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Background:

I am upcycling a glass display cabinet and have found one of the doors has glass that was broken/cracked so I decided to investigate removing all of the glass from this door and think about how I can replace it.

Here are some photos of the door that has no issues, to give you an idea:

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  1. Full front of cabinet door
  2. Closer up view of the more detailed area of the front
  3. Reverse side of this detailed area including how it is affixed to the glass
  4. Detailed view of the glass/wood interface

When I chiselled away the dark material that helped affix the glass to the wood it revealed that each of the sections of glass were in fact separate and not one curved sheet as I had initially thought (see image below for profile shape.

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I also found, with the fixing agent removed, I could see that the glass was being separated be thin splines of wood (I have saved these) that fit into grooves in the facia struts (as can be seen below).

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  1. Same view as image 4 above, this time with the brown fixing agent & spline removed (and painted of course)
  2. image of the thin wooden splines
  3. Area with the spline placed back in place as example

Advice required

So basically, I am wanting to either add glass back to the newly painted door to almost restore the original pattern with shaped pieces of glass, or I am wanting to alter the design of both doors to match such as a simple centre divider with 2 pieces of glass.

What would be the best way to go about the first of these options? I ask for the first only as I can imagine the second will be relatively simple to achieve.

Follow up questions would be things such as:

  • What would be the best glass for this? The original was pretty thin but not too delicate
  • How would one go about shaping/cutting the glass accurately?
  • Should the splines be replaced? If so - with what?
  • How would one go about affixing the glass to these splines? I have seen wood putty can reproduce the original 'look'.

As always, many thanks in advance to the wisdom can impart on me :-)

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    Hi. You're an experienced SEer, you know this is too many question in one. Any query where there's any likelihood that it'll require an in-depth response should have its own Question. Now that said, the two glass-related questions are off-topic really, especially the one on cutting to shape. – Graphus Sep 6 at 8:32
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    Honestly, I'd consult with a glazier. This is their wheelhouse, and the work here is advanced glazing. – jdv Sep 6 at 13:28
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What would be the best way to go about the first of these options?

Preparation: Remove all glue, glazing compound and and spline pieces to be replaced.

Splines: It looks like the existing splines have been damaged and you may have to replace some or all of them. There is no need to replace them if they are intact. I cannot tell for which direction the grain goes on the splines, but you should match directions with any new splines. You should be able to match width and thickness using a table saw. Since the doors are painted you can use any species of wood you prefer including softwoods. Clean out any residue glue or wood remnants in the the frame grooves and glue the new splines using a PLA wood glue such as Titebond. Since the curves are gentle it should be possible to set the splines in place simply bending them into the grooves. Do a dry setup(before gluing to make certain that everything will hold during the drying period. You should be able to hold the splines in the grooves using painters tape to insure that the splines hold in place during curing.

Glass: In all probability any commercially available glass would work. Any commercial glass & mirror store should be able to match the thickness needed. If the original glass was very old and has desirable hand made irregularities, you may want to seek out a stained glass supply store or artist to consult to find matching glass. Obviously you want the thickness to match closely to other panels. You can cut the glass with a hand held glass cutter (stain glass suppliers have better cutters than are available at the big box store). You may also need a glass cutters to to break the glass smoothly on the curves. Online videos can show you how. Draw the shape on a piece of paper, place the glass on the drawing and trace the curves with the glass cutter.

Installing the glass: The glass appears to have been installed using glazing compound. This was the most common way to install individual glass panes in wood windows before modern plastic systems were used. You can find the compound at any big box home store and watch videos to learn how to apply it. Let it dry thoroughly before painting it.

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    Cutting the curved glass on a curved path will likely take a good amount of practice and/or luck. Someone who works with stained/decorative glass could probably match the glass and the cuts better than anyone else and they'd probably be enthusiastic to take a look at it and at least offer some advice. My wife does some of that stuff and it isn't necessarily as easy as it looks in Youtube videos. – Greg Nickoloff Sep 9 at 13:24

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