Glass Drawer Fronts

How do you attach glass drawer fronts to a drawer box? February 12, 2009

I have a customer who wants glass front drawers for a retail display case. The drawer would have wood on the back and sides. The front would be glass, 30" wide and 12" high. What would be the best way to attach the glass to the sides? Does anyone have any other ideas or hints for making a glass fronted drawer?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor K:
The only idea I can come up with is to have the glass shop drill the glass for RTA fittings. Make a template of the drawer front and drill it out where you want the RTA connecting screws to go through. Give that to the glass shop for drilling.

From the original questioner:
Actually, the drawers need have glass sides as well. As I look at the specs which call for led lights on the side of the cabinets to illuminate inside the drawer.

From contributor K:
It's time to talk with the glass shop to find out what they offer in help with building this up. I don't know enough about glass to say how to bond the parts together and keep them together. Maybe something like superglue will bond the sides butted to the back of the fronts? Sure would be a tough dovetail job! Can you build a shallow box to mount the glass sides on? Maybe set down into dados for strength and have a 1/2" under the bottom to mount undermount guides. Keep in mind the weight of the glass in deciding the guide to use.

From contributor A:
Build the drawers out of acrylic instead of glass. You should not build them out of glass yourself. This is a job for a glass shop. They usually use silicone caulk to hold the panels together.

From contributor L:
There is a UV curable adhesive for glass to glass, cures clear, your glass shop will know how to do this.

From the original questioner:
I had forgotten about the UV cure. What I'm thinking is to build a slide-out tray of wood, route a deep groove and glue the glass in the groove. Then the glass, at the corners, needs to be glued together, and the UV cure sounds like the trick. This is a jewelry display case for a store, hence the glass drawers.

Optionally, for the corners some manufacturers make corners of metal that would also work with 1/4" glass but I haven't seen anything that is delicate enough looking, but that strikes me as another option. It might be possible to find the u-channel to attach the glass to the tray bottom, and this would be easier than routing.

From contributor F:
I've seen glass tables which were all glass, and the only attachment method being adhesive. It seems that if it's possible for a table it should be possible to construct a full drawer out of glass. Assuming undermount slides the only downsides I can think of would be seeing the slide under the drawer, and that it would likely be incredibly expensive to manufacture. But like the others have said, this is something best discussed with your glass supplier.

From contributor S:
If they want drawers made completely of glass, then consider making the bottom of the drawer out of colored glass. This will hide the drawer slides for the most part. The rest can be done of clear to allow for the lighting. If they are displaying jewelry they will need to have a dark background to show it off properly. The colored glass will do just that - especially a dark blue or black.