DIY Network

How to Finish and Reconfigure Cabinets

After customizing cabinets, it is necessary to sand and finish them before they are ready to be installed. Learn how to reconfigure and finish cabinets with these easy step-by-step instructions.

More in Remodeling

renovated kitchen meant redoing older cabinets
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Prepare for Cabinet Removal

To remove the section of upper cabinets, start by lining up the top with the edge of the lower cabinet, using a 6' level (Image 1).

The 2" stile is going to be moved over to reframe the new cabinet. Transfer the 2" mark and then use a speed square (Image 2) to draw the line.

Step 2: Cut the Cabinets

Cut through the top and bottom frames with a Japanese pull saw.

Make the vertical cut along the stile through the face frame.

Cut through the stile horizontally along the top.

Cut straight back through the bottom of cabinet to the back wall, using a reciprocating saw.

cut the cabinets

Step 3: Remove the Old Cabinets

Remove the excess pieces of shelving.

Remove the old side piece and move over.

Step 4: Add the Shelf

Set the shelf edge into the dado groove on the old side panel, and nail into place using impulse finish nailer

add the shelf

Step 5: Finish the Cabinets

With fine sandpaper, lightly sand the surfaces of the new doors and drawer fronts.

Wipe off the sanded surfaces with a tack cloth to remove excess dust.

Paint surfaces (front and back) with oil-based primer — brush with grain of wood.




  • Prefinished Heart Pine Flooring (model: PF-GI-6) from Authentic Pine Floors