Blog – custom glass

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Front Doors for Sale – Where to Buy

While we do not sell the actual door for the leaded glass insert. We do have some recommendations on where to get a door. We will try and make that process simple and painless. I know it would be easier if we did everything but our expertise is in glass, and that is what we want to stick to. More important, this will save you money.

Type of Door

First decision you have to make is what type of door you want. Wood or Fiberglass (could also do metal but not highly recommended)


Looks great. It is why we use wood doors for our photos, can’t beat it. The big draw back is that it does not hold up as well as fiberglass to the elements. If your door is fully exposed to the sun or does not have an overhang protecting it I would seriously consider fiberglass.


If you plan on painting your door a solid color then go with fiberglass. If is durable, strong and holds up well to the elements.

Where to Buy Front Doors

If you are struggling to source a flush panel wood door or any type of door (our inserts can be made to fit any size opening) here are two sources we highly recommend.

Simpson Doors

Back we shipped doors with leaded glass inserts installed we used Simpson Doors a lot. Quality doors that we never had trouble with. They have an extensive dealer network and you should be able to find someone close by that sells Simpson Doors.

If you want a flush panel door from Simpson we recommend model #49900 contemporary exterior door . This is a flush panel, wood veneer door with wood core staves. Good quality.

Frank Lumber Co. The Door Store

Another option for ordering doors is Frank Lumber. They will have any option you want, wood, fiberglass, range of prices and options. There knowledge and service is great. They will preying your door, drill for lock sets, even stain and finish your door if desired. They will even cut out the opening in the door for your leaded glass insert.

For exterior wood doors they will sell you a 1 3/4″ flush door that is used for exterior doors but is not recommended. What they make and recommend is a 2 1/4″ wood door for exterior use. It is more money but a high quality door. And they sell the fiberglass doors.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help.

Background – Artisans and Craftsmen

This past summer I took my family to Germany and the small town of Wiedenbruck where my mother and father grew up. My parent’s history in Wiedenbruck goes back hundreds of years. As described in my background page, there is the Goldkuhle Glas und Naturstein Co. started by my great, great, grandfather, Franz Anton Goldkuhle. When he started the company it was a wood working studio. The company is still thriving today and is run by my cousin, Klaus Goldkuhle. This lineage of tradesmen, artisans and craftsmen runs through everything we do at kuhl doors.

Goldkuhle GmbH und Co. KG

Here is the showroom of Goldkuhle Glas und Naturstein. Over the years the company has evolved into a glass company specializing in custom glass for residential and commercial applications. Wiedenbruck is located in the heart of the German furniture industry. It is an important supplier of glass to the furniture industry.

Goldkuhle GmbH und Co. KG

On the right is the house my father grew in. My grandfather ran the business from the house. Naturally growing up for my father revolved around the factory. There are some custom leaded glass panels throughout the house. Pretty sure my father’s finger prints are all over them. At one time my grandfather wanted to expand in the direction of leaded glass production. He sent my father to trade school for stained glass. Unfortunately for my grandfather, my father did not want any part of the family business. He used his training to pursue the stained glass trade focusing on ecclesiastical work.

Goldkuhle GmbH und Co. KG

This is my cousin Klaus Goldkuhle inside the factory.

wood work of Franz Goldkuhle

Wiedenbruck is a old historical town over a 1000 years old. An important part of the history is the furniture industry. Many German furniture manufacturers are located in or around Wiedenbruck. This is a direct result of the traditional wood working trade in Wiedenbruck. Franz Anton Goldkuhle started his wood working studio making wooden pulpits, alters, crosses and pews for churches. Shown here is one example of his work.

workbench of Franz Goldkuhle

There is a museum in Wiedenbruck dedicated to the history of the trades. My cousin Klaus was instrumental in creating this museum. In the museum I saw one of the highlights of my trip, this work bench. This is Franz Goldkuhle’s actual work bench. I checked with the museum director to make sure and he confirmed it. I love work benches and to see this one is a thrill for me.

invoice of Franz Goldkuhle
invoice of Franz Goldkuhle

This is a copy of an invoice from the original Goldkuhle Company. My cousin got it from a nearby church where Franz Goldkuhle did some work over 150 years ago. The resolution isn’t so great but you can make out the name Franz Goldkuhle and part of the Goldkuhle Company name in the upper left hand corner.

glass cabinet door – introducing new line

We are proud to introduce our new line of glass cabinet door. Whether you want to accent your kitchen with a touch of color or personalize it with an artistic piece look at our line of unique leaded glass designs. Each panel is custom made to order. For more details go to our products page under cabinet glass

glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door
glass cabinet door

measuring glass for cabinet doors – DIY

Measuring glass for the opening of a cabinet door frame for glass seems simple enough and we could assume everyone knows what to do and there is really no need to review. However, this is such a critical part in ordering your panel this step warrants a careful explanation of what to measure.

