Or do people not do that anymore? Or can I just not think of the right search terms?
When I was a kid, whenever we got a new piece of furniture like a nightstand or an end table, instead of using coasters my folks would just get a piece of glass cut to fit the top and then you didn’t have to worry about it. (And my boyfriend WILL NOT use coasters.) I remember if you had certain sized tables you could get them in the Penney’s catalog, but I think my dad used a glass company his company dealt with which has since gone out of business. I was sure Amazon would know, but I don’t think I’m asking it the right questions.
So, do people still do that, and if so where can I find it and what am I looking for?
Just about any auto glass shop will stock and cut/polish just about any kind of flat glass (except tempered glass) to spec. Look in the local business phonebook under Automobile Glass Installers or Glaziers.
The question of how to get glass has been answered, but “do people still do that?” hasn’t. Of course the answer is “some people do,” but why they do is fascinating to me.
I watched an old episode of “The Wire” last night in which the cops were searching an old woman’s home in a run-down neighborhood. She had plastic covers on all the furniture, an old joke but “some people do.”
I’m assuming that the OP is talking about wood-topped nightstands and end tables. Everyone is different, but most people enjoy the experience of wood furniture for the appearance of the wood, its warmth, figure, grain and color. The finish of the wood can range from bare sanded wood to glass-like polished varnish. Or, a table can have stone, concrete, glass, rattan, or any other desired material for it’s working surface.
But why buy a piece of furniture with a working surface that doesn’t meet your needs so that you have to go out and fashion a new glass surface for it? If you like the look of wood behind glass, why not buy a table built with wood behind glass to begin with? Why produce a frankenstein table, designed one way but installed another?
Coming from the guy who manages a solid-wood furniture store. Measure the top of the surface you want to cover, measure it again, and then finally measure it once more just to make sure. Google a local glass company. Phone them up, tell them what you are doing, give them the measurements.
You’ll probably want 3mm, tempered glass, polished edges. (Just be careful, in my experience the polished edges never turn out that smooth with tempered glass, so you might want to consider regular glass.)
Because you like the wood, you just don’t want your boyfriend to ruin it? (Because it’s a nightstand, where people frequently leave glasses longer than elsewhere, plus snotty tissues, plus god knows what else is going on on that side of the bed?) I wouldn’t do glass like my parents do on every damned piece of furniture, but in this case I think it’s a good compromise because you can still enjoy the color, grain, etc. of the wood, but the top doesn’t get rings. Or stuck tissues.
I work for a glass (float, coating, tempering & laminating) manufacturer, and we all have glass on our tables at home*. We’re (that is to say me, using basic AutoCad) able to measure odd ellipticals on antique, hand-made tables, cut it, and then temper it so it won’t shatter into dangerous “swords.” (you can’t cut tempered glass because it would shatter into all those little kernels like you see in the gutter after auto accidents).
A window company is your best resource, because they order custom-shaped glass all the time.
*except for that glass-over-the tablecloth thing that they do at bistros. I see the purpose, but I just never cared for that. I have a lacey linen oilcloth that’s held up just fine
I’ve bought glass to put on table tops for years and expect to do so again. I’ve never lived anywhere that I couldn’t find a glass person to come to my house, do the measurements, and cut the glass to fit.
I’ve got a 3’x6’ Leopold walnut desk, with the top in four beautiful pieces of veneer. After I refinished it, I got a piece of glass from a window guy in the phone book, and some plastic dots so that it wouldn’t stick to the finish.
If you still have old fashioned hardware stores in your area, they often carry glass that can be cut to fit windows and they will cut glass to fit table tops as well.
OTOH, I just went to Lowe’s or Home Depot and looked up their sheets of acrylic (near the screen materials in the door and window department), chose sheets slightly larger than the table tops, and scored and cut them myself. They don’t look quite as classy as a thick pane of glass, but I was able to do the job, myself, they are much lighter if you go to move the table, and they won’t fall and shatter when you move the table or the 4-year-old decides to try out a hammer on one.
Well, as someone who has a glass-topped desk - and plans to get glass tops for a new dresser… because there’s a lot of wear and tear on the tops of heavily-used furniture such as dressers, desks and nightstands. Scratches and full-out gouges, which can really detract from the beauty of the piece.
My dresser is a very expensive solid cherry piece. Most of the wood I see is the front and sides anyway. The top? I don’t see as much. Covering it with glass will protect it, detract not-at-all from the look of the piece in the room, affect the function not at all, and make me feel like I’m not risking damaging a potential heirloom by accidentally scratching it.
Plastic-covered furniture? That’s another animal entirely. Furniture is designed to be sat upon. If its surface is fragile and easily stained, then it either belongs in a “special occasion” room (a formal living room) where it doesn’t get wear and tear - or in someone else’s house! Covering it with plastic makes it look tawdry, and makes it very uncomfortable for sitting. So, it might preserve the beauty underneath but makes it look worse on top.
My cats run and skid across the dining room table, scratching the hell out of it. So I put a tablecloth on there. Then of course they would still skid, pulling the tablecloth and anything else on the table off.
So I went to the place where I bought the table, and asked them for a glass cover.
Window glass is either double or single strength and far too fragile to use as a tabletop. You need 1/4" glass typically. Instead of measuring it, I’d make a template using cardboard. Have the shop make the top to the size but straightening the edges where you cut. This takes care of any out of square corners the piece might have.
Realistically, you should take the piece of furniture in and have them make the top to fit. It’s the way I would do it and I have made literally hundreds of glass tops. It’s way to easy to mess up by a 1/8". A pencil edge on the glass looks best. If you don’t like the green that you see when regular glass is edge polished, you can get StarFire glass (or similar products) when the edges are polished it is clear but very pricey.