How to attach glass to a cabinet door

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  • #140549

    I recently made a small scotch cabinet. It was a bit of an experiment, and I’d like to improve the design, specifically with how to fix the glass to the door.

    The door is just four stiles mortise and tenon together. On the first door I cut four stopped rebates on the inside, and just silicones the glass into it. That seemed “unfinished” to me.

    Do any of you have experience with this and a method you like. I’ve considered making some little stops to cover the exposed edges of the glass too, and finish nailing them on.

    I’d like to hear what’s worked for you. Thanks for any advice.


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  • #140550


    Here’s what I originally came up with



    I just made some cabinet doors with glass in them. It was just like you would make a regular door with grooves in all four pieces which are then connected with mortises and tenons. I put a pane of 6mm glass in there instead of plywood. Worked perfectly.



    Thank you, I will try that.




    I’ve never made one of these, but I wonder if you could hold the glass in with glazier’s points (rather than using adhesive). Then, build and apply a decorative moulding as something like a picture frame that rests in the rabbet (inside of door) or is lightly tacked. If you ever need to replace the glass, you’ll be able to do so by pulling free the moulding and points.



    On larger doors the glass is sometimes retained by quarter round moulding.



    Perhaps in the years to come Paul will do a demonstration of glazed panels – a retro-fit of doors to the wall-hung tool cabinet, of glazed barred doors might might be pushing the envelope of woodworkingmasterclasses purpose, but would make it nicely adaptable to china cabinet, book-case etc. It’s a little at the edge of what Paul normally does, but I was struck how in one of Paul’s blogs he talked about preserving and passing-on the techniques of his craft, and glazed panels seem to be a big gap in content on here. There are plenty of articles on this subject (barred doors are included in The Woodworker, the Charles Hayward Years Vol II) but they lack Paul’s accessible style which makes such projects far less daunting.



    paul has a lamp video out that has some glazing in it you might give that a try.



    There are a number of ways to do this, and they’re all fine.

    One way mentioned above was simply to substitute the glass for the typical panel — cut your grooves on the inside edge of your rails and stiles, and insert glass as you’re gluing up your door frame. You can glue the glass in since it doesn’t move like wood, but instead of glue, consider using RTV silicone from your Home Depot-equivalent. It will hold to both the glass and the wood, but holds much more lightly than glue or epoxy, so if the glass panel were to break, you could easily remove all the pieces and simply pop in another glass panel. Removing the old silicone is simply a matter of rubbing it off…about as difficult as removing a band-aid, and no residue left behind.

    Probably the most traditional way of doing it is to lay the glass into a rebate on the insides of your rails and stiles. You can cut the rebates sufficiently deep so that the glass lays flush and hold it in place with silicone or picture frame turn-buttons, but it’s much classier to put some strips of molding around the perimeter of the glass, which helps to secure the glass mechanically and hide the cut edge of the glass from view, so the inside of the door has a clean, finished look.

    I prefer to rout the rebate deep enough so that the glass and the strips of wood around the perimeter come flush. A nice touch is to miter the corners, like a picture frame, before you glue it up as a frame and drop it atop the glass. Drill very small holes in the glass to make room so screws can pass through the molding strips, the glass, and into the frame behind, but also use silicone to keep the glass from rattling; Space Balls also work if you accidentally cut the glass too small and need to occupy some gap and prevent rattle. Small brass screws look nice, but silicone does have the holding power to do the job by itself — just lay a consistent bead around the entire perimeter, and be careful not to use too much, as it can be a nuisance to clean silicone squeeze-out off glass.

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