How to Add Leveling Feet to Furniture
The primary function of leveling feet for furniture -- also sometimes called glides -- is to compensate for variations in floor level, and they can make your table more comfortable and your cabinet more stable. They're easy to install on any piece of furniture that doesn't already have them, but you will have to turn the piece upside down to do it. Each glide comes with a mounting sleeve, and you have to drill a hole for the sleeve, so it isn't practical to install glides on metal furniture. In most cases, though, metal chairs, tables and cabinets already have glides.
Prepare the piece of furniture for installation of leveling feet by removing drawers -- if it's a desk or cabinet -- and removing everything from the shelves. Turn the piece upside down. If the floor isn't carpeted, spread a blanket to protect the piece's surface.
Clean dirt off the bottoms of the feet, and mark the center of each one, using a ruler and pencil. If the legs are round, draw two diameter lines; the center will be at the point where they intersect. If the legs are square or rectangular, find the midpoint of a line drawn across the width; place the ruler on that point, draw a perpendicular line and find the midpoint of that line where the two lines cross.
Measure the diameter of the sleeve attached to one of the levelers you want to install, using the ruler, and then select a drill bit with the same diameter. Measure the length of the sleeve; add 1/2 inch, and wrap a piece of masking tape around the bit this distance from the tip. The masking tape helps you determine when the hole is deep enough.
Hold the drill so the bit is vertical with respect to the bottom of the leg. Position the tip on the center mark and drill into the wood. Hold the drill with both hands to keep it steady, and stop drilling when the edge of the tape touches the leg bottom.
Unscrew the furniture leveler from the sleeve and tap the sleeve into the hole with a wooden mallet. If you only have a regular hammer, place a block of wood on the sleeve and tap the wood. Don't tap the sleeve directly with a metal hammer -- you may damage it. Stop tapping when the lip of the sleeve is flush against the wood.
Drill the other three holes and install the sleeves in the same way. Screw in the glides, allowing each one to extend about 1/2 inch from the wood.
Turn the piece of furniture upright and set it on the floor in its permanent location. Adjust each foot as needed to level it. Turn the foot clockwise to shorten the furniture leg and counterclockwise to lengthen it.
- The sleeve should fit tightly in the hole; you may have to tap it quite firmly.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.
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