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Kitchen Cupboard Resizing

I recently had the pleasure of taking on an interesting cabinet resizing job that I would like to share with you today.

The owner of this cabinet needed to replace her refrigerator, but had the poor fortune of not being able to locate a refrigerator that fit the space provided in her kitchen. The only way to make a new refrigerator fit was to either toss out the cupboard located above it, or cut 12” off of it.

Fortunately for me, she chose to resize the cupboard!

To begin with, I had to carefully disassemble the cabinet. This was essential due to the fact that all 4 sides had to be cut individually.

From there I placed each side of the cabinet on sawhorses and secured it with soft jaw clamps.

After drawing my cut line I placed a spare board on top of my cabinet board and secured it to the cabinet board with smaller clamps to act as a guide for the circular saw. Ideally I would have used a table saw to cut the required 12” off each side of the cabinet, however it was located at another job of mine and thus unavailable.

*Note: Cutting laminate requires a special circular saw blade available at your local Lowes or Home Depot.

The next step involved cutting a new blind pocket in the cabinet door for the hinge hardware to fit in. The best tool for this job would be a hand router. I do not own a router, so I improvised. As you can see in the picture below I set the depth lock on my drill press to 1/2” and utilized an old end mill I had in one of my Tool & Die toolboxes. I then plunged a series of holes into the cabinet with the end mill until I had a pocket that matched the hinge hardware.

Assembling the cupboard after all boards where properly cut down required a few finishing nails. These were a necessary evil in order to maintain the strength of the cabinet.

Pre-manufactured furniture is not designed to be taken apart. The manufacturers typically utilize wooden dowel pins and wood glue to joint the particle boards together. Once you disassemble these joints, chances are good that the dowel pins are ruined, lodged into one half of the cabinet board, or splintered off completely. Therefore I had to drill pilot holes and drive 2 1/2” finishing nails in the joints to keep them together.

After re-installing the hardware, I used a fresh utility knife to slice the laminate end pieces off of the 12” section that had been removed. I then glued the 1/2” laminate stripping to my newly cut surfaces. At first I tried to glue the laminate strips to the end boards with wood glue. The wood glue however had no effect on the laminate stripping. Therefore I switched to super glue. This worked great. If you are unsuccessful in cutting the old laminate off of the cabinets, you can always purchase new laminate and use a household iron to apply it to your new surface.

Hanging the new cupboard was a bit difficult I’ll admit. Just a word of advice for everyone like me out there that thinks they can do everything themselves, get a helper when hanging kitchen cupboards.

If you have an odd project that requires handy enginuity like this one, please give me a call! I always enjoy a good home improvement challenge!

K&A Handyman Services


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