Glass Shelves with Wood Frames

Tips on how to secure glass into wood frames for glass shelving. May 22, 2007

When making glass shelves with wood frames, do you typically just lay the glass into a rabbet, or do you secure it? If so, how? The shelves are adjustable, so I'm concerned with the glass falling out of the frame when the homeowner is moving them around.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
Clear silicone.

From contributor S:
Silicone is evil! Use 3M UHB glue tape or foam tape or make the rabbet deep enough to install a stop and let the glass be recessed. I actually do some retail fixture installs that do not have the glass anchored. A nice felt lining in the rabbet is high class! Anything but silicone!

Hey, sometimes you've got to bite the bullet, though… If the customer wants silicone, stick it! Look for some of that Crystal clear, though, and your rabbet should be finished to match the top. Or you could go with a black rabbet and black silly cone. Silicone can be a mess to work with for the uninitiated, all kinds of nasty things to be said about it. I would rather work with a polybutyl given the choice and if it was black (not that much easier really).

I think that foam tape is the way that most of the guys that make glass display cases go - no ooze, no cross contamination, no fingerprints. It isn't cheap, but it is cheaper than UHB. I just never have the right width foam and ripping it down can be a pain.
Tempered or plate glass, make sure it has a "micro bevel" and polished edges.