Advice needed for large glass, frame and panel cabinet doors

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Forum topic by barringerfurniture posted 07-05-2014 02:53 AM 1334 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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223 posts in 1710 days

07-05-2014 02:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question frame and panel glass cabinet doors

Has anybody built glass frame and panel cabinet doors?

The client, who is quite knowledgeable and an architect, suggested a rabbet along the back, inside parameter of the frames, with a depth equal to the thickness of the glass. Then an applied molding on the back that bridges the seem between the frame and glass surfaces (molding can be removed in order to replace broken glass if needed). A bead of silicone would be applied to the corner of the rabbet, securing the glass and sealing it so it doesn’t rattle.

I’ve seen it done this way as well as others. Any advice or things to watch out for?

My other question is whether or not 3/4” solid material (probably Poplar) for the frames would be sufficiently rigid, as these doors are quite tall – about 72”. They’re about 24” wide.

Thanks as always for any feedback.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

8 replies so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

#1 posted 07-05-2014 12:18 PM


There are a number of ways to secure glass to door frames; one being the way your client suggested, another way is using a clear retainer that slips in a splined channel behind the glass.

You can also simply rabbit a little deeper and run a bead of silicone around the glass ( ok for smaller doors, but probably would not recommend for that large of a glass panel.

Most cabinet door manufacturers will not build a door over 24” x 48” because of warping or twisting problems. If they do make a door larger than that, they will not warrant it.

With that being said; I’ve built doors that large and made out OK, but I would make sure to let the client know of the concerns and decide before hand who will be responsible for a door that may warp or twist.

Since your client is knowledgable and an architect, I’m sure he is already aware of the possibilty of a problem with that size door.

How wide do you plan on making the stiles and rails?

I’ve noticed you have over 116 views so far with no responses, so I hope my response will open the door for others to offer suggestions.

Good luck.

-- John @

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1719 days

#2 posted 07-05-2014 01:09 PM

I like the idea that your client suggested, it sounds pretty solid. You didn’t mention how thick the glass will be or how wide the surrounding wood needs to be. I wouldn’t personally want to use poplar, especially if the glass is 3/16” or thicker as you’d be asking a lot of the joints in the corners. I think I’d probably be leaning toward something more robust, like oak or maple with double bridled corners. I used this method for my bath mirror made of Walnut supporting a 36” x 48” x 1/4” mirror. For the back I used a rabbet to locate the mirror and neoprene backed steel washers, screwed into the frame every 12” or so to clamp the mirror into place. This would be inadvisable with your project as both sides of the panel would be seen when the doors are opened.

View LIRocket's profile


5 posts in 2131 days

#3 posted 07-06-2014 02:30 PM

I agree with your client, that is how I made my doors for the violin cabint

-- Fred, Myakka City, FL

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1527 days

#4 posted 07-06-2014 02:58 PM

Typically, For a door that size I would prefer to use 1” material if I had the choice. I have no problem with Poplar, I would make the stile and rails at least 2 1/2” wide.
I would rabbet out the back deep enough for the glass and trim molding, then pin in the molding to hold the glass.
The applied molding to the back is good as well,
I would run double stick tape around the frame to set the glass onto, this will help give the frame some strength and keep the glass from rattling.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View jumbojack's profile


1676 posts in 2622 days

#5 posted 07-06-2014 03:07 PM

Six feet for a glass paneled door is a tall order. If it were MY door I might be inclined to put in a middle rail. While I like poplar for painted cab doors I am concerned that 3/4 over 6 feet it going to cause some racking as the door is opened and shut. (The middle rail would help some). 7/8” or even a full 4_4 would be MUCH better. As above I would suggest bridal joint at the corners a minimum.
Let us know how this turns out. I have been contemplating a similar project.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Sylvain's profile


706 posts in 2497 days

#6 posted 07-06-2014 03:54 PM

You are in fact speaking of (nearly) French windows.
In my house, for such doors:
rails and stile are about 1.2” thick and 4” wide,
except the bottom rail which is 1.2” tick and 1 foot high
The 1’ long tenon shoulder prevent sagging.
A cabinet door should not be banged by an air draught, so it might be a little lighter
But, ... glass is quite heavy.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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706 posts in 2497 days

#7 posted 07-06-2014 04:03 PM

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1710 days

#8 posted 07-06-2014 05:09 PM

Thanks for all the input guys. I’m definitely going to recommend 1” material and may be something harder than Poplar (limited by what’s available to me in 5/4 stock and budget).

A brief discussion with client turned up 3” rails and I think that would be adequate. Rabbet, bead of silicone and applied molding on back. Haunched mortise/tenons at corners.

Sylvain, thanks for the great links.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

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