Our Kitchen cabinets are simple in design and date back to the original build of the house, 25 years ago. We've been updating the kitchen for the last 15 years, and getting close to a finishing point. But we wanted to add one "wow" point on a key visual cabinet, by inserting glass. My skills are not such that I can contemplate that with simple tools, so I turned to what was available at TechShop.
Step 1: Cutting the Opening
The ShopBot is the way to get precision cuts, but I have no skills on that, so I turned to another member, Bill, to help me get through this critical part of the process. With the precision of the ShopBot I could count on precise cuts in exactly the same position on both doors. The cut paths for the tool did both the pocket for the glass and the cutout of the open section in the door. Once the material was secured to the table it was 5 minutes of boredom to watch the path being cut.
Step 2: Cleaning Up the Cut
The cut line included tabs that stabilized the cut; these have to be dealt with manually. I used my trusty Dremel tool with a wood cut bit, and then a sander to clean up all the cut area. Although the ShopBot cut a precision opening, this was plywood so I had some filling and smoothing to do to get clean edges. Full disclosure: I did not do enough sanding initially, and had to go back and redo it to get it to an acceptable level. The glass pocket was cut to 1/4 x 1/4, to accommodate 3/32 window glass.
Step 3: Mounting the Glass
Bought the glass at the local big box, along with a cutter. Could not get a clean cut and broke both pieces. Called a local small glass shop (Aeromass Glass) and they cut me two pieces to size and charged me 35% less!. Also found out from them that they consider the glass cutters sold at the home improvement boxes as junk, so it was highly unlikely I would have ever gotten a decent cut. Installed bead of silicone calk in glass socket, and used glazier's points to lock the glass in mechanically. Use a old-fashioned razor blade to clean up any overrun of the silicone.
Next'-time change: cut the glass pocket 1/4" deep but 3/8" wide; the edge of the glazier's point shows just a little bit from the outside if you get just the correct (or bad) angle on the door. The extra 1/8" would hide it completely.
Step 4: Results!
It looks great. Kitchen bling!
Total cost: under $35 with $15 in wasted glass cost.
Total time: under 5 hours, with 2.5 hours dedicated to designing the cut path on the ShopBot.
Bid from local cabinet shop: $250.
I made it at TechShop (www.techshop.ws)