Even if you go one door, it would still need a rail in the middle to help break it up. Going to take some good hinges for sure. I would also make the sides straight, eliminate the bevel. Would leave the bevel on the front and back pieces, just push the sides in flat, hope that is understandable.
Just my opinion
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Does the insert have to be glass? Acrylic would be lighter and wouldn't break. I know, I know - the purist in me wants glass - the practical is another matter. Personally, I prefer the look of two doors, but I'm not the client.
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Density of Common glass = 150-175 lb/ft3 = 0.087-0.101 lb.in3 .
*3/16” x 27” wide x 36” tall, the weight would be ~ 18 ˝ lbs. (* this would be thick glass)
If the glass were 1/8” thick, the weight would be ~ 10 ˝ lbs.
I have a double door on my gun cabinet with each door having a single sheet of glass that is ~1/8” X 13” X 48” & weighs ~ 6 3/4 lbs. Each door has (3) hinges & swing beautifully.
I don’t think you would have any trouble with (3) good quality hinges. Could even try (4) if that makes you feel more comfortable.
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Will have to have some pretty strong joints on those doors. You might go talk with a local glass shop to see what type/thickness they will recommend, then base your design off that. At that size I'd consider some safety glass, which will cost more, but wont have as much of a chance to twist and crack.
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I like the design Prefer as 2 doors also but your client must want full vision of the contents, beef up the height of the rails and use m & t joints one I would think you would be good
Someone else mentioned it, I would be more worried about the frame joints than the hinges. Might want to make the tenons a lot longer for that along with wider rails/stiiles.
OK in the interest of trying to keep the customer happy maybe you could use some sort of a slides instead of hinges. Sherrie has one that the glass is 36" wide. I am attaching a picture to give you an idea. I sits in a hall so it is hard to get a full size picture.
It would require you to make the door stand proud of the cabinet but I think it would look good.
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We can discuss the structural issues and the customer's preferences, but from a business perspective, there is a "I don't want to be sued out of my socks" perspective. I'd explain that your design (2 doors) is structurally sound. One door without some sort of mid-shelf (shelf material?) support presents safety issues that can only be mitigated with safety glass, extra hinges, and a signed waiver of responsibility. There will be extra cost involved. If your customer is good with that, stop thinking about what they will pay, give them the whole picture and true costs. Also explain that from your builder's experience perspective requires you to have them sign a waiver and disclaimer of any future issues with that cabinet. Also tell them they likely can find someone to make as they wish who will not be concerned with the safety issues, but the recourse could have a price to them in injury and/or destruction of treasured items that likely will require court action to try make things right.
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