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Working with glass

doityourself

If you've broken your glass table or maybe are expecting seven years bad luck as a result of a smashed mirror, there are many shops around town that can help you out with a replacement piece of glass.

Tabletops and shelves are the easiest to replace, as there usually isn't any installation work to do. First, check to see if there are any retainers holding the remains of the broken glass in place. If there are, remove them.

Some tables have glass on the base and in some it is recessed. If the glass is in a frame, your measurements must be right on when you buy a replacement because there is no give with glass, and you won't be able to adjust the size once it's at your house.

If the glass is rectangular, measure both sides to the nearest millimetre. If it's circular, hold the edge of your measuring tape on one end of the glass and, with the tape extended, move the tape in an arc across the opposite side. The longest measurement will be its diametre. Repeat a few times to make certain you have the correct size.

As you carefully remove the cracked or broken glass, make sure you have some old newspaper on the floor to keep the edges from chipping on the tile. Measure the thickness of the glass using the 1-centimetre mark as the starting point, as measuring tapes are often a bit off in the first centimetre. Tape a few pages of old newspaper over the broken edge so people don't cut themselves on it, and discard.

Take your measurements and measuring tape to a glass shop. There will usually be a few colours to choose from, such as clear, smoke and amber. Tabletop glass is usually 5-8mm thick. If your table broke under normal use you might opt for a thicker piece. Show the measurements to the shop and point out exactly which kind of glass you want. Make sure they write the measurements on the receipt.

Ask to have the edges finished, srayliang in Khmer. If you want the edges rounded, draw an example of the curve on the receipt.

Whether you pick up the glass or have it delivered, make sure you check the edges for chips or other blemishes. Have them unwrap the paper for an inspection.

To replace a mirror you will need a table for a work area. Lay the mirror face-down on the table. Safety glasses are recommended for this. Mirrors are set in their frame with either nails, clips or a sealant such as silicone. If it's nailed in, use pliers to twist the nails out. Save the nails.

If the glass is sealed in, cut along the edge of the glass with a utility knife. Adjustable utility knives can be found at stationery shops.

Make several passes until you get down to the frame; it's safer to cut a bit at a time than to force it. If the glass doesn't want to come out, turn the frame over and insert the blade between the frame and the glass. You might have to slowly work the glass out.

When buying your new mirror, you can forgo the finished edge.

For a nail-held mirror, set the glass in the frame. If there isn't a protective layer, lay down some newspaper where you're hammering and tap the nails back into the old holes until snug.

To hold with a sealant, cut out all of the old sealant from the frame and set in the glass. Using a caulk gun, apply a bead of silicone or latex sealant around the entire edge of the glass where it meets the frame. Allow to set for 24 hours and hang up. Smile at yourself for a job well done.
There are many glass shops in Phnom Penh on Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, Street 271 and Street 163.
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If you have any questions about keeping your house in order, email Jet at diy@phnompenhpost.com

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