Question on shaving down a window frame - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-16-2020, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question on shaving down a window frame

I am beginning to prepare my new kitchen cabinets for the pouring of a concrete countertop. As we all learn with projects involving an existing home, floors and walls tend not to be level and consistent. I have installed all of my cabinets and now need to lay Durock backer board before pouring concrete. I have learned that while my cabinets are level, the window frames are not and are also too high in some places to accept the backer board. I will need to trim down the window frame studs to make them level with the tops of the cabinets.

The cabinets along one window begin flush with the window frame at one end while the frame rises by about 3/8 inch toward the back. The opposite window frame is 1/2 inch higher than the cabinets along the full length.

Any guidance how best to accomplish this would be greatly appreciated. Right now I am looking at an orbital sander with a thick stack of 60 grit paper, hours of sanding, the occasional nail pull and apologizing to my wife for the amount of dust being generated in her kitchen. Or… I may break out my chisels and just start hammering the crap out of things. I am not adverse to purchasing another tool if there is a better method for going about doing what I am hoping to do. I have attached a couple pictures and appreciate any responses.

Cheers,
Doug
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-16-2020, 07:22 PM
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Not sure exactly what you're cutting down, but from the description, perhaps strike a line, cut near the line with an oscillating tool and chisel to finish.

Alexis de Tocqueville was a very smart man.
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-16-2020, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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What I need to trim down is the 2x4 stud that comprises the bottom part of the frame for the window to be level with the cabinet tops. I thought about re-attaching the cabinets 1/2" higher, but that effectively necessitates moving all the cabs in the kitchen higher which is not acceptable. I will look into an oscillating tool. Is a belt sander an option to remove this much material?
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alchymist View Post
Not sure exactly what you're cutting down, but from the description, perhaps strike a line, cut near the line with an oscillating tool and chisel to finish.

Agree. I cannot tell what you are doing just from your descriptions and picture. However, whatever it is, a multi-tool may do the job.


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post #5 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 08:46 AM
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Let's talk terms here ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaDoog View Post
What I need to trim down is the 2x4 stud that comprises the bottom part of the frame for the window to be level with the cabinet tops. I thought about re-attaching the cabinets 1/2" higher, but that effectively necessitates moving all the cabs in the kitchen higher which is not acceptable. I will look into an oscillating tool. Is a belt sander an option to remove this much material?



Studs are the vertical pieces that the wall board is nailed to. They are not under the windows, those are the sills on the outside and stools on the inside:





If I understand your question the existing cabinets including the backer board are level, BUT the windows stools are not? That's a huge problem. You don't want to lower the cabinets, and you don't want to remove, raise and level the windows? You need to start at the lowest point and determine the amount you have to work with.



I am a little familiar with this type of issue since I needed to add a 1/2" of hardboard on all my base cabinets so the stove top would rest on top of the solid surface "granite". You seem to have the opposite issue. Your cabinets are already too high/tall?


How thick is the concrete going to be? Can this be changed?

Are the "2 X 4 studs" you refer to cross braces /supports in the cabinet interiors?

Please give us a more detailed description, even a sketch of the problem would help a great deal. Removing large amounts off a 2 X 4 will not be easy by sanding. Cutting or planing is the easiest, cleanest and fastest method. The multi-tool is loud and slow, at least both of the ones I own, a Rigid and a Harbor Freight. A hand held power planer will remove a significant amount of material easily, but will blow small chips all over. Pick your poison, in this case.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 03:47 PM
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Are you re-framing the window? Or, trying to fudge for something that is just crooked? Your images just aren't giving the whole story.


Also, there are many ways to make concrete counters and not all of them need or call for a backer board. Maybe consider a form made from a template instead and don't pour them in place. It will save the 1/2" that you can use elsewhere. Not advocating any method just aware that there are more than one.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 07:10 PM
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Is the window frame level? If it is not level then remove the trim . The exterior trim also has to be removed. Then remove the fasteners that hold the window in the opening. Often the flashing that is on the window has elongated holes that are filled with roofing nails or washer head screws. Cut shims under the jambs to level and get the height you need.
Replace the trim on interior and exterior. If the jambs are nailed to the studs, cut thru the nails with a hacksaw blade or a Sawzall with a metal blade with many teeth. I use a hacksaw blade in a holder because of less chatter and vibration.

