I am considering adding full-length pull-out shelves in some of my kitchen cabinets, and this will require cutting out the center stile. I've seen advice elsewhere online about shoring up the top rail with a full-length strip of half-inch plywood on the inside, to distribute any central loading to the end stiles... but I have not found any advice on how to competently cut the center stile so that
(a) the cuts are flush to the top and bottom rails
(b) but without marring the top and bottom rails.
About the only idea I have is to make my cuts a little proud from the rails, and then sand down to flush. I guess this is OK as long as my rails aren't veneered... I don't think they are, but i'm not positive. Can anyone recommend a technique, or else a tool that is perfect for this task?

  • Show some pictures. It would help to understand
    – Nathan
    May 29, 2014 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


Definitely cut the stile so as to leave a bit of wood behind on the cabinet. Then using a sharp blade and a straight edge, score the veneer. Many shallow passes are better than few deep ones. If you can cut all the way through, you can probably remove the veneer before you attempt to sand down the stub.

And if you are careful to not muck up the stile too much then you can attach it to one of the cabinet doors.

  • I do intend to attach the stile to one of the doors. And as I said in the question, I am not certain the stile / rails are veneered. (The doors certainly are not.) But I guess your scoring advice still applies; better safe than sorry. But, what is best to use for making the cut? Circular saw? Flush-cut hand-saw? Something else? May 29, 2014 at 2:03
  • (I ask the above, in the interest of keeping the ends of the stile looking square and pretty.) May 29, 2014 at 2:07
  • Personally, I would use a hand saw of some kind that cuts on the push stroke. A pull-stroke saw would be more likely to chip any veneer. Also, I would probably score before I do the cuts. That way if you do chip the veneer while cutting off the stile then it will stop at the score.
    – longneck
    May 29, 2014 at 2:23

I needed to do this with my cabinets that I built 25 years ago. I used a dovetail saw, cutting about 1/16th off the rail and carefully pared the slight piece of leftover stock with an incredibly sharp chisel, flat side to the remaining rail. This acted like a plane that would not allow the chisel to cut no more than what is above the rail.

Face frames are usually solid stock.

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