Installing glass kitchen cabinets doesn’t mean you are going to build the entire cabinet from glass. It just means you will be putting a glass door on existing kitchen cabinets. Glass windows on kitchen cabinets give a kitchen a little elegance where a solid door would not.
It will be easier for guests to find that cup they need for a drink or help snoopers quickly locate a quick snack while no one is looking. Building and installing a paned cabinet door onto your cabinet is a rewarding process as you are doing something to beautify your kitchen. It is relatively simple too if you have the right tools.
Tools and Materials
Here is a list of tools and materials you will need:
Assorted driver bits
Sliding compound miter saw
Assorted router bits (including a round over bit and a rabbet bit)
Yellow wood glue
Small nails or brads
1 X 3 strips of poplar
Glass panels (already cut to dimensions of you need)
Let’s Build The frame
First you should remove the hinges and take off the old doors. Always begin from the bottom hinges. Do not discard these doors. Use them as templates for the new doors. Using the miter saw, cut the 1×3 poplar strips to length.
The miter saw has a slide rule so you can match the length exactly of the old doors’ length and width. Since these will be open with glass inserted, just the length and width will be all we are interested in. At the end of the four pieces of the wood, you need to create a lap join by removing half the width of the board by using a router.
When these ends overlap they create a very strong joint when glued together with wood glue. To ensure a square joint use a framing square to get a precise corner. Next, fasten the corners together with small brads until the glue dries. After drying take the router again and remove the sharp corners and edges of the front of the newly built frame.
The router is going to be a major tool in this project. Flip your frame over and use the router to create an edge groove called a rabbet along the inside of the frame. This is where the glass will be inserted. On the outside of the frame another rabbet is cut to let the cabinet door set recessed in the cabinet. A hammer and chisel is used next to remove any wayward pieces from the frame. Repeat this process for how ever many cabinet doors you are creating.
Inserting the Glass
Now you are ready to insert the glass. The size of the glass should be the measurement of the internal rabbet of your frame. This should be figured out before sending a measurement off to the glass cutter. Before putting the glass into your frame it is wise to paint your frame first. After drying drop your glass pane into your frame.
The glass is held into place with four smaller pieces of wood called keeper strips. These strips are placed and held into place using a brad pusher. After all of your keeper strips are in place, replace the old hinges you took off your old doors.
The use of new hinges isn’t wise as you know that the old hinges will fit perfectly into the old cabinets with no problem. Repeat this process for all of the doors you want to replace and you will have a new beautiful kitchen cabinet area worthy of being on a fix-it-up TV show.
photo by Juan Ignacio Rela