Etched & Carved Glass

ETCHED vs. CARVED In considering the choice of etched or carved glass one must weigh the enhanced quality and price of carved glass over the also attractive etched glass.

ETCHED Abrasive glass etching is the process of abrading or eroding a glass surface in selected areas through the impact of abrasive particles propelled at high speed.  The design is controlled by exposing some areas of the glass to the blast of the abrasive stream while protecting other areas with a resist material.  Areas protected by the resist remain clear and unaffected by the abrasive, while exposed areas become etched.  Etched glass appears translucent, white and frosted; un-etched glass appears smooth, clear and dark by comparison.  Etching can be done on both annealed and tempered glass because of the surface of the glass is not eroded enough to endanger the tempered glass.

CARVED Abrasive glass carving is the deep cutting or blasting of annealed glass to produce a three-dimensional design.  With carving, distinctions between elements of the design can be represented in a more three dimensional and realistic way.  A carved design requires significantly more design and sandblasting time, which adds to the cost.

TEMPERED GLASSThe most common form of safety glass is tempered glass.  This glass has been deliberately stressed by crash cooling during or after fabrication, causing it to be tougher than regular annealed glass.  In addition, when struck hard enough to break, it explodes into thousands of small chunks, with the effect of minimizing injury from flying pieces.  Tempered glass can be surfaced etched and shaded, but not carved.  Tempered glass is required in all shower and bath applications.

ANNEALED GLASSInitially, all glass is annealed during manufacturing.  This means it is cooled in a slow, controlled process that minimizes stress in the glass.  Annealing makes it possible to work with the glass and carve the surface with a low probability of it shattering from internal stress.

CARVED TEMPERED GLASSThe only way to achieve a carved design on tempered glass is to first carve the annealed glass and then to have it tempered.  The benefit of carved tempered glass is the additional three dimensional contouring of the design.  The drawbacks of carved tempered glass are the additional costs incurred tempering the glass after carving and risk of damage to the glass when tempering.

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