A few of months ago my mom and I came across the perfect crafting table while we were at Ikea:

It has two drop-leaves that make the table go from 10 inches wide to 60 inches wide.  It was a perfect space-saving solution, but my only problem was I didn’t have a spot where I could both store it and use it.  Then it hit me, I could install wheels to it and make it more mobile.  I had never put casters on anything before and the idea intimidated me quite a bit.

After I purchased the table, it sat in pieces in my garage for a couple of months.  The idea of installing casters was such a daunting task in my mind.  Finally yesterday, on a whim, I got inspired to put the table together.  It was extremely easy to assemble.  Once it was completed, I realized that I would really need to install casters if I wanted to use it at all.  Off to the hardware store I went.

[Before you go to the hardware store, it is helpful to know how much your item weighs so you can get the proper casters]

I found the casters in the same aisle as door hinges, chains and locks.  They had everything from super heavy-duty  to light weight casters.  I knew what I needed was considered lightweight.  My piece of furniture weighed about 100 lbs, so I made sure to get casters that could support that amount of weight.  The maximum supported weight should be located near the bar code, on the package itself or on the display shelf.  The casters I chose came in a set of two and cost less than $4 per pack.  I had to get 3 packs total because I knew I had to put casters on the leaf support legs as well.

Back at home my adventure began!

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The first thing I did was flip the table upside down.  If you have a table similar to mine, be careful of the drop-leaves dropping!  I wasn’t thinking when I flipped over mine and almost took out some door molding.

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Next, place your shiny new caster on top of the leg and decide how you would like it situated.  Placing it as centered as possible will get you the most stability.

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Mark the center of the holes with a pencil.  These will be your drilling guides.

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You will need wood screws to attach the casters to the legs.  I decided to use random sheet metal screws I already had.  When buying screws, I would suggest buying ones shorter than what I used.  Maybe around an inch long?  They can be thinner as well.  This will help prevent any cracking or splitting of the wood during installation.

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Drilling the Holes

Time to decide on which drill bit to use!  The rule is that you want the drill bit to be as large as the smallest part of your screw.  If you’re not sure, go smaller rather than larger.  You can always increase the drill bit size, but once you make a hole too large for the screw, you’re out of luck.

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Once I compared my screw and my drill bits, I decided on the 1/8th bit.

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Let the drilling process begin!  Carefully, start drilling your holes and make sure to keep the bit straight up and down.  If the hole is drilled at an angle, your screw will want to go in at an angle too.

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Complete the same process on the rest of the legs.

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Installation

 Line up the caster’s holes with the holes on the leg.  Using a screwdriving bit, drive the screws into the pre-made holes until there is about a 1/4 inch of space between the screw and the base of the caster.

Now, one by one, tighten each screw completely.  A good rule is to tighten the most opposite screw from the one you just tightened.  For example: if you last tightened the screw in the front, tighten the screw in the back next.  This helps make sure everything is properly aligned and tightened evenly.

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In the photo below, you will notice that the caster on top is only secured with two screws.  The leg is the leaf-support leg and is narrower than the rest of the legs.  I decided since I had four other legs with properly installed casters, I could install these casters with just two screws.

I made sure to place the caster so the leg would rest on as much of the caster base as possible.

After installation, these casters felt just as secure as the rest.

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The Finished Product

Shiny new wheels!

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I did run across a couple of things that I might have done differently:

  1. Like I mentioned before, the screws I used were not the most ideal.  I should have used shorter and thinner wood screws.  The larger screws were overkill and unnecessarily stressed the wood.
  2. While the casters I installed do work, I wonder if they would work better if I had gone with a larger, more heavy-duty version.  Currently, it takes a bit of force to get them going, but that may be an issue with the pile of carpet I have [and the fact the table is 100 lbs].

Also, as a warning:  While drilling holes and driving screws, the drill bit/screw will become extremely hot from friction!  Do not touch them immediately after use!  [Ask me how I know]

 

2 thoughts on “Installing Casters on Furniture :: How To

  1. I was just asking my carpentry-savvy co-worker if it would be reasonable to add my own casters to a kitchen island/table that didn’t already have them. He said yes, and you’ve proven his judgement. Love this.

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