I'm making a candle holder out of wood (yes, that's the tenuous link to this forum; I cannot find an answer anywhere else!) and I would like to know if it's feasible to use polycarbonate sheets instead of glass. I'd ideally like to use glass, but it's damn near impossible here in the UK to buy the stuff: the big DIY stores don't do and the online places charge a fortune for delivery.

My main concerns, in order of importance are:

  1. Will the polycarbonate sheets catch alight and burn my house down?
  2. If they don't spontaneously combust, will they deform or 'white-over' with time?

My research has shown that polycarbonate has a fire rating of 1, which means it can be used in schools and hospitals, so I'm assume that item 1. will not happen. But I'm guessing that if the sheets are close to the candle flame, that item 2. will happen over time.

Has anyone any experience using polycarbonate near naked flames?

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    eh, the question still relates to the properties of PC, not of wood... so not really applicable here. In any event, it's hard to say without knowing the heat output of the candle(s), proximity to the plastic, ventilation/air flow, etc etc. I find it hard to believe you can't find glass? it's a basic building material. have you tried picture frame shops? – aaron Sep 12 '17 at 15:43
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    @aaron I think the relevant precedent was set a long while ago that as long as it relates to a woodworking project it's fine to ask about other materials, as with finish options, metalworking for cutting tools etc. – Graphus Sep 12 '17 at 16:44
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    I think this is a bad idea on principle Steve, but actually I don't know. Glass seems so fundamental to something like this though, are there no glazers or picture framers near you? Those are the two main sources of glass cut to size going back to the year dot, not DIY stores or equivalent. – Graphus Sep 12 '17 at 16:45
  • Thanks guys. I tried the local glazier, but they only did double glazed panels. I never considered a picture framer for some reason (live and learn and all that, this is my first ever 'practical' project). @Graphus, you're right though, it does seem wrong to use anything but glass. – Steve Dunn Sep 12 '17 at 20:10
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    My guess would be that they won't deform with adequate airflow and spacing to the flame. You might get some soot build up on the insides, but I would think that would be the same as you would get with glass, and would likely be just as easy to clean off. There's one sure way to find out! Just be sure to keep it monitored at all times (of use) during the first year+ of use and keep a fire extinguisher very handy. I'd recommend testing it outside, as well, in case it decides to start putting off some nasty odors/chemicals. – FreeMan Sep 13 '17 at 20:21

Buy glass from your local picture framer.

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