How to Disassemble Miter Joint Frame Kitchen Cabinet Doors

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Kitchen cabinets are defined in large part by the style of their doors. The doors often feature a distinct panel in the center of a mitered frame. The panel has a distinct profile that adds a decorative element to the cabinetry. If your kitchen cabinetry needs an upgrade, one option is to change out the center panel in the doors. You can do this by disassembling the miter joint frame around the center panel. There are many options for center panels included leaded glass, restoration glass or even country-style punched-tin inserts.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Heat gun
  • Scraper tool
  • Utility knife
  • Squeeze clamp
  • Sanding pad, fine-grit
  • Unscrew the screws in the cabinet door hinges on the cabinet door that you wish to disassemble using a screwdriver. Lift the door from the cabinet opening and place it flat on a work surface.

  • Remove the cabinet knob by unscrewing the knob screw or screws with a screwdriver. Set the knob hardware aside.

  • Heat up the wood finish at each of the miter joints by moving a heat gun in a steady motion across each joint. Scrape the finish off from the joints using the scraper tool. Scrape in the same direction as the wood grain. Do this procedure on both sides of the cabinet door.

  • Score the miter joints carefully with an utility knife on both sides of the cabinet door. Heat the seams of the joints with the heat gun and continue to score the joints with the utility knife until they are completely loose.

  • Reverse the squeeze clamp so it squeezes in an outward direction instead of inwards like a standard clamp. Position the squeeze clamp on the inside edges of the miter joint frame at each end of the door. Slowly and carefully squeeze the clamp until the joints pop apart.

  • Set the squeeze clamp aside. Pull the miter joint frame apart the rest of the way with your hands. Lay all of the cabinet door parts out on a work surface. Sand the ends of the parts where they join together lightly with a fine-grit sanding pad to remove any glue residue.

Tips & Warnings

  • Replace the standard wooden panel in the doors with leaded glass or punched tin for a special accent in your cabinetry.
  • Wear eye protection when disassembling cabinet doors.
  • Handle the heat gun with care to avoid burns.

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