How to Repair & Replace a Curio Cabinet Glass

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum

  • Pliers

  • Putty knife

  • Tracing paper

  • Tape

  • Pencil

  • Finish nails

  • Small hammer


Check your cabinets that have glass periodically for signs of stress or other problems. Replace glass before it shatters when possible.

Glass cabinets can be freestanding or built-in.

Curio cabinets often use thin sheets of glass attached to the cabinet doors and sometimes to the sides of the cabinet. These glass panels may be thinner than window glass and more fragile. During moves or accidentally, the glass can shatter, requiring replacement. Most cabinet glass is installed in two ways: with 1/4 round trim or with rubber stripping. Replacing the glass with both styles of installation can be done in less than an hour.

Step 1

Open the cabinet door and remove the contents of the cabinet. Vacuum the inside of the cabinet to remove all of the glass shards. Save a sample of the edge of the glass if the edge is beveled or if the glass is unusual in some way.

Step 2

Remove the quarter round using needle-nose pliers and a putty knife. Peel the rubber gasket away from the door if you have the rubber gasket type of installation. Be careful to remove any glass in the rubber channel.

Step 3

Tape tracing paper over the window area. Draw the outline of the window. For quarter round windows, there will be a rabbeted edge where the glass sits. Your glass measurement should be slightly less (1/16 to 1/8 inch) than the full size of the rabbet. For rubber gaskets, trace the opening exactly and take the gasket with you to the glass shop so that the glass cutter can accurately calculate the size for you.

Step 4

Take your tracing, measurements, glass sample and gasket to the glass store to have the glass panel cut. This is particularly necessary if you are replacing curved and beveled edge glass.

Step 5

Place the replacement glass against the rabbet on the inside of the cabinet. Insert the quarter round and nail with finish nails every 6 to 8 inches by lightly tapping on the nail or nail set with a small hammer. The quarter round should extend over the edge of the glass to hold it firmly in place.

Step 6

Wrap the rubber gasket around the glass starting in the same corner that had the seam originally. Make sure the gasket is securely in place. Have a second person stand on one side of the cabinet opening. The second person lifts the lip of the rubber and pulls half of the gasket through the opening working his way around the entire window. The gasket sandwiches the glass to the wood surface of the cabinet.


F.R.R. Mallory

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.