Glass shelves for kitchen cabinets?

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Forum topic by lynnoleum posted 06-03-2010 09:32 PM 22590 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 3327 days

06-03-2010 09:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi, guys! I have a customer who wants me to get glass shelves for some of the wall cabinets I built for his kitchen. He claims that glass shelves always go with glass doors (I made frame & flat panel for the cabs; he now wants the panel replace with glass). It’s news to me; I’ve never had this request before. I have a major concern: he thinks I can just get 1/4 – 3/8” glass and simply park it on the little spoon pins that are holding up the current shelves. This doesn’t sound feasible to me – one of the cabs is 32” wide and I know glass will not flex, period. Any thoughts?

10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117627 posts in 3970 days

#1 posted 06-03-2010 09:37 PM

I would suggest tempered glass and you can put them spoon pegs I’ve done it many times. I do like to put the plastic bumpers on the feet though, the kind you use to keep the cabinet doors from slamming.

View CampD's profile


1775 posts in 3879 days

#2 posted 06-03-2010 09:49 PM

As Jim states “Tempered Glass” most glass shops will do it, can get expensive once you add in softening the edges, I’d get an estimate from the shop to give to your client. I use rubber covered L pins for the supports instead of just the pins (rockler has them).

-- Doug...

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3672 days

#3 posted 06-03-2010 10:02 PM

Actually glass, regular glass will flex up to a point and then break, and as Jim suggested for this application Tempered Glass is the appropiate material to use.
You definitevily need to have the edges eased by the glass supplier, you don’t want your customer or anybody else to cut him/herself with them.
For the pins I would use this stile:

You can put a small rubber feet to reduce noise and vibration although I have forego this myself.

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 3323 days

#4 posted 06-04-2010 01:40 AM

I usualy use hardwood cleats with ruber bumpers on the corners to hold glass shelves.

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View cpollock's profile


34 posts in 3807 days

#5 posted 06-04-2010 02:53 AM

I put glass shelves in my kitchen cupboard and love them. The glass supplier told me they would be strong enough on their own (I got 1/4 tempered glass, and the shelves are 42” by 14”. Nevertheless…I come from the over-design school, so I used 3/4” x 14” wood blocks on each end, then added a 3/4” steel angle bracket across the span toward the front of the shelf. You can see the brackets, of course, but in a kitchen cabinet they are not distracting. I once discovered a grandkid had climbed up on the shelves to get a box of cereal, and so I’m glad I’ve got that extra insurance in the design.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4285 days

#6 posted 06-04-2010 03:27 AM

I would use shelf pins designed for glass shelves, such as this. Setting glass shelves on metal pins would allow the shelves to slide around too easy. Or, at a minimum like campD suggested using rubber covered pins. 32” is pretty long for a glass shelf. I would drill an extra set of shelf pins centered up the back of the cabinets, but in line with the side shelf pin holes. This will give more support to the shelf in the center.

1/4” tempered glass with polished edges is the way to go for the shelves, but you can use 1/8” – 3/16” non-tempered for the door. I just bought a 22×18 x 1/4 tempered glass for $35. In quantities of 5 or more, it’s $30. Your customer may change his mind when you give him the price for this change order.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Ron Ramsey's profile

Ron Ramsey

36 posts in 2909 days

#7 posted 11-12-2011 07:53 PM

I’m designing a set of pseudo-craftsmen style cabinets that I am planning to use glass shelves in. My plan is to put a notched 1/2×1 1/2 ledger vertically from the bottom to the top of the cabinet in each corner. The glass panels will rest in the notches and will be adjustable for height. Any tgougts on this approach?

-- Ron Ramsey, Rochester Hills,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4041 days

#8 posted 11-12-2011 08:51 PM

Glass doesn’t flex much so squareness of carcase assembly matters
a lot – which can be thrown off by using plywoods for example. MDF
and melamine are easier to manage in terms of squareness of
the box from cabinet to cabinet. Out of square carcases may be
square at the front and out at the back – no big deal visually but
out of square is usually some kind of twist, which can throw off
the “planarity” of shelf-in holes and standards. I recommend either
having more control over squareness of assembly than most
home shop guys have, of making one of the 4 rows of holes
or standards adjustable up or down a bit.

View Ron Ramsey's profile

Ron Ramsey

36 posts in 2909 days

#9 posted 11-12-2011 10:19 PM

I have begun using pocket hole joinery for cabinets. I have found it to be very strong and with the use of some home grown jigs, I have found I can control for square. I’ve been using epoxy finished plywood: 3/4” for the floor and 1/2” for the sides. I use three pieces of 3/4 poplar;2 pieces insert onto the back and one piece inst across the top in the front. Typically the initial case is pretty close to square. To help keep it that way, I lay it face down on a flat table and use a clamp on the diagonal to fine tune the squareness. At that point, I install a 1/4” tempered Masonite on the back with18 gauge air nailer. I’ve been very pleased with the results and find they cases go together quickly. Its key to make sure wall the parts are square to begin with, but I assume we do that anyways.

-- Ron Ramsey, Rochester Hills,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5206 posts in 4354 days

#10 posted 11-12-2011 10:25 PM

I wouldn’t/won’t do a glass shelf (or wood for that matter) any longer than 36”.
Yep. Tempered is the way to go. Get your glass guy to show ya the difference in edge treatments.

-- [email protected]

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