enter image description hereI am adding a small pantry with door to the kitchen area and want to continue the hardwood floors from the kitchen area into the pantry. After removing the baseboard moldings I see that the last hardwood board against the wall was roughly ripped to fit. I want to cut out a portion of this board where the door opening will be, so that I can continue the flooring into the pantry. Can I cross-cut this board without having to remove the entire board first? There is not enough room to plunge cut with a circular saw - would it be better to just use a chisel?

Added drawing to show what I'm trying to do. The boards against the wall have been ripped down to only about 1" wide, so there's not much to cut...

  • 1
    A photo would be useful. If you're short on rep, upload to imgur.com and post a link. We'll inline it for you.
    – BMitch
    Aug 27, 2012 at 23:31
  • What kind of wood flooring? The thin glue-down strips or the solid 3/4" Either one can be chiseled out. May consider leaving it alone and using a flat transition strip made from the same flooring over the seam. I'd use something washable like vinyl on the pantry floor. Aug 28, 2012 at 1:19
  • Thanks for the reply. I added a drawing above to roughly show what is going on. The existing floor is 3/4" prefinished oak. Not sure if a transition strip would work because it would be outside the pantry and may look off - I will think about this some more though.
    – Andrew
    Aug 28, 2012 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


For close cutting, either horizontally or vertically in very close quarters, I recommend a multitool.


It has different blades for wood, metal, and can do some limited grinding and tight sanding. You do need clearance of at least the width of the blade plus about 1/4 inch.

If you do not have that much clearance, you may need a Dremel-type rotary cutting/grinding tool. It can cut or grind down to very small widths.


Failing that, or if you are hand tool inclined, you can use a chisel.

  • this is the perfect tool for close cuts and "stitching" hardwood floors. Good call. +1 Aug 28, 2012 at 9:48
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    This is the right answer for the question as asked, but what @Andrew wants to do is the wrong approach. Aug 28, 2012 at 14:42
  • Thanks! I was wondering about using a dremel, but hadn't considered a multi-tool.
    – Andrew
    Aug 28, 2012 at 17:41
  • what about a rotary zip saw? homedepot.com/Tools-Hardware-Power-Tools-Multi-Tools/h_d1/…
    – Andrew
    Aug 28, 2012 at 17:59
  • @Andrew - For a long cut (ripping e.g., along the length of a board to cut away a tongue) it would probably work fine. But the diameter of the blade appears to be 4 inches and would not be as good for a plunging cross cut. Additionally, because it is circular, there would be uncut arcs of wood at the bottom of each end of the cut. These could be cut out with a chisel. but the multitool is designed for such plunge cuts. Multitools also have a semicircular blade to mimic the rotary saw (not as fast or efficient, though, if you have a lot of ripping to do).
    – bib
    Aug 28, 2012 at 18:41

If I understand correctly, you're breaking down the wall for a door, and the hardwood runs parallel to the door opening. You want to continue the hardwood through the door, and into the pantry.

In this case, I would completely remove the board, and all boards that continue on from it on the tongue end. You can probably re-use one of these for your last board of the run.

Generally, it's really hard to butt cut ends of hardwood together and have it look nice. I'd rather just pull back the floor to a clean point, and continue on from there.

You'll want to cut a board to fit the door like this (Remove the red parts): (EDIT: I did it backwards. You want to lead with the tongue, not the groove. -- Tongue is on the wrong side of the picture.) enter image description here

This will slip into the door, leaving you a factory tongue to continue the flooring into the pantry.

If you can wait until next week, I should have a blog post up showing how to make these cuts.

  • OOPs. I did it backwards - I just did a laminate, where you lead with the groove. Hardwood leads with the tongue so you can nail through it. Aug 28, 2012 at 13:59
  • Thanks for the reply. You are close on what I'm trying to do. I added a drawing above. Taking out the ripped boards that are against the wall may be a big job because as you can see, the board on the left was not ripped all the way through and there are additional boards nailed in behind it. Thus, I would have to take those out as well, unless I cut out this board completely.
    – Andrew
    Aug 28, 2012 at 17:38
  • Well, the key bit of information here is that you don't actually have extra boards. This changes things immensely. I stand by my answer as the RIGHT way to do it, but it may not be possible in your situation given the lack of replacement wood. Aug 28, 2012 at 18:29

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