Cutting down a kitchen cabinet

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by NBeener posted 888 days ago 12676 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NBeener's profile


4806 posts in 1680 days

888 days ago

My friends got a new fridge, AND wanted to yank the laminate countertop, and install granite tile.

I volunteered to help.

The countertop thing is moving along swimmingly.

The fridge is probably 1/2” too tall for the space under the upper cabinet. They figured it might be.

All the upper cabinet tops are at the same level on the wall, so … they’re not keen on raising this one up, a skosh. They’re hardwood cabinets—probably Oak—including the “aprons.”

So … I want to cut down the bottom apron … by the needed +/- 1/2”.

My thought ? Just bring it back to my house, and do the four cuts on the TS, with masking tape on the cut lines, and a very fine (80t ?) blade.

I also thought about the router table and a straight bit, or … just hogging it all off with the belt sander, and 80-grit paper, but … I keep coming back to the table saw.

Any thoughts about the “best” or “right” way ??

I’ll check back, this evening … before I start in on it.

Thanks !

-- -- Neil

18 replies so far

View ellen35's profile


2547 posts in 1938 days

#1 posted 888 days ago

Neil, this brings back memories of last year (I’m too old to remember much after that!)...
I had the same problem. The builder put in the wrong cabinet over my fridge and it limited the size of the fridge I could buy. I took the doors off, ran back and 2 sides through my table saw, dismantled the waste and re-attached the top. I turned it from a cabinet to an open shelf. Everyone who sees it likes it better that way… and a got a big honkin’ refrigerator!
Table saw is the easiest way to go….

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


4972 posts in 1104 days

#2 posted 888 days ago

If you can get it off the wall in good shape, that will be half the battle. I think sending it thru the table saw, or using guides on a circular saw will be the way to go. I am assuming you will be only removing the needed area from the “bottom” of the cabinet, which will not be too visible to the eye. Should work out, good luck.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 1429 days

#3 posted 888 days ago

I would think you would have more control on the TS for this item.

-- Life is good.

View patron's profile (online now)


12852 posts in 1847 days

#4 posted 888 days ago

did this with my brother in D.C.
over the phone
he couldn’t take the cab down

tape off the face
cut close with jig saw

run router with straight edge offset
with double tape

(or piloted template bit )
to clean up
and chisel in the corners

i guess it worked fine
i forgot to look when i was there
but the bigger fridge was nice

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View DS's profile


2086 posts in 926 days

#5 posted 888 days ago

Keep in mind that most fridges require an air gap of 1” above the fridge for proper function since the condenser coils are on the back of the unit.

If you seal this tightly the fridge will not function correctly or have a shortened lifespan.

Most all appliance manufacturers have installation guidlines on thier website that state how much air gap they need.

Only true built-in fridges with front exhaust vents can be sealed tight to the cabinets.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

626 posts in 1197 days

#6 posted 888 days ago

Hey Neil, depending on how much over hang the faceframe has you could just trim off at the bottom without running into the bottom shelf. However, watchout for unseen nail in the faceframe. Depending on how it was attached either with just glue, biscuits or nails you might run into that with a carbide tip and hurt the blade somewhat. Usually there is around a 1 to 1 1/2” of overhang on the bottom anyway so there should be enough room to trim. Just watch for appropriate air gaps for the fridge. The TS is the best way to trim it off. Just watch for metal on the way through. Good Luck.

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View DS's profile


2086 posts in 926 days

#7 posted 888 days ago

Neil, check the leg levelers on the fridge. They usually can adjust +/- 1/2” up or down.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

3196 posts in 2466 days

#8 posted 888 days ago

I set most uppers above the fridge at 72”. I have done the trim with a belt sander VERY CAREFULLY. Worked out well ‘cause I couldn’t take the stupid 12” deep uppers down w’out a major a$$ ache. Cab guys need to study the newer dims before design/install.
I appreciate your situation.


View Craftsman on the lake's profile (online now)

Craftsman on the lake

2269 posts in 1944 days

#9 posted 888 days ago

Remove or adjust the leg levelers. If the fridge is on wheels.. remove them?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13335 posts in 2179 days

#10 posted 888 days ago

I would use framing square and mark the line on all four sides, and cut it with a circular saw.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View ShopTinker's profile


870 posts in 1274 days

#11 posted 888 days ago

I’m probably going to have to do the same thing when this fridge dies. The one the wife wants is to tall for the current opening. I wish you great success.

I’d go with the table saw if it’s not to hard to take the cabinet down.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


9134 posts in 1124 days

#12 posted 888 days ago

I’d second Patron’s advice: “run router with straight edge offset with double tape (or piloted template bit )
to clean up and chisel in the corners”...

Then a buddy to hold the vac close to the action for dust control. Good luck, Neil!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1475 days

#13 posted 888 days ago

This is the kind of cut that is so quick and easy to do with a track saw, take it off, cut it, put it back up.
If you haven’t got a track saw, I would make a zero clearance guide for your circular saw and do it with that. Make scoring cuts first, then follow up full depth, clean up with block plane. To avoid break out, make the first cut right front to back, 2nd – left to right along the front, 3rd back to left front.

View rhett's profile


693 posts in 2173 days

#14 posted 888 days ago

Take a handsaw with a very thin blade, or hacksaw if you suspect metal fasteners, and cut the bottom rail where it meets the side stiles. Pop off the rail and reinstall at the proper height. No finishing, cutting or running a router above your head sideways.


View StumpyNubs's profile


5981 posts in 1306 days

#15 posted 888 days ago

Why take it down? They make tools for trimming cabinets…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase