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What goes under the glass tabletop? Almost anything.

What goes under the glass tabletop? Almost anything

Almost invisible, a glass tabletop or desktop can draw attention to an unusual base. It can also provide a useful work surface without adding visual bulk to a room. The photographs here and on page 174 show ways to support glass tops with bases that range from building materials to fleamarket finds to antiques.

Shopping for glass

It's worthwhile to do some comparison shopping by telephone; prices can vary greatly from store to store.

Some furniture and large import stores sell 3/8-inch-thick precut glass tabletops in rectangles measuring 16 by 32, 20 by 36, 20 by 40, or 36 by 60 inches (prices range from $35 to $100) and in circles measuring 24, 30, 36, 42, or 48 inches in diameter ($40 to $100). Like most clear glass, these slabs have a green tinge at the edges. They come with a polished, slightly rounded "pencil' edge, and can cost half as much as a comparable piece of custom-cut glass.

A precut 20- by 40-inch rectangle costs about $50. We found the same size could cost from $80 to $120 custom-cut. For a 36-inch-diameter circle, which costs about $60 precut, we found custom-cut prices ranged from $80 to $180 or more.

At a glass store, you can have clear or tinted glass cut to specific dimensions. Prices vary, depending on the color, thickness, shape, and type of corner and edge you order. Easily cut shapes (rectangles are easier than circles), thinner glass, and sharper corners all mean lower cost.

Edges: you pay extra for refinements

A seamed edge, the most inexpensive kind for a sheet of glass that is to be used as a tabletop, has a dull finish and a flat surface, except for two small top and bottom bevels. If you want a glossy finish on a seamed edge, you order a flat polished edge, which can cost twice as much. Wide bevels on the edges can be quite expensive, especially for curved surfaces. Ask a glass dealer to show you the great variety of edge treatments possible.

Safety considerations

The thicker the glass, the less likely it is to break or chip. If children will play near the table, make sure corners are rounded and edges smooth. You can cover sharp corners with clear plastic corner guards, sold in a hardware department (about $1.25 for four), or make your own from split lengths of plastic tubing.

Glass that's tempered after being cut to size is more expensive than untempered glass, but it will fall into harmless shards if broken, rather than into dangerous sharp-edged pieces. Safety glass, with a core of wire or a clear plastic binder laminated between glass layers, costs even more, but holds together when broken. (The core will be exposed at the edges.)

Protective padding

To keep the glass from slipping and getting scratched, use a buffer between it and the base. Glass and some hardware stores sell thin buttons of clear plastic for this purpose (about 10 cents each). Plexiglass, cut to fit the top of the base, forms an almost invisible buffer. Felt or suede pads can blend or contrast with the color of the base.

Photo: Clay pipes from plumbing supply store double up to support top of coffee table; twine glued in circles on pipe tops protects glass

Photo: Glass blocks set parallel a foot apart carry a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle of glass. (These foot-square blocks cost about $15 each at a building supply store)

Photo: Acrylic fish tank (custom-made) forms table base. Clear monofilament line strung between opposite sides prevents bulging. Side notches allow aeration of water

Photo: Acrylic display case with wood bottom shows off house model, serves as table base; 26-by 30-inch top of 1/2-inch-thick glass with polished edges costs about $80

Photo: Steel braces, used to support bricks and mortar, cost $30 each at building supply stores. Sprayed black, they make a high-tech base. Height can be adjusted with chains

Photo: Vietnamese urn has 1/2-inch-thick glass top that measures 36 inches in diameter and serves as buffet table in home of Seattle designer Barbara Thomas

Photo: Concrete pedestals were ridged by coils of rope nailed inside forms made from paper-board cylinders. Dark felt glued to tops keeps glass from scratching, makes the bases appear hollow. Architect: William P. Bruder

Photo: Wooden brackets from an old organ, reinforced with steel pins sunk into studs, hold 1/2-inch-thick glass shelf
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
Words:744
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