I would like to change this china cabinet into a built in bookcase. It is currently 16" deep, but I want it only 12" deep. Is it possible to cut the entire back off, and would it need to be put back on before it is attached to the wall? http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/fuo/5638057861.html

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2 Answers 2


The back of the cabinet plays a large role keeping the unit square. My suggestion is to forget about trying to re-work that cabinet. There a bunch of concerns:

  1. Cutting off the back 4 to 5 inches would remove the rear shelf support brackets.
  2. The internal shelves are glass and would need to be cut or replaced with other materials.
  3. There would still need to be a back to provide for the structural integrity of the unit.
  4. You would still have to add a means to attach the thing to the wall.

In the end the amount of messing around with it highly likely outweighs any benefit of trying to use this cabinet for another purpose. Instead invest in something that is already a wall mount shelf unit.

  • Thank you so much for your thoughts. I can now see where the whole project would have turned into a mess and I would have been mad at my self.
    – Lisa M
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 15:57

I think the cabinet would make a great built-in bookcase without any real modifications. Just remove the glass doors if you want unhindered access or visibility to your books. Since books are heavy, though, if you intend to fill the shelves with books, you might want to replace the glass shelves with ¾"-thick plywood shelves.

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