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Glass Shelves for a China Cabinet

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Forum topic by Domer posted 01-09-2011 11:47 PM 9592 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Domer

252 posts in 2830 days


01-09-2011 11:47 PM

I have built a china cabinet where I want to use glass shelves. The shelves will be approx 35 1/2×13 3/4 and just supported by brackets at the end of the shelves.

So the span will be almost 3 feet. Each shelve will probably carry at least 50# but I want to make sure it is plenty strong.

Do any of you have an idea of what king and how think the glass should be.

Domer


13 replies so far

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ajosephg

1878 posts in 3025 days


#1 posted 01-10-2011 12:06 AM

According to this website you should use 3/8 inch annealed glass.

-- Joe

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FirehouseWoodworking

688 posts in 2737 days


#2 posted 01-10-2011 01:04 AM

Domer,

If I were you, unless you are absolutely bent on glass shelves, I’d consider making a hardwood frame for each shelf. The frame sort of like a window sash. The wood would of course match the china cabinet.

This would provide additional support to each shelf, making for less stout and hence expensive glass. Otherwise, I’m sure you’re going to pay a pretty penny for the required shelves.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


#3 posted 01-10-2011 01:04 AM

Annealed glass is less expensive than tempered glass. If cost is not as big of a concern, it would be safer to go with tempered glass. Tempered glass is also stronger than annealed glass. You might also want to consider laminated glass. It’s basically a couple of annealed pieces of glass that sandwich a middle layer of PVB (a resin) that holds them together.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


#4 posted 01-10-2011 01:07 AM

I also like Dave’s idea of building a wood frame, with a glass insert.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Loren

8304 posts in 3112 days


#5 posted 01-10-2011 01:22 AM

It can be hard to get 4 shelf supports to line up perfectly – so try to
make at least one corner support infinitely adjustable. There are a lot
of ways to do this. Don’t count on 4 holes lining up in a perfect plane
(wood will adapt and flex, glass flexes less) in your finished cabinet.

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Domer

252 posts in 2830 days


#6 posted 01-10-2011 04:00 AM

My design consultant, my wife, really wants solid glass shelves. My vote was for the wood frames but I was out voted.

I agree that the tempered glass sounds better than the annealed glass.

Maybe the cost of the tempered glass may change her mind about the wood frame.

I am a little concerned about the shelf supports lining up exactly. What are the methods to make the one corner support adjustible. I just assumed I would have to put a piece of paper under one corner if they do not line up exactly or something like that.

Domer

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ajosephg

1878 posts in 3025 days


#7 posted 01-10-2011 04:12 AM

Domer -

while tempered glass is stronger than annealed, and won’t form long sharp shards if broken, there is a big problem.

Cutting and edging must be done before it’s tempered, therefore you can’‘t just walk into your local glass purveyor and have them cut you a piece. If it’s possible to find a source that will cut and temper custom made pieces, it will be cost prohibitive for most hobby woodworkers in my opinion.

If you feel you must use tempered you’ll have to find a stock size and build your cabinet around it.

-- Joe

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TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3140 days


#8 posted 01-10-2011 09:38 AM

Check the standard sizes available and work around those dimensions. It could save you a bundle.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Domer

252 posts in 2830 days


#9 posted 01-10-2011 05:08 PM

Unfortunately, the cabinet is built, just waiting on the shelves. Which I need to order.

Thanks for all the information.

Cliff

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ajosephg

1878 posts in 3025 days


#10 posted 01-11-2011 12:21 AM

Well, that makes it easy. Your best option is to go to a local glass shop and have them cut you a piece of 3/8 or 1/2 inch annealed glass (what ever makes you happiest). Make sure they sand all of the edges and corners.

-- Joe

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Domer

252 posts in 2830 days


#11 posted 01-11-2011 02:19 AM

Thanks all. I appreciate all of the information. This is just how lumberjocks is supposed to work.

I talked to a local glass company today after reading most of the responses. Several came in while I was at work today.

The glass company convinced me that I do not want the tempered glass due to the same reasons several of you gave. It is stronger but shatters easier.

They also convinced me that I do not want laminated glass. It is unattractive and the main benefit is that when it shatters, it hold together but in a shelf that is not much of a benefit as the shelf would come off the supports and break everything on the shelf and any shelves below it.

The cost of 1/2 inch vs 3/8 inch is almost double but looking at the photo by bentlyy has convinced me to go with the 1/2 inch. The extra cost will be about $100 but I have a huge amount of time and money invested in this project and more importantly, much of the china that will be in the china cabinet belonged to my wife’s grandmother. Both of us would be devastated if it was lost due to cheeping out on the glass shelves.

I do wish I could convince my wife to go with the wood frames but cannot.

Again thanks all.

I will post a photo when it is done.

Domer

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


#12 posted 01-11-2011 02:31 AM

Sounds like a you’ve made a good choice, and I can’t say that I blame you in wanting to go with the thicker glass. Even if it is a bit of overkill, it’s a nice “insurance policy” for all of the irreplaceable family china resting on it. Better to be overly strong, than not strong enough!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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kalapolo

63 posts in 2153 days


#13 posted 01-15-2011 04:27 AM

I second that the extra investment in the cost of the glass is worth it when you’re talking about irreplaceable family heirlooms. Would love to see photos of the finished product!

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