Glass panels on furniture make a powerful style statement and give a light and airy look to a contemporary home. Each beautifully crafted piece is designed with aesthetic value and functions in mind and will instantly transform a room into a spacious and inviting living area. Some types of glasses used for furniture are Tempered glass or Toughened Glass, Tinted glass and Painted Glass. Tempered glass or Toughened Glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tinted glass refers to any glass that has been treated with a material such as a film or coating that reduces the transmission of light through it. Glass can be tinted with various types of coating, which block and/or reflect different amounts and types of light, according to the needs and preferences of the consumer. Painted glass makes it possible to incorporate whites, pastels and soft earth tones in your designs.
‘Ordinary’, or ‘annealed’ glass, will break into dagger-like shards, and so is often not suitable for use in furniture. However, the absence of stress in such glass means that it can be worked (cut, polished and drilled), even after bending and annealing.
‘Toughened or Tempered Glass’ (‘safety’ glass) is formed from a prepared sheet of ordinary glass which has been cut to size, processed and edge-worked as necessary. The glass sheet is then heated and rapidly chilled with cold air, which is blown onto the surfaces. This heating and rapid cooling process results in the outer surfaces cooling more quickly than the inner parts of the sheet. The result is that these outer surfaces will contract and solidify before the interior, thereby inducing permanent compressive stresses into the surfaces of the glass. This results in the increased strength and safe breakage characteristics observed with this type of glass. When the glass is broken, the stress is explosively released, producing the fracture characteristics of small, cube-like fragments (often referred to as ‘dice’) that are relatively harmless.
‘Laminated Glass’ as the name suggests, consists of two or more layers of glass which may be of any type. These are permanently bonded together by one or more interlayers of normally transparent plastic. Once manufactured, the laminate is considered to be one piece of glass. The plastic interlayers are intended to hold glass fragments in place if the glass is broken, making injury less likely to occur.
‘Film-backed’ glass has a film of flexible plastic applied to the back of the glass to hold the pieces together if it is broken.
‘Decorated’ glass is a product that has been worked – for example, by acid-etching, embossing, sandblasting, cutting or engraving to give a decorative effect.