Dado depth for glass doors

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Old 02-22-17, 03:13 PM
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Dado depth for glass doors

I am building an entertainment center and am going to have glass doors on each end. The doors will be a total of 11 1/2 inches wide and 26 1/2 inches tall. I want to use only styles for the doors with the glass set in dados. The styles are 1 1/2 inches wide and my current dado is 1/4 inches deep. This makes the glass panel be 9 inches wide and 26 1/2 inches tall. I will glue the glass into the dado and then run clear adhesive caulk on both sides of the styles. My question is, Is 1/4 inch dado adequate? I can easily deepen them to 1/2 inch if that would be better and just get a wider piece of glass. Any suggestions would be welcome.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 03:34 PM
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The traditional way to do this would be to rabbet the inside of the opening and use wood stops to hold in the glass. This allows you to replace the glass in the event of breakage without having to disassemble the doors.

If you want to do it your way, I would used deeper grooves (dado refers to a cross grain cut, while groove is with the grain) and leave at least 1/8" all around to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood. Otherwise, when the wood shrinks with temp/humidity change, the glass will break or the joinery will break. Do not glue the glass in place. You can place small pieces of rubber screen spline (2 or 3 pieces per side) in the groove to cushion the glass and prevent it from rattling while still allowing for wood movement.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 02-22-17, 05:23 PM
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I should have mentioned that I am building this cabinet out of 3/4 inch MDF with black melamine veneer. Does the MDF change any of your recommendations? I do have enough material to remake the styles and use the rabit technique you mentioned.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 06:26 PM
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Here's a visual of what Paul suggested:

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It's called panel or glass retainer molding, this pic is from Rockler. The nails should be pushed in, not hammered. The strips are available in plastic or wood.

The glass should be tempered for safety and cannot be cut after tempering, so measure carefully
 
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Old 02-22-17, 07:11 PM
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With MDF, wood movement with temp/humidity won't be an issue. So you can go with the grooves and hope the glass never breaks, or use the rabbet and stop method. I still would leave a little space around the glass and use the spacers; any stress on the edge of tempered glass will cause it to enter rapid disassembly mode.

What sort of joinery will you use for the rail/stile joints? You need a lot of strength there so the doors don't sag.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 07:23 PM
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I strongly urge you to use the tempered glass as Paul suggested. I restructured an old TV cabinet to house all our audio/visual and flat screen. I used tempted glass swing out doors and thought I was wasting money. As I was re-arranging components one of the doors broke. The glass shattered but did not have sharp shards. I did not waste my money.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 07:37 PM
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I don't plan on having any rails, just stiles.
 
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Old 02-23-17, 06:49 AM
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Doh....completely missed that. Sorry. So you will have a hinged stile on one side and a trim stile on the other? Glass is heavy, it will try to pull itself out of the hinged stile, so I would for sure go deeper than 1/4 and apply the adhesive inside the groove before inserting the glass.

Even then, I'm not sure the glass will stay put. It might, I just don't know. I'd probably try to find a way to use glass hinges on the glass itself and just glue on false stiles for the look.

Clamp on glass pivot hinges don't require any holes in the glass and work quite well.
 
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Old 02-23-17, 07:00 AM
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Thanks for your help. I will deepen the grooves to 1/2 inch and use the adhesive caulk in the groove also. It is likely that the doors will almost never be opened for this cabinet. I plan to use smoked glass.
 
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