done."

Bill Harding, owner of Vision Glass, a full service glass shop in Springfield, Ill., says it's simply a tape measurer he can't do without. "As a glazier, we are always measuring," Harding says. "We must have an accurate measuring before we can give an estimate or do anything else. I don't go anywhere without it."

For the newly-founded Hour Glass & Aluminum in Collegeville, Pa., co-owners C. William Genard and Thomas W. Ferrell say their most important "tool" is one of the company's employees.

"We truly consider Jessica Grimwood our most valuable tool and the reason for our quick level of success," explains Genard, co-owner of the contract glazing company serving the greater Mid-Atlantic area. "Jessica runs our office, handles the bookkeeping, computer operations and all the valuable administrative support services we need to help keep our new operation organized and moving forward. She definitely plays Watson to my Sherlock."

Others in the industry couldn't narrow the most important tool to just one; Steve Hernandez, field supervisor for Tri-City Glass, a full service glass shop based in Carson, Calif., has three that top his list.

"It would have to be my suction cup, tape measurer and level," he says "I think these three are a must have for any glazier."


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