cabinet upgrade help

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Forum topic by proto posted 03-30-2015 02:25 AM 1050 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View proto's profile


3 posts in 1179 days

03-30-2015 02:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinet remove question

Greetings. I recently embarked on a cabinet upgrade project and I’m looking for help. I purchased a home this past November and have been working to replace the existing cabinet fronts/hardware with something a bit more modern. I performed a proof-of-concept about a month back with a single base cabinet and confirmed I could pull it off. Now the project is in full swing. Today I hit my first major road block.

I’m working with a base cabinet that previously had a slide-out mechanism for a trash bin. Trouble is, that old slide-out mechanism was fastened to wood boards that are attached to the side of the cabinet. These boards are stapled, nailed, and glued to the cabinet sides. I can’t make the new drawers work with these boards in place, as they occupy required space in the cabinet frame. I’ve tried drilling around the staples/nails and prying the boards loose, but it’s not going well. This picture reflects where I’m at.

Had to take a step away and recharge tonight. Any suggestions for what I might try next? Am I SOL? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks much!

9 replies so far

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1929 days

#1 posted 03-30-2015 02:41 AM

Is that drywall? White dust makes it look like that’s what it might be. If it’s glued (among other fastening methods) then it might be more trouble than it’s worth. Can you build around it/install some sort of false cabinet side that would hide it, then use a wide face frame?
Alternatively, it looks like you’re working with the side of the cabinet that’s the end of the row (there’s no cabinet next to it). Could you simply remove the left side, and remake it? Not sure how hard that would be in your situation.
Best of luck and welcome to the site!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1067 posts in 2874 days

#2 posted 03-30-2015 10:55 AM

Have you tried a good size flat bar & mallet? If it’s glued the fastners you see aren’t what’s really holding it in, some times a heat gun can help to soften some glues too!!??? And if a bigger hammer won’t do it,

??? Maybe,,, vertical circ saw cuts front to 1/8 to 1/4 apart and then knock it out with a hammer…. it’d just be one BIG dado

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View rwe2156's profile


2964 posts in 1506 days

#3 posted 03-30-2015 11:14 AM

A couple thoughts:

How about several cuts to loosen the material using a router or dremel with a 1/8 straight bit (avoid metal of course)?

Anyway to add new wood to bring the sides out to width matching board? Once you have the drawer and door installed you could make one side of drawer front a bit wider.

The best option might me remove and replace. It looks like this is an end panel. Since you’re replacing the doors remove the whole end of the cabinet and replace the panel. This way it will match the doors.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View mudflap4869's profile


1755 posts in 1484 days

#4 posted 03-30-2015 03:26 PM

If that is drywall as it appears, just chip it off and use 40 grit to sand back to the wood.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View proto's profile


3 posts in 1179 days

#5 posted 03-30-2015 07:24 PM

Thank you for the prompt replies. Looks like I left out some valuable information in my original post.

There is no drywall involved here, that’s just the white dust from me drilling holes around the staples and nails. The boards are some sort of MFC/MDF material.

The boards are attached to both the left and right side of the cabinet. I might have an option of cutting out the outside wall of the cabinetry, as Mr. Fid suggested. However, for the inside wall – the one that leads to other cabinets – it’s not that easy.

Part of the issue is that the existing cabinets I have sit 1” higher off the ground than the cabinet family I’m now working with (the new fronts/hardware I’ve purchased). So rolling in an entirely new cabinet, complete with the frame, is tricky. I’d need to match heights some how if I’m replacing frames. Plus, countertops come into play at that point too, and that’s not an area I’m experienced in.


View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3000 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 08:15 PM

Could you use one of the multi tools between the attached board and cabinet side? You might have to do a little and then trim board away and do repeat.

View proto's profile


3 posts in 1179 days

#7 posted 04-06-2015 04:11 PM

I talked the situation over with a coworker recently. I had planned for two small drawers on top and a pull-out mechanism on the bottom for a trash bin. Given the situation, I decided to nix the drawers. The rail for the pull-out mechanism is on the bottom of the cabinet (where these boards don’t exist), and the trash bin itself is thin enough where it will fit well within the space between the wood boards. Small sacrifice to make to save myself a ton of effort.

Thank you all for the suggestions – I appreciate the assistance very much!

View buck_cpa's profile


150 posts in 1912 days

#8 posted 04-06-2015 04:26 PM

If you can’t get that piece off – you could build up a new wall. Just add a piece of plywood the height and depth of the cabinet. You could fasten your slides to that. Your cabinet width would be decreased, but you’d have a good surface to fasten to.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4843 posts in 2434 days

#9 posted 04-07-2015 12:21 AM

If it is MDF just chip away at it, this will take time so be persistent and patient. Once you get it thinned out you could heat the glue with a heat gun and peel it more, or just sand it down by hand or with power. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Hard projects with difficult problems make you better. Stay at it. I have been working on a cabinet making drawers, miter saw fence with cabinet storage behind the fence since November. As of today I have 12 more drawer fronts to finish making, six more to finish putting at least 3 more coats of poly. I might be done at the end of the month, or not, time will tell.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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