The view from our “front” door {post 14} Cut out for electrical box

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Woodworking Tutorials

I made a bunch of headway this weekend!!  Here is one of the new things I learned how to do: make an accurate cut out for an electrical box that your built in will end up covering.  One unusual tool you will need for this is:

This would be an example of why I can never toss anything out.  I’ve had this sample lipstick in the bottom of my makeup drawer for eons.  Literally eons.  I was happy to have it when I made my cut out so that I didn’t have to use one of my good tubes.  I wish I could give credit to whomever I got this idea from, but the noggin is not cooperating.  I can’t remember the source.

FIRST!!  TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE OUTLET!!  USE ONE OF THOSE VOLTAGE CHECKERS TO MAKE SURE THERE IS NOT POWER TO THE OUTLET!!  (This is in all caps on purpose.  Don’t skip this step.)

Apply the lipstick to the edges of the sockets like so:

Move your built in to its exact spot and slide it directly back against the socket.  I found this easy to do because I already had the base molding cut out for the built in.  I slid the cabinet into the vacant molding spot and made sure it hit the socket:

Now hold your outlet cover up to the marks and draw on outline of the cover.

As long as you cut somewhat within the cover outline, you should be safe for having a nice and neat cutout.  I am generally conservative when I make cuts, so I had to go back about 3 times to get the right size hole.  It has to fit the entire front of the extender including the screws and I used a jigsaw to accomplish this.

This was the first pass–needed to be a lot bigger!  Drill holes in the four corners big enough to get the blade of the jigsaw in there to make the cuts.

Unscrew the outlet from the existing box (mine is blue).

Next step is adding an electrical box extender so that the outlet isn’t sunk too far back because of your cabinet.  This is the once I used and I bought it at HD or Lowes:

This one is metal and I bent it to go around the outlet.  The place for the screws go out to the front.

Then all you need to do is make sure the parts go back on that you took off:

You want to add back anything you took off to get the extender in there.  Use the longer screws that come with the extender and screw them into the existing outlet box.  I also used a longer screw to reattach the outlet cover.

Here it is again, the extender in the hole.

You can see that I need to get slightly longer screws to bring the outlet out a little farther.  I don’t know if I care enough to find some, we’ll see…

Here is a link from someone who knows what they are doing.  Mine looks similar after completion, so I think I did it right.