Building a vetrine, aka. glass display case, for a clarinet

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Forum topic by sixstring posted 06-25-2012 08:23 PM 3481 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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296 posts in 2241 days

06-25-2012 08:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: glass display case vetrine

So I’ve recently been commissioned to build a vetrine, or glass display case for a 100+ year old clarinet. Basically, it’s a vertical column that is glass on 4 sides so I’ll be building the base and top. Using 1/4” glass fused at the corners, I’m concerned about my base being strong enough to support the weight and avoid tipping over.

Overall dimensions are roughly 12”x12”x36”h. The base is roughly 12×12x4h. My design idea is to use at least 2” thick solid wood for the base and cutting a 1” slot into the base for the glass to slide down and rest into. I’ll be using doug fir for this part, and then trimming it out with 3/4” walnut. So, 1” of the glass rests in the slot and another 1” or so will be covered by the trim for a total of 2” of support. The glass itself will be pretty hefty so I’m hoping this is enough to prevent it from tipping over. The top will have walnut trim all around it and will have a removable door/lid that lifts off to access the clarinet inside.

I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter as I’ve never done a piece like this, or worked with glass other than for a cabinet door. I’m building the top and base and the client (my mother in law’s boyfriend,) will have someone else custom make the glass and insert it into my base/top. My job is to make the top/base pretty and sturdy.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

5 replies so far

View nomercadies's profile


589 posts in 2337 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 09:10 PM

Like these only instead of being a cylinder like in the pictures, the shape of yours is a tall rectangular one? I think the base might be laminated smaller thicknesses to avoid any shape shifting from the thicker material. How do you keep the clairnet from tipping over and hitting the glass? Will the be a center post it sits over?

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Loren's profile


10390 posts in 3646 days

#2 posted 06-25-2012 09:32 PM

Put a square stone paver inside the base if you want more

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2367 days

#3 posted 06-25-2012 09:38 PM

I’m not clear what the dimensions of the glass are; is it also 12”x12”, or is that just the base? If the glass is, say, 6”x6” or even 8”x8” I don’t think you’ll have a problem. I would like the base to be an inch or two larger than the glass.

Is square fused glass a client requirement? Have you sourced the glass yet? Seems like you might have more luck with cylindrical glass’ probably more available and cheaper. I would also think it would cause less distortion and provide a cleaner view of the clarinet. I’m just thinking you might want to nail down the glass and make the base to fit, rather than trying to get the glass to exactly fit what you’ve made.

Sound like a fun project. Good luck!

-- John

View jdmaher's profile


427 posts in 2577 days

#4 posted 06-25-2012 09:44 PM

I agree with Loren, add weight to the base. But, I’d look for a lead plate. If they use leaded glass, you’ll want more weight than 2 inches of doug fir.

What will the base look like? With a base plate under a platform for the clarinet to rest on, it would be easy to conceal the lead (or other weight), epoxied inside the platform. Especially if you’re going to trim it all out with walnut.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2241 days

#5 posted 06-25-2012 09:55 PM

Sorry I cant put a drawing up just now but think of it as a piece of furniture, like a podium. It’s roughly 36” tall, 12”x12” top/base. The instrument will sit on it’s own stand which is already done, and it just sits inside of the box.

I like the idea of adding weight so that’s something to consider. The base itself will be just over 12”x12” and about 4” high or so. Just a solid box really. Here’s a pic of the closest thing I could find on the web. It’s like the black curio cabinet but all glass walls and no legs to speak of, just the base.

My challenge is that I’m building it in California to be shipped to NYC where the glass will be fitted. Think I’ll check with some glass companies out here to see what they have to say.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

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