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Hacking IKEA cabinets

Posted by bicyclegirl (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 22:55

I'm getting ready to order my IKEA cabinet boxes & plan on cutting 2 of them down. No drawers involved w/ these 2. I'm just doing the one over the fridge & the sink cabinet. I'm a little nervous about this, so I'm wondering if anyone that has done this before, has any suggestions to make this go smoothly? I'd really hate to ruin a cabinet or 2 trying to figure this out! I have a friend that is helping with this & I trust his expertise, but I don't believe he's worked w/ anything laminate before. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to hear them. Any special tools we should get? I'm assuming they can be cut any way...length, width?

Thank you for your help. I'm ready to get this part over!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

There are TONS of Ikea cabinet hacking ideas and pics on ikeafans.com

I myself have hacked several Ikea cabinets. I added a third-party tilt-down tray to their sink cabinet since Ikea doesn't offer one. I chopped and reshaped them as needed, and used various parts in ways other than their intended use.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Very cool lee. I did post over at ikeafans, but I have a hard time finding information on that site. I searched modifications, but was only able to find one answer & it was more of a cheerleader post for the original poster than giving information!! If you can guide me how to get the information & pictures over there, I'd appreciate it very much.

Did you find it hard to cut the cabinets? What tools did you use? I want to make sure we have everything we need before jumping over the cliff!

Thank you for your time.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Which way do you want to. Cut them down? Depth, width, height?

If width or height - The doors aren't going to lok good if cut. Are you going for custom doors?

If depth, it's pretty easy, there are some tips here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Reducing depth

This post was edited by robotropolis on Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 9:12


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

bicyclegirl:

Cutting the cabinets down and remaking the holes for the assembly cams is the easy part; I've done it.

As mentioned, your problem is going to be with the doors afterward. The door resolution will depend on which style you pick, your level of fussiness, and the thickness of your wallet.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

I used a standard circular saw to cut down some of mine. I tried a jigsaw first but it's very hard to get a straight cut with those (even if you clamp a guide to your cabinet panel first) and the "clean cut" blade or laminate blade or whatever I used wasn't very clean at all. But the blade that came with the circular saw made a super clean cut on the underside and only minimal chipping on the top side. A straight, square cut is also easier with a circular saw just because the big flat blade surface makes keeps it truer to the line once you get in a ways, at least.

You should look on Youtube for how-tos on cutting with a circular saw. You should clamp what's called a "fence" to your work first---just a long straightedge set back the width of the plate on the bottom of the saw. Then you can just zip along that and not worry about keeping the blade on the cutting line. Do practice, though.

(and get some ear plugs. And a dust mask.)


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

You can totally do this. No fancy tools required.

I've modified 3 cabs so far without power cutting tools.

1) Cut notches on both sides of a sink cab to fit 33" sink into a 30" cab. Vertical cuts with a handsaw (once you get it started, the cut stays straight.) Horizontal cuts made by making a line of perforations with a drill bit, then a keyhole saw to start connecting the dots; finished the cut with a handsaw. This cut will be hidden, so I didn't worry about making it too pretty.

2) Cut down the depth of a 12.75" deep cabinet to a little more than 12". Quick work, again with a smaller handsaw once the cabinet was assembled. Used a wood scraper tool to pretty up the edges.

3) Cut down a cabinet side by 6" to create an 18" drawer stack + cookie sheet cab within a 24" cabinet. Measure a few times, mark the line and cut with a handsaw. A longer cut, so a bit tedious, but not horrible, and I don't have much arm muscle to speak of.

Remember that you are cutting particle board like stuff, and every cut through the lamination is opening up an area where water could soak in and mess with the cabinet. I'm going to need some fix for the rough edges before install.

Also, once you start modifying, you have to start thinking more about checking for square, and whether you have damaged the integrity of the cabinet -- the same kinds of things required to build your own cabinets. You may start wanting to do that next...

fwiw, i've also found the ikea fan sites a little tricky to search and scarce on details on the specific mods I was trying to do.

