Adhering Glass to Wood

Advice on gluing glass into grooves in wood frames for the sides and back of a small cabinet. July 30, 2009

I need to adhere glass to wood in an odd way. I will be gluing the edge of 1/4" glass into a groove and it will be structural to the cabinet so I need a really good adhesion. Does anyone have a suggestions for this type of application?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor R:
I have had some success with silicone glue. I don't know if I would call it a structural glue though. Is the glass in a frame all the way around?

From the original questioner:
This will be a cabinet that has a wood top, bottom, and back. The sides will be glass and the front will be glass sliding doors. The glass sides will be glued into a 3/8" deep groove in the top, bottom, and back. The front will be the glass sliding doors. That is why the glue must be somewhat structural in its ability to hold the glass in the groove. The cabinet is not very big (30" x 14" x 12") so there is not a tremendous amount of weight involved and there are no shelves. The person buying this just wants unobstructed view from both the side and front of the cabinet.

From contributor M:
What about polyurethane glue, like Loctite Sumo glue or Gorilla glue. Try on a piece of scrap because it does foam quite a bit.

From contributor R:
Make sure to sand the part of the glass you are going to apply glue to, this should help the adhesion quite a bit.

From contributor V:
Clear silicone is what you should be using. Its the same thing that holds aquariums together and holds up glass partitions for showers.

From contributor E:
Yes, you should use silicone, which will allow the wood to move.

From contributor B:
I would use Gorilla glue or similar. It will hold glass to wood without a problem. There are also some UV cured glass glues that are incredibly strong but also require an investment in the UV curing gun. Poly glue will hold I know this from experience.

From contributor F:
This something we do occasionally and silicone is the best item for this. I have never had a single failure or instance of separation. The only hassle I have encountered is making the groove too tight and the excess silicone couldn't squeeze out for full seating of the glass in the groove. We make custom doors in pairs with no center stile to obscure the view using 8/4 hardwood for the out sides and top and bottom. A recent pair was nine feet tall with 3/8" thick glass and a clean 3/16 gap glass to glass only in the center. No sag or frame to glass movement at all.

From contributor J:
I recommend a structural epoxy. Any will do. Some observations about other glues:

Silicone - forget about finishing, nothing sticks to it and any residue will act the same to ruin any finish.

Gorilla glue the most dismal glue I have ever used. I have had more failures with this glue than with honors trigonometry.

UV glue - excellent for glass, used it a lot - terrible for wood.

Yes, sand your glass for better adhesion. Sandblasting is better if you can. Just mask with a vinyl tape where you don't want to blast.

From contributor D:
I am building a decorative wood sculpture for outside in Florida. I need to adhere either glass or hard non porous items like seashells to stained wood. Does anyone have any advice for that?

From contributor J:
Finish the wood with a film before you glue. Stain (especially oil based) is notoriously difficult to glue to. See the above post for glues. After gluing finish again (the entire piece) with a UV blocking film like Alkyd Varnish. Target Coatings makes an excellent water white one that is water based and very durable. I am sure there are others available as well.