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Old 10-25-2011, 03:40 PM   #1
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


The question:
How hard is it to modify 42" wall cabinets so they are 36-40" high?

The background:
So, We (we meaning me and the wife, no contractor) are more than halfway through a kitchen remodel. We did everything ourselves from the demo of two walls, electric, plumbing, mechanical, drywall, paint, ...everything. Tile is going in this week-before the cabinets. Our space is about 11'x17' and the design has cabinets going down the two parallel long walls (galley style) and is open on both ends.

We removed the soffits above the old (circa 1965) cabinets and are planning to assemble and install new RTA cabinets. With the flooring and ceiling done we have about 94.5" of ceiling height. We are (were) planning to use a 96" pantry and 42" wall cabinets but we now know that we are an inch or two short.

So, we were planning to order the RTA cabinets via mail bc they are way cheaper (half) than getting them from a local shop. My local shop can get me 36" cabinets (at a cost) but the RTA store can only get 30" or 42". The 36" cabinets and trimming the toe kick of the pantry solve most of our problems-at a cost. The (frugal) wife has suggested that we just get 42" cabinets from the mail order store (saving us over $1000) and "modify them ourselves".

I'm a DIYer but not a cabinet maker. I build cars, computers, and (more recently) walls. If I can find a video and/or get a few tips and acquire the proper tools (reasonably) I'm willing to do it. I have a table saw.

Any advice?

thanks!

Jimmy

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Old 10-25-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


You look at the cabinet ends where they are joined and ask yourself, " If
I cut this off can I machine the connection on the cut end so I can assemble the cabinet"?
If you can't, find another solution.
Is it hard? It depends on your skill set and the tools you have.

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Old 10-26-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


I would be concerned more about the door/drawer sizes and placement. Trimming the box is easy, but the doors/drawers may not look right once you do that.
Some RTA places offer the option to customize (extra charge) the cabinet size. Maybe contact your outfit and ask if they can??
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed G View Post
I would be concerned more about the door/drawer sizes and placement. Trimming the box is easy, but the doors/drawers may not look right once you do that.
Some RTA places offer the option to customize (extra charge) the cabinet size. Maybe contact your outfit and ask if they can??
It all depends if the drawers are assembled or not. But if it comes in a box, in parts, you modify the drawer parts like the carcasse parts.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
It all depends if the drawers are assembled or not. But if it comes in a box, in parts, you modify the drawer parts like the carcasse parts.
Drawer boxes shouldn't be much harder than the carcasses. I was referring more to the drawer fronts and doors- matching an edge profile on a drawer front may be tricky and reconstructing a raised-panel door might be more trouble than the OP wants for the savings.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:06 PM   #6
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed G View Post
Drawer boxes shouldn't be much harder than the carcasses. I was referring more to the drawer fronts and doors- matching an edge profile on a drawer front may be tricky and reconstructing a raised-panel door might be more trouble than the OP wants for the savings.
Got my kitchen threads mixed up.
You're not adjusting the height of a cabinet door. Hope you have a plan "B".
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


Yeah, copy that. I'd be shortening the box and trying to find smaller doors. I'm assuming cutting down the doors is a NO-GO.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


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Yeah, copy that. I'd be shortening the box and trying to find smaller doors. I'm assuming cutting down the doors is a NO-GO.
Unlikely in most situations. A slab door, maybe, depends on how it was made.
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:22 PM   #9
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Unlikely in most situations. A slab door, maybe, depends on how it was made.
And whether it is going to come pre-fitted and routed out for all the hardware. You sure about cabinet makers? I know I live in a big city and competition is fierce but right now the difference between custom built and trying to rube-goldberg at least high-end RTA's is not worth arguing about. And with custom builts you will get exactly what you want with adjustments for any quirks here and there. You might make a few more calls?
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #10
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


Go with the 36" with crown molding to ceiling ( 2 piece ).. Cutting doors is extremely hard for the novice. And cutting the toekick down of only the pantry will look terrible because the bottom faceframe of all the base cabinets will not line up.. You could probably get away with cutting the pantry toekick if the pantry was next to your fridge only.. I still wouldnt do it. Most RTA are made in China, and are cheaply made with horrible finishes and glides/hinges.. No matter what sales people tell you.. Spend the extra money now for an american made cabinet, see if anyone in your area is selling the Wolf Classic Cabinets- Great Value, and will compete with the China junk.

with your lower ceiling height and 42" tall cabinets, it will only leave a 16" backsplash area, when it should be 18".. Sometimes this is against code.. check it out.. Also if you go with the 42" high make sure you do the math for your fridge cabinet vs height of the fridge and if your placing an OTR microwave, double check, as you dont want it hanging down to far..
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:27 PM   #11
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


we ordered our cabinets from this place and were very pleased with the cabinets. they do carry 36 inch tall cabinets. they have a 25% off sale now on certain cabinets. we saved over half of what lowes wanted for all wood cabinets.
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:24 AM   #12
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


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we ordered our cabinets from this place and were very pleased with the cabinets. they do carry 36 inch tall cabinets. they have a 25% off sale now on certain cabinets. we saved over half of what lowes wanted for all wood cabinets.
Which RTA supplier are you talking about? I'm shopping RTA cabs for an office (maybe kitchen in future) and need some recommendations.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:23 AM   #13
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


sorry, i forgot to include the link

http://www.cabinetsdirectrta.com/
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


Thanks for all the feedback guys. The one we've chosen is called Marquis Cinnamon and it's made by Keystone Cabinets in PA. Real wood.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:42 PM   #15
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How Hard is it to Modify RTA Cabinets?


I browsed the keystone website and nowhere does it say that their cabinets are made in the usa. Their cabinets are also about 3 times the price of the rta site but its your money.

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