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Is it Possible to Cut Tempered Glass?

Shattered glass pieces on a concert floor.
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The Case of the Bookcase Glass

Dear Glass Detective,

I have an old, low-value, deep bookcase/display cabinet that originally had sliding frameless tempered glass doors. Recessed metal tracks are present top and bottom to guide the doors as they slide, one behind the other. I’d like to get replacements, but the glass retailers I’ve encountered don’t seem to work with tempered glass.

I once wanted glass shelves from an old bathroom cabinet cut to be shorter to fit a new cabinet. They claimed it couldn’t be done. I ended up cutting them myself with my wet tile saw. It worked great.

Who might supply me with 24″ x 40″ tempered glass doors with chambered edges? And what might I expect to pay?

Sharpsburg, GA

On Glass Shops & Cutting Tempered Glass


Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective regarding your need for tempered glass sliding doors for your bookcase/cabinet. You also described a past occurrence regarding a glass need and, based on the information you have provided, I am going to offer a few comments that I hope will be of value to you.

First, I want to state that truly tempered glass cannot be cut. It will explode once the outer surface is breached. So the glass you cut with a wet porcelain tile saw was very likely not tempered.

Secondly, as for your comment that you don’t seem to be able to find a glass dealer that will work with tempered glass, keep looking! A shop that won’t work with tempered glass is probably not one you want to deal with. I’m guessing that maybe you are dealing with a hardware store or perhaps a paint store. I can’t imagine a real glass shop not wanting or being capable of dealing with tempered glass.

The glass you seek should not be all that expensive. If you cannot find a glass shop in your area to assist you, please feel free to send me your zip code and we will help you find one. I hope this information is of value to you and thank you again for contacting

-Glass Detective

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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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3 Responses

  1. I am looking for a min. 8 to 10 inch square or rectangle piece if glass, min. 3/8 inch thick. If not tempered then I can cut to my size if the piece is larger. I am in Houston TX.

  2. Yes I live in Twin near Twin Falls Idaho my zip code is 83316 I need help pretty badly to find a piece of glass for this stove I’m working on and I can’t find anybody to do tempered glass

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