Best way to cut faceplate of oak cabinet

Hello!
I have a bit of a problem. I need to replace my 20 year old refrigerator with a larger, newer model which is 68inches tall (68.5 inches at the front door hinge). Unfortunately, the cabinets over the old refrigerator measures 67 and 3/4 inches!
The part of the cabinet which is too low is the solid front face piece. This is solid oak and is 3/4 inches thick and runs 39 inches long.
To get the newer, larger fridge to fit (I have not bought it yet) I would need to neatly, and precisely, remove stock by about 1/2 an inch for clearance.
I have an idea; I have a rotary cutter....I was going to remove the cabinent doors, then using some wood vice grips, position a 1 by 2 by 39inch piece of stock, then using this as a 1/2 inch depth guide use the rotory zip to remove 1/2 inch of the cabinent to make clearance.
Would this seem to be the "best" way to make a smooth, straight cut?
Any ideas would help!!!
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It could work. You probably need it longer than the 39 inches for proper alignment. I've never used a rotary tool but use a router frequently and it is the same idea. Just move slow, but smooth, let the cutter do the work. You can also use a jig saw but it may not be as smooth. As an alternative, you can use a jig saw and then smooth the edge with the router, rotary tool, or a hand plane.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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I too have a router...but the faceplate at the bottom of the cabinet is only about 2 inches tall and I think the router base plate might wobble a bit more than the smaller zip cutter. On the otherhand, there are more, smoother cutters for routers. I have seen in catalogs that they make router type bits for the zip cutters.....
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I would build a jig that would stabilize the router. Get a round over bit and your almost done.
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Unfortunately, the cabinents are flush mounted to the ceiling (it's a drop down ceiling with fluorescent lighting) and the cabinents are continuous with a shelving system so taking the cabs down would be a bit of a chore. I believe cutting the cab in place would be the best option....
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Can you temporarily fill in the openings where the doors cover? If you can build up a wider base, your router is by far the preferred tool.
The bit has a shaft of at least 1/4", so it won't tend to flex or break as much. The router motor has much more power than the ziptool. You can use a flush trimming bit against your guide piece - not available with the ziptool as I understand it.
Ed's suggestion of trimming with the jigsaw first, and 'cleaning up' with the router sounds pretty smart to me.
I think, though, that I would shop for a refrigerator that fit the space.
Patriarch
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I think the first thing I would do is see how the cabinet is fastened to the wall. If it is a single cabinet above the fridge, the easiest way may be to relocate the cabinet 1/2" higher. Sometimes the trim piece between the cabinet and the ceiling is just tacked in place with a couple of wire brads and there is a gap above the cabinet so if you relocate the cabinet a little higher you can re-nail the trim a little lower without much trouble.
If there is no space to move the cabinet up, it still might be easier to remove the cabinet and trim it off the wall. sometimes you can trim the top of the cabinet also and preserve the finish on the underside of the cabinet.
If you have to cut the cabinet in place, consider scribing a "cut to" line as step one. This will preserve your point of reference after you start cutting. When I cut mine I cut as close as I could with a hand saw and dressed to the line with a sander.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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I also read your second post so I realize you have to do this with the cabinet on the wall.
The rotozip will cut a nice clean line if you can keep it positioned against the guide you make. Don't try to do it all in one pass and have extra bits handy. I would suggest a minimum of the 3 passes at 1/4". Actually in oak you ought to consider 4 passes. If you can position your body so that the RZ is at the mid point of your body you will have more control and cut from left to right.
Is there no way to get a circular saw up there to do the bulk of cut and just use the RZ for the extreme edges? This would make it about 20 times faster and most likely deliver a straighter cut.
No matter how badly you butcher the cut you can always add a small piece of oak trim to the face of the cabinet at the bottom edge to clean and straighten the line.
Are you absolutely sure the new one can't be lowered? Some models have adjustable levelers at each wheel.
Enjoy your new Fridge.
Colbyt
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Good points....I just might wait until the 'fridge arrives and see if it can be adjusted a hair lower....Meanwhile I do have a heavy duty extension cord in case it doesn't fit so the food doesn't spoil....
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