Plexiglass vs Glass

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Forum topic by SnowyRiver posted 06-12-2009 09:30 PM 7955 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3473 days

06-12-2009 09:30 PM

What does everyone think about using plexiglass vs glass for display cabinets with doors that hang on the wall? I am going to build my father a display cabinet for his model cars. The cabinet will be about 24 X 36 with a single door that will have either plexiglass or glass for the window. I was wondering if anyone has thoughts on this. I tend to want to use plexiglass since I can cut it and its lighter in weight rather than going to a glass shop to have glass cut.



-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

12 replies so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3932 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 09:38 PM

In the past, I’ve had problems with plexiglass scratching easily and, maybe I’ve used the cheap stuff, but it tends to cloud up over time.

-- Working at Woodworking

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 3357 days

#2 posted 06-12-2009 09:44 PM

“Ditto” Plexiglass scratches during cleaning with Windex or whatever. Go the extra and use glass. I put glass in my display case I just built it was 1/8” thick, check it out here. The shelves were 1/4” thick glass also. I think all the glass was like $36.00

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View kerflesss's profile


182 posts in 3361 days

#3 posted 06-12-2009 09:49 PM

Ditto with Russel. Scratching is a real problem. Cutting glass is easy. Practice on some scrape.
1. Clean glass throughly
2. Lube you glass cutter with Kerosene or Mineral spirits
3. Using your straight edge as a guide press firmly and make your score
4. Move you glass with the score lined up just over the edge of table and snap
Try it and you’ll become an expert in three or four practice cuts.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 06-12-2009 10:11 PM

plexiglass also doesn’t have the same clearness and refraction as glass (the way light passes through it) which makes it look duller and not as clean. good for utilitarian purposes – not so much for display.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3519 days

#5 posted 06-12-2009 11:19 PM

Glass, nothing beats it but if you go the way of plastic then consider polycarbonate. It is very hard to scratch but does cost more. Remember the old plastic watch cystals and how they scratched so easy and now the new watches use polycarb and most people don’t even know they are plastic. ...just a thought

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View csmark's profile


3 posts in 3363 days

#6 posted 06-12-2009 11:40 PM

If you’re into clarity Acrylite looks promising. You can also get it in a UV absorbing form. 92 percent light transmission and guaranteed less than 3 percent reduction over 10 years. I don’t know the pricing. Check it out here:

I personally haven’t used it but thought it was an interesting option.

View skottc's profile


5 posts in 3265 days

#7 posted 06-13-2009 05:33 PM

I like plexiglass, but I work in the plastic industry. We build with it all day, everyday. It’s great stuff. However, like was said above, Windex and other cleaners can damage it. Water and a soft cloth is the recommended cleaning method. When dulling occurs it’s usually from cleaners and miss-handling. Polycarbonate is not so visually pleasing as plexiglass and though very strong, it scratches easier then Plexiglass. You can also purchase plexiglass with different scratch resistant coatings and UV inhibitors. I listed my company below. Any of you guys in Southern California that need some plastics help are welcome to come see me.


View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3327 days

#8 posted 06-13-2009 07:05 PM

One BIG disadvantage with plastic not mentioned above is it’s fantastic ability to attract dust. I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with static electricity.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3885 days

#9 posted 06-13-2009 07:20 PM

I have used 1/4” Lexan in some commercial office applications because it is suppose to be shatter resistant. It is very clear and easy to work with. I think it is made by GE.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3551 days

#10 posted 06-13-2009 07:43 PM

Got to agree with everyone here. Plexiglass will scratch and get cloudy over time. Glass is definitely the better choice.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3473 days

#11 posted 06-15-2009 09:28 PM

Thanks for all the great comments folks. Lots of good ideas. I decided to do the glass. I dont really want to try to cut it myself even though its straight cuts. Will be looking for a glass company soon.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 06-15-2009 11:22 PM

Sorry In my opinion for a nice project good beveled edge glass cannot be beaten.You will make a superb job or just a good job it’s up to you .Glass is first Class. regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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