Ikea Smallening
July 13, 2014 11:36 PM   Subscribe

I have a new, unassembled red 2x4 Kallax. I want it to be 2x3. Could a lumberyard easily cut down the two long-pieces?

Having put together other 2x4 Kallaxes, I know cutting down the long-pieces would work fine in terms of *assembly* (as long as they drilled the same two screw holes into the new end-surface) -- but I'm asking here to make sure that would work in terms of *cutting*.

Would a pro be able to cleanly cut high-gloss Kallax shelves -- lightweight particle board, c. 1" thick, with a thin high-gloss outer finish?

Alternately, any other suggestions re. this plan? (I want the finish and the exact other dimensions of the 2x4, so other brands of cube shelves that are 2x3 and red won't work.)
posted by kalapierson to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If Kallax is like Expedit, I'm pretty sure that the outer panels are hollow and filled with honeycomb cardboard. You will not be able to have them cut them down without some extensive reworking: cut off end, clean out hollow interior space, insert and glue wood in empty space.
posted by zsazsa at 11:45 PM on July 13, 2014 [8 favorites]

So if we assume that it is chip wood with some outer coating for the finish (and not like the cardboard-filled thicker walls of the expedit):

No matter how sharp your saw (and if you were doing it by hand using a new, expensive, hand-made Japanese saw), there is always some chipping on the side that the saw exits the wood (relative to the cutting direction). It can be reduced by taping (for example), by clamping the piece down on a flat piece of wood of the same size and cutting both, by choosing a saw with fine teeth and cutting slowly (I'm sure there are more hacks), but it can't be fully prevented. A pro with very sharp tools would be your best choice, but keep this in mind...
posted by Namlit at 12:34 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure that zsazsa is exactly right. Even if it only required cutting, a lumberyard would not be the place to have it done. A small cabinet shop or a good finish carpenter with a sliding miter saw and a sharp, fine-toothed blade would be the way to go. In a pinch you could probably do it with a good blade in a handheld circular saw, but you'd still need to dig out the core materials, carefully fit a piece of other wood to fit in between the outer skins, glue and clamp, or else you'd have nothing to drive the screws into.
posted by jon1270 at 12:35 AM on July 14, 2014

Well jeez, what's your budget? I would cut one vertical out, from the exact middle of the top over one square down to the exact middle of that column at the bottom. Do this on either side of one vertical divider. Then assemble each half, probably with biscuits or dowels at the horizontal divider and some kind of insert blocks and glue for the outer "thick" sections. Then treat it like an automotive repair, wetsanding the joint until smooth, respraying with an exact match of a color, then maybe clearcoating the whole thing for ultimate smoothness. You've got a real project ahead of you no matter what, though.
posted by rhizome at 12:45 AM on July 14, 2014

Response by poster: Wow, if the outer walls of Kallax are the same honeycomb core as Expedit (and I'll assume they are, because the outer pieces were surprisingly light!), that does make cutting them down more of a custom job than I'd thought. Thank you!

(rhizome, unless I'm misreading you, it doesn't need to be that complex -- luckily the construction is totally modular, so that if the longest pieces were the desired length with a new block of wood to hold the screws, nothing else would need modification to assemble a 2x3 as one would assemble a 2x4.)
posted by kalapierson at 12:52 AM on July 14, 2014

Best answer: Find someone with a fairly high quality table saw IE blade does not wobble this way and that. As noted above, make certain that the side which will show is on the top as you run it through the saw, so any chips will be on the inside.

Also noted above: put tape around it, to reduce chipping. Pro Tip: Take a utility knife with a new, sharp-ass blade, lay a straight-edge down onto the tape where the cut is going to be, then use that knife to score all the way through the thin veneer. That way if it does chip, it will only chip to the line which you've cut into the veneer, easier to make it pretty.

If it is hollow-core, not a big problem, really; just get a chunk of wood the exact width of the inside of that core, put lots of good ol' Elmers glue (any white glue of this type will work), put glue on the piece and glue on the inside of the core, slide the piece up inside, it should be set in a day.

Alternately, move to Austin, and we'll do it together, so long as you buy me a cup of coffee at Jo's.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:51 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This might give you some direction -- Ikeahackers.net: "How to: Cut an Expedit down to 3X2"
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:59 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I misremembered where and which sides the endcaps were, sorry!
posted by rhizome at 11:25 AM on July 14, 2014

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