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 07:42 PM
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concrete doesn't give a patooti about the unlevelness of your window
cut out the sheetrock, lay the backer board up to the uneven wood, pour concrete
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. I have attached another, labelled photo that will hopefully clarify what I'm endeavoring to do. The system I am using for the concrete countertops is the Z Form system and the forms installed along the back need to be the same height throughout to achieve the result I'm looking for. The base 2x4 (stool?) to the right of the sink is not level and dips from 3/8" above the cabinets in the corner to flush at the far right. The other 2x4 is a consistant 1/2" higher than the cabinet top. I will need to remove this material to make these stools level with the cabinet tops. Given the responses thus far, I will look into a power planer and pick up chips which are far easier to deal with than sawdust from a sander.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Having looked at power hand planers, I believe I'll have a problem in sidling up to the vinyl window since the planers I see have quite a bit of bulk on each side. It appears that a chisel followed with a sander for cleanup are in my future. I'll also look at a multi-tool as a possibility as I can certainly use it to remove all the remaining vinyl flooring prior to tiling as well.

Cheers,
Doug
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-17-2020, 09:25 PM
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Like I said ....

Either lower the cabinets or raise the windows. If it were me, having installed an entire set of cabinets myself, I'd be taking about 3/4" to 1" off the cabinets, maybe on the toe space. It will be less visiblle there and often the toe kick is a bit excessively high. I would not consider planing, sanding multi tooling the top surface of the cabinets.! You are just asking for trouble.... uneven, unable to get near the windows, neither straight or level, screw heads, Just unscrew the cabinets turn them upside down a saw of the amount from the sides and rear (easy) and the front of the toe kick (easy) ...... done!



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-18-2020, 11:10 AM
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A good example why I like adjustable legs ;-)

What about a spacer strip the the top edges of the cabs?

Robert
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-18-2020, 12:37 PM
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Really?

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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
A good example why I like adjustable legs ;-)

What about a spacer strip the the top edges of the cabs?

Surely you jest.

Adjustable legs on what... kitchen cabinets? No, but maybe on extension ladders, tripods, saw horses?


The tops of the cabinets are already too high, so I don't think adding a spacer is the answer.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-18-2020, 03:25 PM
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I've run into this problem many times over the years (I'm a cabinet installer). We're often tasked with prepping the areas for tops, so here's what I'd do:

Pick up a multi tool. Mid range is fine. Don't go too cheap like harbor freight, and a high end like the Fein super cut probably won't get enough use to justify. A $100 +/- Makita will do the job nicely, and it's a great little tool. You'll find more uses for it as time goes on.

Pick up some extra blades. I wouldn't be surprised if you went through 3-4 for that job. I'd suggest bi metal cutting blades, your sure to hit some nails. Same recommendation as for the tool, mid grade is all you need. I like the Imperial brand, decent quality, fair pricing.

Have a small chisel handy you won't mind nicking up a bit. You'll use it as much like a prybar as a chisel.

Cut the 2x4 along the top of the cabinet, a bit deeper than the final material needs to be. Then just chisel out the waste. I wouldn't worry about getting it too clean, just enough for the rock to slide in to where you need it. I certainly wouldn't think about sanding it.

Hope this helps. Dan
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-18-2020, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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That is exactly where I was headed, Dan. I have been looking at multitool videos and it appears to be the perfect direction for what I need to accomplish. I also appreciate your thoughts on the Makita as I was looking at the Bosch GOP40-30C. I am still intrigued about that tool as I also have a lot of linoleum to tear up and will also be redoing my bathroom fairly soon. I can see the tool getting a fair amount of use and appreciate spending a little more money on something that will last a long time which I assume either of these would do.

I will let you all know how this works out and truly appreciate all of the help I received here!
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-22-2020, 08:29 AM
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I renovated my old 1941 house; nothing is square, level or plumb! If you don't have a plane that can get to the edge of the window, maybe a rasp like this to get the bulk then sand it smooth? https://www.homedepot.com/p/ToolPro-...2040/206777733

What I don't get is why you're even bothering to make the sill plate flush with the cabinets? Your poured countertop will be flush against the wall and thick enough that i'll be above that 1" that sticks up. if you're worried the window will look crooked, you'll have to shim the window to level it out. That'll probably require removing the siding and flashing around the outside of the window, which isn't difficult but extra work.

I used a multitool to trim the frame around my windows. I redid the drywall and used 5/8", it was still a bit thinner than the old plaster walls which was around 1" thick. So window frames and door jams needed a shave.
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