Have not tried modifying doors yet.

Other advice: buy an extra cabinet frame (relatively cheap) and play around with it.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

> Remember that you are cutting particle board like stuff, and every cut through the lamination is opening up an area where water could soak in and mess with the cabinet. I'm going to need some fix for the rough edges before install.

I use a thin bead of clear caulk on some cut lines. Where a cut exposes a long stretch of particle board, you can get edge tape to cover it up (in white, and some other colors anyway).

Experiment with doors and cabinets from the "as is" sale area at Ikea.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

You guys are awesome! I'm sorry I didn't mention that I'm getting custom doors, so I'm good there. And, I'm just cutting width on some, so hopefully that will help to make this easy. I'm considering an upper that I want to put in a corner from one wall over to the other wall, which will take a little more creativity. We figured we'd tackle the hopefully simple cabinets 1st, then go from there.

Tre, when you say "remaking the holes for the assembly cams", are you talking about the holes where you install the cabinet sides together? I'm not sure I'm saying it right...screwing them together, how's that?!! I don't even know what anythings called...except a cabinet! But, my friend has built some great pieces of furniture & a very happening dog house, so I'm sure he knows what everything is. Anyway, is it pretty obvious for someone w/ building knowledge to know how to do the holes for the cams? Any suggestions?

lee, I want the tilt down tray on the sink cab, as well. And, love the suggestion of the bead of clear caulk on the cut line. Especially the sink cab! Thanks.

Thanks for link robo...excellent info.

You go Mousun! You sound very creative & very handy! Are you saying you used a hand saw, as in one that you hold your hand & go back & forth w/out electricity?!! Impressive! I can hardly cut a small hackberry tree w/ a hand saw! Thanks for all of your great advice. I like the idea of buying an extra frame & practice w/ it. Lee said there's an "as is" sale area, so I'll ck that out.

You guys way out did ikeafans on responses! Thank you & if you come up w/ anything else, please don't hesitate to come back to let me know! I have a couple of weeks!! :)


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Yes, a hand saw is a saw that is powered by your hand (and your arm).

If you tried to cut down a small tree with a carpentry saw, you would definitely have a hard time. Green wood (like, not dead) has to be cut with a tree saw, which has way bigger teeth than a saw for dry lumber. Wet wood fibers clog up little saw teeth.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Here's a tilt-out tray I added to an Ikea Adel sink cabinet. But first let's note the sink I used - a common-sized 25x22" sink, but this one has the faucet ledge only on the rightmost two-thirds of the sink, allowing the left third of the sink interior (and the drain) to be pushed back for extra space.

The obvious advantage of this shape is that you can put large plates or cookware in the sink without the drain getting covered. The less obvious advantage is that the disposer and related plumbing also moves with the drain to the rear left corner of the cabinet underneath, leaving unhindered space in most of the sink cabinet without the usual intrusions of the disposer, drain plumbing, or instant-hot tank. It's a 24"w cabinet with two 12"w doors and a 6"h full-width panel above them. I used a Rev-A-Shelf kit (this one with a single plastic tray shown holding the drain cover; on a more recent install I used a wider tray since the one here doesn't take advantage of the full width).

I like to place the tray itself (plastic or metal both available) as low as possible without infringing on the crossbeam below so the trays can hold larger sponges and items. I also put a thin bead of clear caulk between the inner cabinet floor and walls so if any plumbing (or contents) leaked, it couldn't spill through the crack.

This BTW is one of my trademark DIY cheapo kitchen remodels. What looks like a granite countertop is a stock laminate top from HD with rolled edges, so you don't see telltale black seams. The "tile" backsplash is actually a single $18 4x8 foot piece of panelboard cut into three pieces and used on two walls of the kitchen. Flooring isn't marble, stone, or ceramic, but very convincing 99-cent vinyl stick-on tiles.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Thanks Spanky, as you can tell, I don't know much about working w/ wood! I'm pretty handy w/ some things, but doing this kind of job is beyond my knowledge!!

