Cabinet doors

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Forum topic by Lee posted 02-20-2017 05:57 PM 1491 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1423 days

02-20-2017 05:57 PM

Cabinet doors

I’m making a set of doors (frame with glass) frame is 2.5” wide made from maple with 14” X 40” wide. I don’t want to use silicone.
I guess spline of some sort.
What spline is best and what are the measurements for cutting the glass inset and grove for 1/8” glass and spline?
How to do it?
I’ll be using a table saw for it.

8 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile


1815 posts in 1504 days

#1 posted 02-20-2017 06:07 PM

Silicone? For what?

I use space balls to float the glass in a 1/4”w x 3/8” d slot. The glass is 1/4” narrower than the max.

Usually you use the table router with a rail / stile set to form the frame.

Sounds like you want to cut a full length slot and spline the ends. I can almost guarantee glass breakage during glue up.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1664 days

#2 posted 02-20-2017 06:12 PM

I am not an old pro at making cabinet doors holding glass. That said, the last time I did make doors with glass ‘panels’, I used a slot cutter on the inside edges of the frame pieces. Then, with the router table, I opened up the inside edge of the frame pieces to allow the glass a drop-in fit to the assembled door. Then I cut correct size strips of wood to replace what I had removed with the router table and pin nailed the strips in place to hold the glass. Worked great. I think I put a small dab of silicone caulk in place on each edge of the glass to keep it from rattling when the door was shut.

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1836 days

#3 posted 02-21-2017 02:16 AM


A couple of ways for securing the glass in the cabinets doors are a single rabbet around the inside perimeter of the frame and some surface clips screwed to the frame and overlapping the glass. The second method would be a double rabbet around the inside perimeter of the frame, one rabbet about 3/8” deep X ½” wide to receive the glass. The second rabbet could be about ¼” deep and ½” wide (measured from the shoulder of the first rabbet) to accept a ¼” thick x 1” wide standard that is screwed into the second rabbet.

I prefer the double rabbet method since the glass is fully supported by the standards around the entire perimeter of the frame and the standards that hold the glass are flush with the inside face of the doors. Although faster, the clip method leaves the clips standing proud of the inside face of the door frame and are prone to breaking. The clips can be either purchased or made from the project wood. With either method pan head screws where the heads are painted to blend with finished wood look a better and are not very noticeable.

Space balls were suggested to keep the glass from rattling. Some small piece of self-adhesive felt can also be used. The self-adhesive felt, available in large sheets or as small dots, can be applied to both the glass retaining rabbet and the standards or clips.

Since the frame is 2-1/2” wide, I would think that 1/8” of free space on the sides and top and bottom would be sufficient to prevent the glass from breaking due to any expansion of the wood.

Since the table saw would be used to form the rabbets, a plug may have to cut and inserted into the rabbets at the ends of the stiles if the rails butt into the stiles. If the corners of the frame are mitered, I think the mitre would conceal the rabbets.

I would recommend tempered glass over annealed glass for the glass panels. I would image that at some point the glass panel will be hit with an object being removed from the cabinet. Tempered glass, although more expensive, is less likely to break and if it does break, it does so shattering into many small pieces. Annealed glass breaks in large sheets. I would also recommend soft/self-closing hinges to avoid inadvertent hard closing of the doors.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2357 days

#4 posted 02-21-2017 06:42 AM

When you say these doors will be 14” x 40” wide, do mean 14” tall and 40” wide? That would be a challenge for cabinet hinges to hold in place. If you mean 14” wide x 40” tall then you’re OK.

I build glass doors in a way that allows for glass replacement without cutting apart the door frame—-so instead of letting the glass into a groove, I set the glass into a rabbet and hold it in place with a wood stop (like Kirk above).

There is also a rubber glass stop (called “glass retainer”) available, like this:

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Mike_D_S's profile


605 posts in 3130 days

#5 posted 02-21-2017 01:15 PM

While I’ve never made a set of glass cabinet doors (I use plexiglass for my garage cabinets), I have repaired 3 broken glass doors for my sister in law who has two very active boys. So the comments about tempered glass and using some method allowing replacement without having to cut the doors apart are spot on for me.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View bonesbr549's profile


1588 posts in 3983 days

#6 posted 02-21-2017 03:24 PM

Ok I’ve done this on most of my pieces and I think a little time involved but in the end looks and works the best.

Since I make my doors with frame -n- panel bit set I’ve already got the groove. I then take a dado bit with bearing and cut back the inside for the opening. You will have to use a sharp chisels to square the corners.

Next fit your glass pane in the opening. You will next need your 1/2 round and I make my own. I take a 4” piece of 3/4 and round over all four edges. I then use the TS to rip those off to fit. I then miter them and custom fit and use a pinner to put them in. I do not fully glue them in case you break something you need to be able to remove and repair.

I started out was going to use the brown rubber thing but the first mock up I did it looks so cheap and I also know that over time that plastic will harden and someone will have to deal with it, I just did not want to use it in my piece after looking at finished product. Of course thats up to the individual. The plasitc would be easier.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6231 posts in 3729 days

#7 posted 02-21-2017 07:04 PM

For glass doors I make the frames with mortise and tenon joints with offset shoulders. That way once assembled, there is a built-in rabbet for the glass. Otherwise you can build the frame first, then use a bearing-guided rabbeting bit to route the recess. Chisel out the inside corners by hand.

Either way, install the glass in the rabbet and center it with a couple dabs of silicone. Then secure the glass with thin strips of wood attached with a 23 gauge pin nailer.

I know you said you don’t want to use silicone, and I agree laying a full bead to secure glass is messy.
However a couple dabs on each side of the glass will prevent rattles and center the panes.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8054 posts in 1628 days

#8 posted 02-21-2017 07:29 PM

I agree with Jerry #4 ….. easy to install …does not leave glass rattle …easy to take off …to replace glass ..and then can reuse again ….. this is all we used in our custom cabinet shop …..GOOD LUCK :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

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