View Full Version : Need Advice on Glass Doors

Mike Henderson
09-06-2009, 1:43 PM
I'm making a display cabinet and want to put doors on it. The doors will have a wooden frame with glass in the center of each.

The opening is 34 7/8" wide and 23 1/2" high. I'll do two doors in that space, making each door 17 7/8" wide by 23 1/2" high (actually, just a bit smaller to allow space around the door). One glass in each door.

Now the questions:

1. I plan to make the rails and stiles about 2" wide. What's your opinion about that width? Too wide or too narrow? That leaves 4" in the center where the doors meet.

2. I'll put a rabbet around the inside back of the rails and stiles to set the glass into. How thick is normal glass used for this purpose?

All advice and suggestions will be appreciated.


Johnny Pearce
09-06-2009, 2:16 PM
I recently built an entire set of new kitchen cabinets for our house [see some of the pictures on my album]. I am not an expert but my experience was I used 2-1/2" stock for all my rails and stiles. The glass I installed was less than 1/4" thick and I used a Freud #94-100 cabinet bit set and rabbeted the tongue off the back in the glass area. This let the glass rest against the bead edge. I used clear silicone caulk to hold glass but you could use a small strip of stop pin nailed. Hope this helps,

J.R. Rutter
09-06-2009, 2:27 PM
I think that this is a large enough opening to go a little heavier on the rail/stile width (especially bottom rail). For my door production, we also rabbet out the back portion of the profile, flush up the corners, and use silicone (clear or colored depending on preference). The silicone will help keep the door rigid and square. 1/8" glass is typical. This leaves room to do a trim strip in solid wood to cover the silicone, if you want it.

Richard M. Wolfe
09-06-2009, 2:55 PM
I like to make the rails/styles as narrow as possible and still get a good look, my thought being to see as much as possible of what is behind the glass. I think your doors are large enough to use 2", though. I use 1/8" glass (double strength). Any thicker and it's too heavy and 1/16" is too flimsy. I rabbet out the back and inset the glass with a dab of silicone every few inches to keep it from rattling but not enough to make replacing the glass a chore. For a good finished look a trim strip over the glass edge on back looks nice.

Mike Henderson
09-06-2009, 2:59 PM
Thanks for your comments, Johnny and J.R.

Question for you, J.R. - when you say go a little heavier on the rail/stile width, do you mean going wider than 2"? I'm facing a bit of a problem in that I'm doing this for a client and she wanted 1 3/4" rails and stiles. What do you think of going 2" except for the bottom rail, which I could make 2 1/4"? I can convince her to go a bit wider but there's probably a limit.

And how deep do you do the rabbet for the glass? I like the idea of putting the glass in with silicone and then putting a small strip of wood behind the glass to improve the looks. Do you glue that strip in (or use silicone) or nail it so that it can be removed if the glass breaks?

Sorry for all the questions but these are my first glass doors.


[Didn't mean to ignore you, Richard. You posted while I was typing.]

Jim McFarland
09-06-2009, 4:06 PM
You may be able to use narrower rails/stiles if you use lighter acrylic rather than glass. Upside to acrylic is easy to find at your local borg, lighter than glass, safer IMO and easy to work with standard wwing tools. Downsides of acrylic are it's more susceptible to scratches and attracts dust. No comment re cost differences as I didn't compare the two. I used acrylic in a handtool cabinet in my dusty garage -- after several months I don't notice dust collecting any more than on glass surfaces. I did clean the acrylic with Novus #1 plastic polish when I installed. I used 1/4" acrylic so standard R&S router bits worked for making the doors.