How to Fix a Lazy Susan

Written by laura reynolds
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How to Fix a Lazy Susan
A cabinet-type lazy Susan (DRW & Associates Inc)

Lazy Susans are wonderful inventions. They help keep our cabinets organised and provide a way for the kids to use the ketchup without reaching. Perhaps they were named for a lazy servant or the name was simply cooked up by a creative director for "Vanity Fair" magazine, in which the tabletop version first appeared in 1917. Maybe it's their convenience that frustrates us when they don't work right. They're simple to fix, though, because there are only two basic designs and neither has changed in years.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Screwdrivers and pliers
  • Ball bearing replacement ring for tabletop and cabinet models
  • Wood screws, metal plates, PVC pipe depending on task
  • PVC adhesive
  • Lubricating oil or graphite

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Diagnose your lazy Susan. All lazy Susans must have a suspension system that allows them to rotate in a fixed circle. Most cabinet-equipment lazy Susans consist of one or more wood or plastic platforms that sit on a centre-mounted pole or rotate in a three-quarter circle inside a corner cabinet. A tabletop lazy Susan or a single-cabinet Susan has a circular rim mounted on the bottom that rests on ball bearings sitting in another circular track.

    How to Fix a Lazy Susan
    This marble lazy Susan rests on a small ball bearing ring.
  2. 2

    For a pole-type lazy Susan, make sure the plate that holds the pole to the top of the inside of the cabinet and the plate that the pole sits in (on the bottom of the cabinet) are attached. You will need to remove the door that is mounted to plates at the edge of a three-quarter round turntable lazy Susan to be able to check the mounting plates. Often the problem is just that one of the plates has torn loose or lost a screw due to an uneven or heavy load on the turntable. Replace the plate if necessary with a new one from a cabinet hardware supplier, and use longer wood screws to attach the plate.

    How to Fix a Lazy Susan
    The top plate here is missing two screws.
  3. 3

    Test the attachments that fix the turntables on the poles. They are usually attached with little bolts that can be tightened. If the bolt cannot be replaced or the grip on the inside of the turntable is stripped, cut a piece of PVC pipe that has a slightly larger diameter than the centre pole to the length between the turntables. Slit it down its length, and slide it around the pole to support the turntable. Repeat for any segment that needs support. The slit can be closed with PVC cement, available where the plastic is sold. For a corner door, cut a length out of the side of the pipe to fit around the door's corner. If necessary, the pipe can be attached to the door with straps and short wood screws (be sure to use screws shorter than the depth of the door) for stability.

    How to Fix a Lazy Susan
    This bolt holds the turntable in position on the pole.
  4. 4

    Tip tabletop or single cabinet units and check the ball bearing rings on the bottom. Depending on the ring, the bearings may fall out is the ring comes apart or a plastic case becomes brittle and breaks. Once these little steel balls begin falling out, the balance of the unit is thrown off and the unit will continue to fall apart. Larger ball bearing rings may come apart to load new bearings but, most likely, the ring will need to be replaced with a ring from a cabinet hardware supplier or ball bearing manufacturer.

    How to Fix a Lazy Susan
    A sealed ball bearing ring on a plastic Lazy Susan
  5. 5

    Take care of your lazy Susan once you have gone through the effort to repair it. Limit weights and balance loads. Lubricate working parts with petroleum jelly, mineral oil or graphite (ball bearings almost always use graphite), depending on the manufacturer's recommendations. Never use too much oily lubricant because they'll collect dust.

Tips and warnings

  • Check new cabinets to make sure all parts have been installed and don't overload turntables.

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