Fastening Glass into Cabinet Doors

      Thoughts on fabricating doors and panels with glass panes. March 14, 2006

I design and build all kinds of custom display cases, from ordinary shadow boxes to intricate display tables and units. Many of my pieces have doors or panels in which a sheet of glass is installed. In an effort to keep construction cost and time to a minimum, I have been securing the glass with either glazier's points or standard glass keepers found at the local home improvement store. I am aware of another method of securing glass panes using a rubber glass gasket or tubing, but have yet to find where it can be purchased. I think this method is far more attractive and professional looking. Where can this gasket material be purchased or what can be used as a substitute?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor H:
I think Rockler carries it, or try your local glass supplier.

From contributor J:
C.H.Briggs in Pennsylvania sell it in rolls.

From contributor A:
We use glass retainer molding (clear plastic "t-mold" type material). Item #706.61.415 from Hafele America.

From contributor D:
I just saw some very nice cabinets last weekend. The glass was secured using regular old silicone caulk. Well done, looked nice, held glass firm with no rattle and I suspect you just peel it out to remove and replace if needed.

From contributor W:
Contact Sommer & Maca and request their glass (as opposed to their stone) catalog. Essentially anything you could need for handling flat glass is readily available from them. My wife works in stained glass, and a significant part of her business is fabricating glass panels for installation in cabinet doors. Based on her experience (and on building dozens of sample door frames for her) and the feedback from the kitchen firms who are her customers, I'd offer a couple of pieces of feedback.

First, silicone is a very poor choice. While it will resist having the glass rattle (which triggers callbacks for her) it is very difficult to apply consistently, door after door. And it is not easy to remove quickly or cleanly.

Second, using offset mirror clips (stock #306-1826 or 306-1827) works exceptionally well. Those are mounted into small round recesses drilled adjoining the rabbet with the appropriate Forstner bit. She then mounts them with a small screw, and an adhesive-backed table top bumper (stock 200-1050) to eliminate the risk of rattle. These are mounted either six or eight to a door (one top, one bottom, 2 or 3 on each side). They offer the benefit of fast installation, being recessed rather than surface mounted, and (most important) easy to remove should the glass panel need to be replaced or altered. Be wary of using the gasket material on any panel or door that is intended to move. A friction fit into the rabbet is high risk, and inserting the panel into a frame prior to glue up means (of course) that replacing it should it be scratched, damaged or broken is nearly impossible.

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