Removable Upper Cabinet Bottoms

Cabinetmakers consider how to make upper cabinet bottoms detachable for access to undercabinet lighting wiring. August 24, 2008

What do you do to make a removable bottom to access wires for cabinet puck lights? We have screwed them on in the past, but now we want to have no visible fastener. Our bottoms are 1/4 ply. We have tried Rare Earth magnets, but that takes too much time to install. Any ideas are welcome.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor C:
Have you considered putting a false bottom on the cabinet interior? Then you could utilize a gravity connection to hold the bottom in place.

From contributor P:
Rare Earth magnets.

From contributor K:
This is assuming you are talking about face frame cabs... Haven't thought about false bottom on interior (interesting idea), but I can tell you a couple of ways to do it with a false bottom underneath. The puck lights do not have any considerable weight, but you must make sure that when you do this, the client does not plan on attaching any undermount devices (i.e. can opener, knife or book rack, CD player, etc.).

1. Drill a half-circle on the front (which will be behind face frame and not seen), bevel the front edge 22 1/2 degrees (for pull down) and attach the panel with Rare Earth magnets (that can take some weight) in the corners (front and back, and in center for wider panels). All you have to do to remove is pull down on the finger-pull (half-circle). Works great, clients love it (gives them a James Bond secret compartment feel)... If you don't want the half-circle, just use a suction-cup to pull down from front.

2. Piano hinge (concealed) in back of panel, friction latch in front, half-circle for pull-down, 22 1/2 degree bevel.

3. Piano hinge (concealed) in back of panel, strong magnetic latch in front (used in RV's), half-circle for pull-down, 22 1/2 degree bevel.

From contributor L:
I'm not sure why you would need to take them off in the first place? I install the false bottoms after the backsplash is done using glue and micro pins. The electrician has his wire stubbed out of the wall and I feed it through the hole I drill for the light and he comes back and makes his connection and shoves it all up into the hole. I put a 2" bottom rail on the uppers with a 3/4" bottom, 3/4" of blocking and 1/4" skin.