Setting Glass into Cabinet Doors

Silicone, splines, wood stops, or glazier's points and putty? Each has its pros and cons. August 8, 2008

What would be the best and easiest way to secure glass in a frame to make glass doors for a display case?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
Clear silicone = no nails, no stop strips. Holds glass like a rock.

From contributor D:
One of my mentors taught me that it is best to find three good solutions to a problem. This not only makes you think, but also allows a conscious choice of where you locate yourself along the continuum of quality/craft.

Silicone is one way, is surprisingly common, and represents one end of the spectrum. A step up would be to use the plastic spline made for this purpose. A third way, perhaps the best, is to make wood stops that miter together and tack or glue into place. An older method would be glazier's points and putty. Different uses of the glazed door will also impact your decision.

From contributor R:
I supply the wood strips with doors for glass. Often the glass company will toss those and only use silicone and that works, but does not look as nice as the strips. I recommend to the customer to tell the glass company to use the strips with silicone. They can silicone the glass and embed the wood strips into the silicone without tacks. It is simple and looks good.

From contributor K:
I use wood stops with clear silicone under it in the space between the glass and frame to keep the glass from vibrating and give strength to the door.

From contributor M:
I would say that silicone is the best method functionally and for convenience, but using retainer strips either after or without silicone is the most aesthetically good looking, especially from a traditional viewpoint. You kind of have to size up your customer's sensitivities to know if they would focus on something as non-prominent as whether their glass has traditional retainer strips holding it in. My customers never seem to care. But I sell my work on aesthetic and functional design, and not on adherence to minute traditional details.

From contributor I:
Use the hard rubber splines that are designed for the purpose. Looks better than silicone, and if the customer should decide they want something different, like leaded glass, they don't have to break the glass to get it out and clean up the caulk residue.

From the original questioner:
Where could I find some of those rubber splines?

From contributor P:
I get my plastic spline from the place that makes my doors. Keep in mind that if you make your own doors, you need to machine a groove in the rails and stiles to accept the spline.