Tempered Glass?

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 09-21-2010 04:46 PM 1300 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4356 posts in 3759 days

09-21-2010 04:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Okay…I realized that I have never had to buy tempered glass before. I’m now making a cherry display cabinet chest-on-chest, in which the shelves of the upper unit will be glass. I’m assuming that I can buy 1/4” thick safety glass cut to order, I need three shelves approximately 9 inches by 32 inches. I want to use those brass shelf supports, the kind that press into predrilled 1/4” holes.
Here are my questions: 1.) Is it unreasonable to support tempered glass of the above dimensions, only at the ends, as you would a shelf made of wood? I expect the shelves to support at most maybe 10 lbs each. 2.) Is it difficult and/or expensive for a glass shop to cut tempered glass? 3.) Is there an alternative to glass? The shelves will be lit from above with hidden LED canister lights and I’d like all 3 shelves illuminated. 4.)Should I go for fluorescents hidden in the mullions instead, and use solid material for the shelves? This is for a boudoir curio/storage cabinet, I also need to avoid a ‘commercial fixture’ look.
If you’ve done a similar project and have the answers to these problems, please tell me what you’ve done!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

6 replies so far

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2890 days

#1 posted 09-21-2010 06:06 PM

I haven’t used glass for shelves, but I’ve been working with tempered glass on building a greenhouse. I can tell you that tempered glass can not be cut. If you try, you end up with glass confetti. I assume that a glass company would have to custom order the glass for you, so talk to them and find out about their lead time or you might have a finished project and be waiting for glass to arrive.

I believe that you will get some sag in the shelf at 32” wide if you support only at the ends. Is there any chance you can add another support pin in the center back of the shelf, too? If you can, you should be fine for supporting light loads.

Good luck.

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3759 days

#2 posted 09-21-2010 06:13 PM

Thanks, Lumber2sawdust!
I’m probably going to have to resolve myself to making shelves by boxing plate glass in a wooden frame, but I’m afraid it will look cheezy. I’ve scoured the local Habitat4Humanity, they have tempered glass but not quite the sizes I’m looking for, and nothing close enough that I could build around. I wonder if those LED string lights could be concealed within or behind the casework…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2884 days

#3 posted 09-21-2010 06:45 PM

There’s a difference between tempered glass and safety glass…

I’d suggest talking to an expert at a good glass shop. They should be able to answer your questions and help you properly design your project.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2875 days

#4 posted 09-21-2010 08:03 PM

Tempered glass’s purpose is to break benignly, not to carry heavy loads.

Your span concerns me at 32”. Your local glass shop can cut you 1/4 plate which you could stiffen by dadoing an appropriate piece of wood and slipping it on the front and back. Much less work than an entire frame, and you wouldn’t have to pay the shop to dress the front edge of the glass.

These new rope lights are pretty easy to work with but you’re tied to their fixed lengths. I could see them inside the front corners, vertically. The front corners of the shelf would have to be nipped to accommodate them.

Puck lights are a possibility in the top and perhaps in the floor as well.

Some puck lights have touch switches which have a pigtail wire which you can attach to a screw say, on the top front edge. Touch the screw and the lights come on. Touch again and they go off. Pretty groovy.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3008 days

#5 posted 09-21-2010 09:04 PM

Instead of tempered glass have you considered Plate glass? It is thicker and would be able to support 10- 15 pounds of weight.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 3628 days

#6 posted 09-21-2010 10:13 PM

Greg, what is plate glass, how is it different from other glasses discussed here?

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