Asked on Sep 10, 2014

How do I cut a shelf in a hutch?

Kristi Wiseman
by Kristi Wiseman
I have an old hutch made of compressed wood that I want to make into an entertainment hutch to hold my flat screen tv. I need to cut into one of the shelves so the tv will fit. I cut a hole in the back for wires and it was unbelievably hard with my power multi purpose tool. Any suggestions on how to cut this material without scratching it up and making it look awful? I'd remove the shelf altogether but I can't figure out how they are attached. Don't see screws or anything.
  7 answers
  • Hannah V Hannah V on Sep 10, 2014
    @. and @Brian Campbell, Basswood Artisan Carpentry should be able to help with this!
  • Z Z on Sep 10, 2014
    @Kristi Wiseman if you can, please take photos of the underside of the shelves. They could very well be held in place by wooden dowels placed in as the piece was put together. There's a possibility you could get a thin saw blade between the shelf and the side to saw through the dowels, but you'd risk damaging the inside of the side pieces. Another possibility is the shelves are held in place using a cam lock system. That would be the easiest to remove the whole shelf as all you need is a Philips head screw driver. This is the best picture I can find of that system.
  • Anna @Annabode Anna @Annabode on Sep 11, 2014
    Maybe use a jigsaw?
  • The issue with any particle board shelf is it cuts horribly with the wrong tool as it tends to chip and break away easily. Depending on how much of the shelf it is you need to remove, you could rent a router that is used for counter tops and using a straight bit simply run it round as close as you can on the three sides of the cabinet. It will leave about a 2 or 3 inch board sticking out depending upon the size of the router. Another tool you can use that works exactly like a router is called a Roto-Zip spiral saw there are special bits that can be used to cut the shelf and it can be used for all sorts of cutting work.
  • Kristi Wiseman Kristi Wiseman on Sep 12, 2014
    Thank you so much. I cut a hole in the back of the piece for the cable wires and that is exactly what happened.....chipping and splintering. I'm going to look into renting a router. Think I can do that at Home Depot?
  • Yes you should be able to, You want a laminate trim router, not the bigger ones that you would normally use. There much smaller in size.
    • Kristi Wiseman Kristi Wiseman on Sep 16, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental So I went to rent the router and the man there suggested that I try using a jig saw instead and so I bought one and it cut it so easily and smoothly. Now I have sanding and painting and some trimming to do. Wanted to say thanks for your help though.
  • Was thinking about that, but they can be quite large and difficult to get into small areas/ But glad worked out!