How To Mount A Mosaic Tile Nipper For Easier Cutting

It is easy to mount a mosaic nipper to a scrap piece of plywood and extend the handle with a short piece of conduit or pipe. Extending the handle in this way provides mechanical advantage to the nipper so that much less downward force on the extended handle is required to cut a hard piece of stone or porcelain.

In this example, I mounted a Compound Nipper, which is the recommended hand tool for cutting hard mosaic materials, although a regular Tile Nipper could have been used. A mosaic glass cutter should be substituted for glass tile. A materials list for building this assembly is at the bottom of the page.

1.5-Inch U-bolts

Mounted Compound Nipper
Mounted Compound Nipper is secured to plywood board with 1.5-inch U-bolts. If your nipper has thinner handles, you may be able to use smaller U-bolts. If needed, everything from pencils to Popsicle sticks can be inserted parallel to the handle in the U-bolts if needed to help snug up the fit.

1-Inch Conduit or Pipe

conduit extends handle
Handle of Mounted Compound Nipper is extended with 1-inch conduit that is just slipped over the handle. I used an 18-inch piece of conduit. Conduit is better than pipe because it is lighter and cuts easier, but re-purpose whatever you have on hand. If the pipe or conduit you have is larger than 1 inch in diameter, you can wrap the handle of your nipper with electrical tape to bulk it up before pressing the conduit over it.


The U-bolts can be much shorter, but I used what I had in my workshop. The C-clamps secure the plywood to the shop table.

Scrap Plywood

scrap plywood
The piece of scrap plywood selected for the base should be roughly as long as the handle (18 inches) and strong enough to withstand the force of the cutting.

Use Caution Around Jaws

caution around jaws
CAUTION. The jaws of the nipper have sufficient strength to crush fingers or nearly anything else you are careless to get between them.Collection Pan

Collection Pan

collection pan
A box or tote is placed under the jaws of the mounted nipper as a “collection pan” to catch small shards, dust and usable pieces. It is best to raise the collection pan to just under the jaws, even higher than what we show in this photo.

List of Materials

You can mount your own mosaic tile nipper using these materials:

  • 1x mosaic nipper
  • 1x scrap plywood 1/2 inch or thicker, roughly 18 inches by roughly 6+ inches
  • 2x U-bolts 1.5 inches wide
  • 2x C-clamps (optional)
  • 1x conduit or pipe, roughly 18 inches long, inner diameter larger than handle
  • 1x roll of electrical tape (if you need to pad your handle to get pipe to be snug)
  • 1x cardboard box or plastic pan to collect usable materials and cutting waste

 Easier Cutting

It is easier to cut up 4 or 5 tiles and pick the piece that works best than it is to try to trim a piece down to size. The rejected pieces can be used elsewhere in the mosaic.






12 responses to “How To Mount A Mosaic Tile Nipper For Easier Cutting”

  1. David Hurst Avatar

    Great tip, that will make the job so much easier, Thanks

  2. Margaret OMeara Avatar
    Margaret OMeara

    Great idea for us arthritic mosaic artists! Thank you!

  3. Joaquin Avatar

    Excelente idea. ????

  4. Lynn torno Avatar

    My hands thank you for this idea!

  5. Liz Avatar

    I made this am so grateful for the great instructions! One thing I missed at the first trip to the store was a drill bit the same diameter of the ends of the u-bolt (d’oh!) Otherwise, putting this together was perfect. Thank you!!!!!

  6. don Roberto Avatar
    don Roberto

    You could also turn it around so the jaws are over the table, and if your hands are really bad attach a loop for your foot to pull down instead.

  7. Lilian Tissera Avatar
    Lilian Tissera

    Se podrá recibir información en español ??. Me seria sumamente útil !! Muchas gracias !!

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      Ola Lilian!

      Google tiene un botón para “traducir esta página”.


  8. Lynnae Lyons Avatar
    Lynnae Lyons

    Have you come up with any ideas for wheeled glass cutters for arthritic hands? I thought I had seen a diy hack a few years back but haven’t found it again. My hands are killing me, but I love mosaics too much to stop!

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      The system described in this article could also be used for the Wheeled Mosaic Glass Cutter that we sell. Thanks!

  9. Patrice E Linnett Avatar

    My brother-in-law made me one of these years ago. We always trim the slightly-round edges off of our tiles before we break them into smaller pieces. This definitely was a hand-saver!

  10. Cida Carvalho Avatar
    Cida Carvalho

    Muitooo obrigada por me permitir aprender mais com voces!!!! Gratidão!!

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