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I tried to replace an over the range microwave today. My kitchen has a cabinet over the microwave and a tile backsplash behind the range. Thus, I have a 16 1/4” vertical space for the new microwave. Unfortunately my new microwave is 16 3/8” tall. The mounting bracket is already installed flush with the top of the tile. The wall is brick, so I really don’t want to have to move the bracket.

Is there a relatively easy way to trim 1/8 inch off of the cabinet? The front face is oak and I’m good with both a plane and a chisel, so that’s easy. It’s the plywood sides and back I’m worried about.

  • Can you slide a thin plywood spacer in behind the rear bracket, and slide the microwave forward just enough to clear the tile? Might be easier and cleaner than cutting the cabinet. – Mark Mar 1 '18 at 1:32
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With my interpretation of your circumstances, I feel the tool for this task would be an oscillating multi-tool, found just about everywhere.

multi-tool

The attached blade in the photo may be the one you'd use, although the semi-circular one would give you a smoother entry. They cut relatively slowly allowing for precise control. You'd be able to build a shim under the cabinet to keep the blade in the desired position vertically as you run it over the areas to be cut.

Depending on the clearance you have, you should be able to get all the way to the corners (the blade can be mounted in various angles) or have to take the chisel to break the hold-outs clear.

  • Thanks. As it happens, I already own the exact one you pictured. I've only used it for cutting holes in drywall though. I had initially dismissed it as an option as I figured it would splinter the plywood that close to the edge. It's honestly the best idea I've seen so far though, so I may go with it. – Elros Mar 1 '18 at 1:02
  • If you use this tool you should use a straight edge clamped on to guide the blade for a straight cut. Make a score cut with utility knife first to guide the saw blade. Run the blade along and up against the straight edge at an angle so that the corner of the blade is is making the cut and only cut a very shallow cut on the the first pass. Then go with successively deeper cuts until you get it all. Use a new blade. The cut on the front is the only one you will see so the sides need not be precise. (assuming you have side cabinets.) The other option it to take the cab off, use a skill saw. – Alaska Man Mar 1 '18 at 5:55
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    I used it this morning. I probably rushed more than I should have and so didn't end up with a very clean result, but it's all hidden behind the microwave. Thanks again. – Elros Mar 1 '18 at 14:04

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