Step 1.

measuring step 1

Go to the back side of the front cabinet door frame. There is a grove called a rabbet running around the inner edge of the door frame. This is what the glass panel will sit in and this is what we need to measure.

Step 2.  Measure full panel size

measuring step 2

Measure the width and length of the full size that will receive the panel. This is the most important size. The panel will be made slightly smaller than this size and therefore it is critical this is as accurate a measurement as possible. This is also the size used to determine the cost of the panel.

Step 3. Measure the sight-size

measuring step 3

The sight-size is the measurement of the opening where light passes through. This is the area of the glass panel you will be able to see from the front of the cabinet door frame. This size is important to ensure that the panel is made to show only what we want to see of the glass panel from the front.

Step 4.  Measuring the depth

measuring step 4

While not critical it doesn’t hurt to provide a measurement of the depth of the rabbet.


So when ordering a custom glass panel you will be providing the;

panel opening size both H” x W”

sight-size both H” x W”



Learn How To Install Leaded Glass Insert


Faces of Duke Chapel

Stand in the nave of Duke Chapel, look up at the clerestory windows. You see a kaleidoscope of glass colors. Focus and you see each window is based on a major figure of the old testament, Job, David, Moses, etc. You can’t miss the central figure in each window but you can easily miss the smaller figures that surround the central character. These figures help tell the story. At first glance these minor figures appear simple and almost cartoonish but look again, they are very expressive and distinct.

how to make stained glass – a short film

How To Make Stained Glass – in 45 seconds. Having some fun with stop motion camera. What you see is the whole process of making a stained glass panel; full size cartoon, pattern cutting, cutting glass, leading glass and soldering. The only steps left are puttying, cleaning and final installation. This window is going into a custom home for an interior transom. The circles are clear hand blown rondel surrounded by clear hand blown glass.

custom windows for the home

detail of a sideline for a home in Reston, VA

free hanging window

The doors and inserts you see on kuhl doors are proven designs we can ship anywhere in the United States. However, over the years we have also done a number of commissioned, custom windows. We love to do custom windows. It is a chance to tryout new designs whether it is for a window, a door, or an independent hanging piece. The great part of custom windows is many times the client will provide a direction of where they would like to see a design go and it is that direction that is the impetus for something truly unique. However, custom designed work also has its challenges. The biggest challenge is cost. It takes a lot of time to come up with a new design. We want our windows to be affordable to anyone looking to personalize their home with something custom and unique. That is why we push the proven designs listed. You get something custom made, and made by a craftsman but you don’t pay for the design process.








making a custom glass door

Click edit button to change this text.

Click edit button to change this text.

This summer I completed a custom door project for BAC Design Group here in Traverse City.  A fun project that started in the spring when I recieved a design concept from Marty Rhein at BAC Design. Marty’s idea was to take a map of Torch Lake and use it as an outline for the window.

door design conceptdoor designglass design

From the design and concept phase the glass is selected and layed out to full scale. The glass circles are called rondels and come from Kokomo Glass in Indiana. The clear flat glass is hand blown from Lamberts Glass in Germany.

glass door design


The lead lines drawn and the cartoon is prepped to cut out the patterns that will be used to cut the glass. The glass is all cut by hand using a simple glass cutter. The edges are filed and deburred.

glass door glass cutting

After all the glass is cut it is carefully layed out to get ready for assembling the glass panel.

glass door layout

The next step is using lead came to assemble the panel. The lead is carefully measured and cut using a lead knife.

glass door assembly

Once the panel is assembled the lead joints are soldered on both sides of the panel.

glass door panel

The finished door with glass insert.

lakemore door

photo by Kaity

custom glass door

Duke Chapel Restoration Project

I am a leaded glass artisan and while my website is focused on custom leaded glass, specifically for the home like your front door, I also do stained glass restoration work. For the last 15 years I’ve had the privilege to be involved with Duke University at the iconic Duke Chapel. The work involves the restoration of the stained glass windows in the clearstory level windows. Currently the Chapel is closed while undergoing significant work. Part of that work involves the restoration of the seven windows in the chancellory. I am working with three other studios to complete this work by February. The two windows I am tasked with completing are the Moses window and the Samson window. We started in June with the removal of the seven windows.

view from the top of the scaffold



All the studios working together to remove windows



The lead knife. One of the most important tools in the glaziers tool kit is the lead knife. There are different types of lead knives glaziers use, this is mine. It is an English knife, made in Sheffield, England by Petty’s Celebrated Sheffield. The handle is rosewood, the steel is high quality Sheffield steel that runs through the length of the handle.

My father started using this knife when he worked in the well known London studio of Whitefriars Glass Studio back in the mid 50’s. He loved the knife so much he purchased a dozen of the knives and brought them to New York City when he immigrated in the early 60’s. The knife I use today is one of those dozen knives.

Sheffield, England has a long history in the manufacture of steel and cutlery. It was the center of steel production in England and is where several important contributions to the steel industry were made like the invention of stainless steel. Petty’s Celebrated is an old company that was well known for its cutlery and knives.