When it comes to glass fabrication processes, one of the most important areas is edgework. This specific element offers a finished look for your product, and determining which type to use is dependent on where it’s being used and its intended purpose. This could be anything from a conference table, office partitions and doors, markerboards, or display cases utilized in an aesthetically driven setting, such as retail.
Regardless of industry, custom edgework is also implemented from a safety standpoint, avoiding potential injuries from chipping and un-edged glass corners that are sharp and raw.
Let’s review several glass edge types and address why some are more appropriate for specific projects than others.
Pencil Polished Edge
This edge is usually rounded, and therefore, used for furniture—such as tables—that might require glass protector tops. It gets its name because, well, its rounded finish resembles a pencil.
Due to this polished aesthetic, pencil polish can be used on furniture and fixture pieces, such as mirrors, frames and shelves. This type has safety benefits—especially in high-traffic areas—resulting from its smooth, rounded edges that protect against possible injuries typically associated with the sharp, abruptness of glass.
When considering the edge type for a large project with a short lead time, it’s best to work with a glass fabricator specializing in this, with modern, high-level equipment. This will further ensure your project will be delivered on time, without sacrificing quality.
Pencil Satin Edge
Also referred to as pencil-grind or semi-polished, this rounded edge gets its name simply because of its pencil-like shape.
Using a diamond-embedded grinding wheel, a pencil-ground edge—unlike the glossy finish appearance of pencil-polish edge—produces a matte or satin-type sheen, making it appropriate for light-color surfaces, mirrors and decorative glass furniture.
Flat Polished Edge
Also known as flat edge or machine-polished edge, this works best to create sleek, clean and glossy lines, by running glass along a belt machine, removing any glass chips, and smoothing edges.
A flat-polished edge is used for a complete, finished look suitable for display purposes, such as mirrors, retail display cases, and other decorative furniture pieces.
This edge can be arrised—where the two angled edges meet. (See accompanying drawing.) It's also known as the chamfer, where the flat polished edge meets the glass surface.
Flat polish achieves a thicker appearance due to its refined, simplistic look—and it’s typically used for 1/4-inch glass or thicker.
Special, high-quality, flat-polishing equipment is required. This involves highly engineered and efficient machines that can polish any glass size and shape, even under strict lead times, regardless of thickness.
This is similar to the aforementioned pencil satin edge, except for its flat appearance. It too, has a satin-like sheen, making it appropriate for mirrors and decorative glass furniture.
Also known as sloped or chamfered edge, this is flat and grinded for a smooth appearance. Bevels are achieved by cutting and polishing the edges for a distinctly elegant look—thinner along the sides and thicker at its center.
Such edgework adds depth and ornateness. Beveled edges have a shiny or glossy appearance that present a finished, polished look.
Similar to the aforementioned pencil-polished style, bevel-edged glass is also suited for decorative pieces such as mirrors.
This is also known as a slanted edge that can be beveled anywhere from a 0- to 60-degree angle.
A miter edge is typically used for connecting two pieces of glass together to create a specific angle. Without it, the glass would butt up, rather than smoothly conjoin.
Mitered-edge glass can also be used as a stand-alone application for silicone structural glazing, or to create a uniquely visual aesthetic when working with thicker glass.
Also known as cut and swipe edges, this involves removing sharp edges with a sanding belt.
Because these don’t result in a smooth, complete finish, seamed edges are more for concealed or captured edges that are not exposed, but still safe to handle.
What’s Best for Your Project?
With so many glass edges to choose from, it’s best to consult with a professional glass fabricator to select the best for your project. Such experts will also utilize the specialized equipment required to customize and complete your project on time and within budget.
Contact us to determine which edge type is optimal for your needs.