Oak and Stainless Steel – Rowden Atelier

Oak and Stainless Steel

We recently had a question from an enthusiastic woodworker and former student at Rowden, about a coffee table he is working on. Head Tutor, Daren Millman was able to give him a succinct answer and now Harm (said enthusiastic woodworker) is well on his way to making the table.

I hope I may bother you with a practical question. I am building a small coffee table with an oak frame and a glass top.  The glass top will be glued to the frame. I remember from one of Daren’s Dimbleby’s to not directly glue the glass to the wood but to use a stainless steel plate in between. I am thinking of using epoxy to glue the plate to the glass and the wood. I know that oak will turn black near a steel object. Do you think this would also happen with stainless steel? If so, do you know a way to prevent it? I hope you can help me with this. Thanks in advance. Harm

Darens response was as ever, succinct but clear:

As you correctly remembered it is best to glue glass to wood via stainless steel. We use “Loctite glass bond” between the glass and the stainless steel and then epoxy resin between the wood and the steel. Make sure the glass and stainless are really clean with some acetone and then use a tiny drop of Loctite as it will spread a long way. If you get any surplus around the edge of the stainless it is easy to remove with a new Stanley or razor blade. If you get it right the glass bond will be almost invisible.

We also recess the stainless disc into the wood very slightly to help capture any surplus epoxy as this would be very difficult to get to and clean afterwards. There should be no tannin reaction between the oak and stainless steel.

It’s great to see you are still woodworking, hope that helps.

Kind regards


Many students stay close to Rowden, even after a single course. Years later we will get an email or a call from a far flung corner of the planet asking about some nuance of a woodworking situation. Our intent, especially in our full time courses, is to enable students to be totally independent makers, confident in their abilities and making their way beyond the bubble of a learning workshop. If they are faced with a challenge though that they cannot work though. we and sometimes others in the alumni are happy to help find a solution.