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Which tool to cut out access panel inside cabinet?

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Forum topic by scottkeen posted 07-09-2019 04:47 PM 726 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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scottkeen

55 posts in 1344 days


07-09-2019 04:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a cabinet mounted inside my RV that I need to cut out a 6” x 20” access panel in the back of the cabinet.

Which tool (cordless) would you use to do this? The RV is in storage so I have no power source, and will need to use a battery-powered cordless tool.

I would normally use a jigsaw, but I don’t want to cut much deeper than the thickness of the cabinet back which I think is 1/2” plywood. There are water hoses and wires and other things behind the cabinet back so if I use a jigsaw which has a longer cutting depth there’s a chance I’ll tear into something.

Basically I want to plunge-cut out an access panel in the cabinet but only to the 1/2” thickness.

Would an oscillating multi-tool do this? How to keep it straight?

I’d like to use my cordless circular saw and set the cut depth, but it’s too big and bulky to maneuver inside the cabinet.

What tool would you recommend?


20 replies so far

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SMP

1176 posts in 324 days


#1 posted 07-09-2019 04:53 PM

I have a 12v bosch oscillating multi tool that i use for stuff like this. With this type of blade, angling blade as needed to fit enclosure:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-1-1-4-in-Bi-Metal-Precision-Plunge-Cut-Oscillating-Tool-Blade-for-Cutting-Wood-and-Metal-OSC114F/204268168

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scottkeen

55 posts in 1344 days


#2 posted 07-09-2019 04:57 PM


I have a 12v bosch oscillating multi tool that i use for stuff like this. With this type of blade, angling blade as needed to fit enclosure:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-1-1-4-in-Bi-Metal-Precision-Plunge-Cut-Oscillating-Tool-Blade-for-Cutting-Wood-and-Metal-OSC114F/204268168

- SMP

Cool, glad to know the oscillating multi tool is the tool to do the job! How do you keep the tool straight? There’s nothing to clamp a fence to inside the cabinet. Do you just free-hand it?

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SMP

1176 posts in 324 days


#3 posted 07-09-2019 05:13 PM



Cool, glad to know the oscillating multi tool is the tool to do the job! How do you keep the tool straight? There s nothing to clamp a fence to inside the cabinet. Do you just free-hand it?

- scottkeen

The type of blade i linked stays pretty straight. I just draw my square/line/rectangle, etc with pencil. Starting in a corner, drop the corner of the blade onto the line, turn tool on high, then kind of roll the blade onto line(see the arc on blade), plunge to cut, lift tool out, move up the line and repeat. Keep a couple batteries charged as it wats batteries for breakfast. Wear hearing protection because it will sound like a 747 taking off inside a trailer cabinet. Also, if cabinets are mdf/particle board, keep blade clean with some mineral spirits or something otherwise they burm up pretty quick. Good luck!

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Madmark2

475 posts in 1006 days


#4 posted 07-09-2019 05:16 PM

Use a utility knife. Cab backs in RVs are usually 1/4” or less and not of the toughest material. A simple knife should work.

M

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scottkeen

55 posts in 1344 days


#5 posted 07-09-2019 05:39 PM

This is the cabinet in the RV I’m cutting into. It may be just 1/4” thick in the back, I can try and see. I’ve already taken out the shelves, they just lift out.

View totalrewind's profile

totalrewind

47 posts in 2691 days


#6 posted 07-09-2019 06:05 PM

Also could use something like a roto-zip or palm router (which is the same thing, more or less)

Either way, you’d probably want to rig up a rectangle out of scraps + double-stick tape to use as a guide to keep your lines straight.

-- For more projects (not just woodworking) check out my project blog at http://theheadlesssourceman.wordpress.com

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scottkeen

55 posts in 1344 days


#7 posted 07-09-2019 06:12 PM

Good idea on the scraps and double-side tape to make a guide.

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fly2low

82 posts in 515 days


#8 posted 07-09-2019 08:41 PM

I would expect the back to be 1/4 or less. Be careful. Consider drilling a hole in the center of the piece to be removed to judge depth

-- Rich Gig Harbor, WA

View rbrjr1's profile

rbrjr1

208 posts in 624 days


#9 posted 07-10-2019 05:23 PM

I’ve got a oscillating tool that I’d use and I also might try my small Dremel hand saw (pretty much a single handed circular saw that takes a 3” blade)

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3436 posts in 1899 days


#10 posted 07-11-2019 01:43 PM

+1 on a palm router & template.

+1 on determining depth first.

I would not use an oscillating saw it is prone to plunge through and cut something.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View sras's profile

sras

5110 posts in 3547 days


#11 posted 07-11-2019 02:34 PM

I’ve used a utility knife to do just this several times. Use a straightedge and make several light passes. After you get a groove you can apply a bit more pressure. Just set your expectations to make 10 passes – don’t rush it.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2335 posts in 3362 days


#12 posted 07-12-2019 06:15 AM

I’ve used my Multimaster like that several times over the years. As long as the battery keeps you going, you should be good to go.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

958 posts in 1637 days


#13 posted 07-12-2019 04:43 PM

using a knife will be the safest way to go. a nic in a water hose or wire in an RV isnt fin to fix.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4575 posts in 4160 days


#14 posted 07-12-2019 06:19 PM

Oscillating tool… can buy one at Harbor Freight… that would last through this task at least….

The 12 volt one is 40 bucks… I would get the 20 dollar corded one, and plug a 12—>120volt converter in, in my car and plug it in.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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therealSteveN

3085 posts in 992 days


#15 posted 07-12-2019 07:29 PM

If it’s an electrical box you are accessing, or along a stud you can use a cut out tool, with a 1/8” bit and a safety tip. It all kind of works like a edge cutting router bit. The 1/8” bits a have a small no cut area at the tip, that just follows shapes, all the cutting is behind the tip. Essentially you can do them free hand too, but following a box is where they really shine, because you just follow the outline of the box.

The learning curve is about 2” of cut, by then you are good, and know what to expect. Just know, if you set the cutter WAYYYYYyyyyyyy deeper than the thickness of the material you are cutting, then they will do a bang-up job of cutting electrical wires, or plumbing, probably gas lines too.

Moooovee to see how easy it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsJbcEnSDk4

The only real important thing to know is SET THE DEPTH….

-- Think safe, be safe

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