Great job lee! Impressive. It looks very nice.

I was told on ikeafans that their cabinets can't be cut down width wise because it weakens the cabinet! Well, that's not good for me since that's what I want to do. Any feedback on that?


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

"Tre, when you say "remaking the holes for the assembly cams", are you talking about the holes where you install the cabinet sides together?"

Yes.

"I'm not sure I'm saying it right...screwing them together, how's that?!!"

Correct.

"Anyway, is it pretty obvious for someone w/ building knowledge to know how to do the holes for the cams?"

Yes.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Did anyone explain why it weakens the cabinet to make it narrower? If you drill new holes such that all the fasteners work the same way as intended, then what's the difference?


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

My contractor buddy always cuts laminate with a circular saw after first drawing his cut line on 3M blue painters tape. He says this will keep the laminate from splintering. I don't know if that helps you or not. But that is how I have often seen him do it, and when he peels up the blue tape, both sides of the cut always look clean.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

On cutting down width: I think the caveat is that IF you get the original fasteners back in, you are fine. If you just cut it down and say, use some finish nails to hammer it together, yeah that wouldn't be so good. One other thing is that the cabinets are less wobbly with the backing piece you nail on, so be sure to cut that down and use it.

And if it helps, it was only about a year ago that I was the person trying to cut down a small tree in front of our new house with some random sharp looking thing. Of course what I picked happened to be a mini HACKSAW. Oof. (I now know hacksaws are for metal...)


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Second (third?)BLUE TAPE,circular saw with a sharp blade.
You can buy/ put edge banding on the cut edges if needed.
Use your judgement as to whether the cams etc need to be duplicated. I have a small 15 x 15 upper cabinet (cut down from a 30 inch tall cabinet) sandwiched between two other uppers and we did not bother with duplicating the cams and holes on the top. Not sure what my contractor did but it looks normal from all visible angles including the inside of the cabinet, and it is very solid, not moving or going anywhere.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Certainly there are ways to remake a cabinet strong and sturdy without using the original fasteners! I think they come with those because they' are a foolproof and easy way for neophytes to assemble a cabinet successfully. (But not nailing it, no.)

(Oh, and yes, I too learned by experience that a carpenter's saw doesn't work for tree trimming. I still remember how magical the tree saw seemed when I first used it.)


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

If your not using the cam screw thingys, use "confirmat" screws.

If you have a table saw, when cutting melamine, make your first cut like a 1/16" deep then flip the board over and do the full cut. That way, there is no chipout.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

You guys are soooo awesome!

Tre...thanks for your advice & understanding my language! I have a feeling you're a really patient guy!

spanky, no reason as to why cutting width weakens the integrity of the cabinet. But, after hearing all this great advice, including yours, I'm feeling much better now & am still going forward w/ it! You'll be the 1st to know if I find out why in my experience, tho!

MizLizzie & scrappy, I am on w/ the blue tape! I've actually heard about that. My friend that's helping me brought that up last weekend. tbo, I like your idea of making the 1st cut not very deep & then flipping the board over to finish off. Great ideas!

mouson & spanky, thank you for admitting you didn't know what to cut a little tree down w/ either! I can just picture both scenarios...thanks for the laughs! I'm not sure I'd know a hacksaw from a carpenter saw if they were both in front of me! If it has teeth & saws back & forth, it doesn't work on everything? I actually thought it was me & not the saw up until now! :)

You guys are great. I'm feeling much more at ease now & can't wait to show my friend all of this great advice!


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Cabinet grade cuts must be made with a circular saw with a fence or rail or a table saw. Get the right blade to avoid chip-out.


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Is there a certain type of blade, Tre?


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

bicyclegirl:

Here you go:

Here is a link that might be useful: Amana


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RE: Hacking IKEA cabinets

Thanks again Tre!


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