Adding casters to your furniture is a good idea. If you live alone and need to move heavy pieces, wheels come in handy. Adding casters will also allow you to clean under heavy furniture more often because your injury risk is substantially reduced. More mobile furniture makes rearranging it more convenient and less strenuous.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Drill Bit (same size as sleeve/post)
Think about the weight of the pieces you want to make mobile. Do not add casters to lighter furnishings. If the furniture is too light (as in regularly used chairs) it may actually be more dangerous to add casters. Lighter chairs can be difficult sit on if you do not have a free hand to hold the chair in place when you are sitting down.
Examine your furniture’s warranty. Some furniture makers’ warranties are voided by “altered pieces.” Remember that furniture store policies in general state that if the furniture did not come with casters, do not add them. Contact your furniture maker to be sure adding casters will not void your warranty.
Decide if you want fixed casters or swivel casters. Choose fixed casters if you only want to move the furniture in one direction. Select swivel casters to be able to move the furniture in any direction.
Determine if you want post casters or screw-ins. Buy post if you prefer to drill a hole through your furniture frame, gently tap in the sleeve/post, then slip your caster into that sleeve until it locks into place. Purchase screw-ins if you are looking for casters that come with the mounting plates attached. Use the screws that come with the casters to attach this type.
Turn your furniture over. (Upside down is best if you can steady it enough to work on it.) Examine your exposed furniture frame. Look to see which caster design is going to work for your furniture. Be prepared to build up your frame if it is too flimsy to support your caster without splitting.
Build up your frame strength by cutting and screwing into place strips of 1-by-4 lumber or strips of plywood. Attach your strips evenly to all four corners of your piece. Add as many boards or strips as needed to sufficiently elevate your piece to a free-rolling height.
Secure your piece of furniture. Use a solid prop or clamp it to a work bench or table. Drill your holes for your sleeves on each of the four corners of your piece. Look straight down on each corner and stand directly over it as you drill. Drill them slowly and straight. Clean out your newly drilled holes by turning the piece of furniture over and let the shavings fall out. Use a pick to remove any shavings that are stuck.
Re-clamp or prop your piece so it can not move. Use a hammer to gently tap your sleeves into each drilled hole. Push your casters into place. Continue pushing until you hear and feel them lock into place.Check each one to make sure they are firmly attached and do not wobble in the holes. If you have one that wobbles, remove it from its post/sleeve and tape the post thickly enough to make up the wobble difference.
Tips and warnings
- Do not buy cheap, flimsy casters.
- Buy the size that matches the furniture weight burden.
- Be careful to drill straight, centrally located holes, if you buy the post casters.
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