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I need to take down the over the range bridge cabinet and reinstall it but I can't figure out how these cabinets are mounted to the wall. Standard KraftMaid face frame cabinets from the mid to late 80's era. Contractor that installed them worked alone and wasn't that great from what I am told.

There are no screws to be seen inside the cabinet other than some joining the cabinets together on the side of the face frames. There are no such screws for this particular cabinet group though. No screws in the backs of the cabinets attaching them to the wall studs. No screws in the tops of the cabinets attaching them to the soffit above. No screws in the back lip underneath the cabinet either.

There's a 3/4" laminate coated MDF board as a backsplash the cabinets are resting on but obviously that's not enough to hold them in place for decades.

Looking at the cabinet from the side, it is up against the wall. There is a drywall soffit above the cabinets that the installer added.

If I pull from the bottom of the cabinet forward it doesn't tilt up or move at all. Same if I try to push up from the bottom. Standard 2x framing and drywall behind the cabinets.

Only thing I can think is he used a french cleat or some other cleat (he was working alone) but it seems very secure given there are no visible screws. Removing the soffit is not ideal. Any advice on how these cabinets might be attached and how they can be removed?

I am not opposed to trying to take the cabinet apart if ti can be put back together as I have some woodworking skills. Never taken one of these apart and some guidance would be helpful.

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    Could you explain why you need to remove the cabinet? Since you say it has to be reassembled it creates a different scenario than if permanently removing the cabinet.
    – Michael Karas
    May 31 '20 at 7:28
  • Can you tell, by looking from the underside of the cabinet, if (a) the back panel of the cabinet looks to be tight to the drywall and (b) if it appears that the drywall actually goes up behind the cabinet or if it was butted right up against the cabinet?
    – Michael Karas
    May 31 '20 at 7:32
  • @MichaelKaras Range hood will be replaced with otr microwave. Cabinet needs to go to cabinet maker to be be cut down a few inches. I'll look at the underside when I go back will try to bring a scope just in case. May 31 '20 at 11:41
  • I added an answer that described how I approached the same task 12 years ago. I suspect that if your cabinets are made of real hardwood or plywood you may be able to do something similar if you are handy with wood working tools and have patience. If your cabinet boxes are made of particle board this could be a much messier job.
    – Michael Karas
    May 31 '20 at 11:53
  • @michaelkaras doors will either be replaced or sent to cabinet maker. Can you please post more details about how you too apart cut and refused cabinet as an answer please? May 31 '20 at 12:09
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Why would you think a French Cleat would not be secure? That's what I would think he did, and then by adding the soffit above, you can't push the cabinets up any longer, so you can't release them from the cleat. The cleat may be attached to the back brace or top of the cabinet, so no visible screws from the inside. enter image description here

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  • There usually is some play I thought, especially after so many years. At least some side to side movement most people don't cut the cleats to full width. If it is how you describe, how can I remove that small cabinet between the two other cabinets without removing the soffit? That was my question. May 31 '20 at 3:28
  • You ight not be able to...
    – JRaef
    Jun 1 '20 at 0:23
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I installed a microwave in my kitchen in place of a range hood much the same as you describe in the comments. The cabinet bottom needed to be raised and the doors made smaller. When I did this I just left the cabinet in place, removed the doors and built a new bottom for the cabinet in place.

At first step I very carefully cut the face frame verticals to the new location. This allowed me to take out the lower section of the frame including the lower rail to my shop where I was able to save that lower rail completely. In my case that lower rail was fitted between the lower ends of the side rails of the face frame. Since the original frame had been glued I had to saw away the remaining ends of the side rails just up to the glue joint so the saved lower rail stayed exactly its same length.

The lower rail was then re-installed using long truss head screws coming through the side rail from the adjacent cabinet opening into pilot holes in the ends of that lower rail. Those screws, as I recall, were something like 4" long and had drilled clearance holes all the way through side rails.

New floors for the cabinets were new fitted pieces of plywood. The plywood was screwed onto corner blocks that were just lengths of 3/4" x 3/4" hardwood that were themselves screwed to the inside back of the lower rail and to the sides of the adjacent cabinets. I'm sure that there are some details of that work that have long since faded from memory but I do recall having to deal with the large diameter vent pipe that went up through the center of that cabinet and the sheet metal manipulation that was involved.

Interestingly the too large doors sat around in my garage for a year and a half before I got around to resizing them. That was an interesting effort that took a lot of work because the door panels are 3/4" hardwood that had fancy routed curves around them to thin down to 1/4" that fitted into a slot in the frame of the door. Redoing the door panel took multiple passes along just one edge on my router table to come up with an approximation of the original curves. As I recall I had to purchase several router bits to achieve this.

I was lucky that the door frame was made in such a way that it was possible to shorten the side rails and then carefully remove the lower rail. It was able to slide up into the milled slots in the side rails to be re-glued in place after the redone door panel was slid in place. The lower ends of the side rails on the door needed new round over edged routed on them which was once again done on my router table. I was able to use a tinted poly finish to blend in the new raw wood area with the original finish on the rest of the door. It was not necessary to strip all the old finish off the doors.

That was 12 years ago and to this day it looks like the original cabinets except seeing those truss head screws in the cabinets on either side.

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  • Can you provide more details on how you made straight cuts and what time you used. This sounds like a very good solution but I can't think how I can get straight accurate cuts and I don't want to baggage the cabinets on either side. May 31 '20 at 22:51
  • Sorry was typing on my phone. What tools you used. How not to damage cabinets on side Jun 1 '20 at 14:20

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