Installing Glass Inserts in Cabinet Door

Installing a glass inserts in cabinet door is a pretty easy task. But like most easy things there are a couple of small details you must pay attention to or disaster will ensue. You don’t want to learn by trial and error. Follow my overly detailed instructions and you’ll be fine.

Handling Leaded Glass Inserts

The most important part of installing your panel is handling your panel. Handling a leaded glass panel is not difficult but does require some care. It’s not like handling a solid piece of glass. If you are not careful the panel will bend. But no worries, once you understand how it is no big deal.

Before I show you how to handle a leaded glass panel let me briefly explain why it is different than a solid piece of glass. I know I am going overboard here but I always work better when I understand the ‘why’ of how you do something rather than just being told what to do. A leaded glass panel is held together with lead, duh. What makes lead great is its malleability. Bends real easy and cuts with a knife real easy compared to other metals. When a leaded panel stands on its edge and is supported on four sides it is very strong and stable. However, when it is not supported on all four sides and it is held flat like a tray it is very vulnerable and will bend.

Step One

How to pick up a leaded glass panel. Step One. The first thing you want to do is find the most secure spots to grab the panel on the longest edge of the panel. These are the spots where there is a lead joint. On the picture you see three circles showing three lead joints on this panel. If you are an octopus grab and lift at all three spots. Everyone else grab at the two spots shown here.

Firmly holding the panel lift up from one side in one steady motion.

Step Two

Now the panel is standing on its side. The panel is in a secure position and will not go anywhere. From here pinch the lead joints as shown in the picture. IMPORTANT, don’t grab the edge lead between the lead joints. You do this and you will pull the edge lead away from the glass.

With panel firmly secured between pinched fingers lift your panel. If you have sweaty hands like I do, use gloves. Preferably gloves with rubber lining on the outside.

Step Three

Next step. Lay your cabinet frame face down as shown here.

Next, caulk the inner edge of the frame.

*Note before you actually caulk the frame follow the remaining steps to make sure your panel fits the frame. If you followed our steps on taking measurements I know there will be no problems but I like to take a dry run before breaking out the caulk. Caulk is great stuff but if you mess up it can get unwieldy and messy.

Step Four

Take your panel and lift like a pro.

Set the edge into the inner edge. Woodworking pros call it a rabbet.

Note – Make sure the front of the panel is facing you so when you lay it down the back of the panel is up and the front is down.

Now just do the reverse of lifting the panel. Take care that the edge of the panel stays in the rabbet.

Voila! You have just successfully installed a leaded glass panel into a cabinet frame. Let the caulk set up before handling. Once the panel is in the frame is very secure.