Enlarging a cabinet opening
I am replacing my wall ovens with larger ones. The opening in the cabinet needs to be about 1/4 in. wider and about 6 in. taller. The cabinet face has plenty of space for the new opening, but what is the best way to cut the cabinet without splintering its face?
Jordan Hyatt, via email, None
Andy Engel replies: The best way I know is to use a router with a pattern-routing bit. Pattern-routing bits are straight bits with a ball-bearing guide mounted above the cutter. The bearing and cutter are the same diameter, and when guided by a template, the bit reproduces the template’s shape exactly. Use a circular saw to plunge-cut a template the exact size of the required opening from 3/4-in. medium-density fiberboard. I’d clamp the template over the cabinet as shown in the drawing and make several passes with the router at increasing depth so that the motor isn’t strained. You’ll have to reposition the clamps to finish the cut. The corners will be radiused, and you’ll need to cut them square with a handsaw. The template will protect the cabinet front from being scratched by the router base. Be sure to check the cabinet for screws put in from the back before making the cut.