Creating Glass Kitchen Cabinet Doors

What You'll Need
Miter saw
Biscuit cutter (optional)
#10 or #20 biscuits (optional)
Glass cutter
Silicone adhesive
Straight or rabbeting bit
Sharp 1/2 chisel
Measuring tape
Sandpaper, 80 to 220 Grit
Mineral spirits

Creating glass kitchen cabinet doors, aside from adding elegance and beauty to your kitchen, allow you to see what is in each of the cabinets. This is especially useful if you entertain a lot, have a large family, or simply do not like spending a lot of time searching for kitchen objects.

Building versus Buying

The quick and easy way to add glass kitchen cabinet doors is to search for the style and wood you like, pay a lot of money to order them, and then pay more money to have them installed. The not-so-quick, but easy and much less expensive way is to build your own glass kitchen cabinet doors. Doing it yourself allows you to choose the exact wood, glass and design, which are not always available when trying to order kitchen components through manufacturers.

Step 1 - Measure

Whether using existing doors, or designing new ones, take careful measurements of the rails and stiles. These should be no more than 3” and not less than 2-1/2” wide. The doors can be built up using butt joints, biscuits or for greater accent, mitered corners. Cut the rails and stiles to size for the first door, and lay it out on the workbench. Dry fit the pieces to insure a precise fit, then glue and clamp the door together. Gluing up either butt or miter joints will suffice for most doors, but if the doors are unusually heavy it may be necessary to use dowels or biscuits for the joinery.

Step 2 - Routing

Once the glue for the door joinery has dried, turn the doors face down and clamp them on the work bench. Using the router and either the straight or rabbeting bit, begin routing around the inside of the door. The bit will cut out an indentation of approximately ¼ inch all around the inside perimeter of the stiles and rails. Use a sharp chisel to square up the corners, so the glass will fit smoothly and precisely into these routered out grooves.

Step 3 - Preparing and Installing the Glass

With a tape measure, take measurements of the inside square of the door, including the space within the groove. Carefully cut out the glass with a glass cutter. Apply a small amount of silicone adhesive all around the inside of the grooves. Fit the glass into the inside of the door and push down securely to make sure the class is flush up against the silicone adhesive. At this point, it may be necessary to cut out small strips of wood to apply over the glass, inside the grooves of the rails and stiles. This is to secure the glass even tighter.

Step 4 - Apply Varnish

Sand all the door parts to a smooth finish, working from 80 grit up to 220 grit sandpaper. Wipe with a dry cloth and apply desired stain. Apply a first coat of 50-50% varnish and mineral spirits. Let dry and apply a final coat of 100% varnish.