IKEA Hack - Makerspace Butcher Block Table
                         w/ adjustable legs and locking casters

My recommendation would be to use this table at the elementary school level with a maximum height of 32". I have used all very solid materials here that should last for years in a K-5 environment. I would also recommend that work bench type tables used at middle and high school level are constructed with a solid metal frame under the butcher block table for more heavy duty tasks. Doug McIntosh
Materials
IKEA GERTON Solid Beech Wood Butcher Block Table 61" x 29.5" Thickness 1-1/8"

Price: $89.99

Product code - 501.067.73

Note - In my research, this was the best deal on a solid butcher block table top over 1" thick that I could buy as a retail customer. Most butcher block table tops that are this size and thickness start at over $200.

IKEA OLOV Table Leg, Black Adjustable between 23⅝-35⅜" 

Price: $15.00
Product Code: 302.643.01
Total cost of this diy Makerspace Table including- tabletop, 4 legs and 4 casters, w/o tax = $208.75
Description
I'm using a solid wood butcher block table with adjustable table legs and adding 4 industrial locking casters.  
  1. Take the OLOV table leg plastic glide bottom pieces off with a channel lock wrench.

  2. The glides will be replaced with SCC expanding stem locking casters. (tip - store the plastic glides in a plastic bag for safe keeping)

  3. The inside diameter of the leg tube is 1-3/8".

  4. Each SCC caster is inserted into the table leg tube using a built-in screw system that expands the rubber around the caster stem to secure it tightly within the table leg. (The video to the right is not the same leg or caster but you will get the concept of an expanding stem caster by watching this quick video.)

  5. I did a bit of research on expanding stem casters and purchased 4 heavy duty 1-3/8" expanding stem locking casters from Service Casters Corporation (see link above, specific part no. and price above- I purchased online). Each caster is rated at 250 lbs. per caster and I feel that should do the job for a mobile K-5 work or art table.

  6. After slipping in the caster into the table leg, I used a 3/4" wrench on the 3/4" nut under the caster to expand the rubber stem very tight inside the leg.

  7. The IKEA OLOV table leg is adjustable from 23⅝-35⅜". Adding the casters, adds 3 1/2" to the leg length. As I said above, I would recommend not exceeding 32" in total height.

  8. Once you have tightened the casters into the legs, you can start to work on the table. I recommend you construct the table where you have a carpet to protect the table top and have room to flip it over to test the table height you want.

  9. So, flip the table over so that the underside is the top side. Screw in the round mounting leg supports. I suggest a power drill, but make sure you are very careful not to strip the phillips screw heads. A few holes were stubborn, so I hand tightened them with a regular screw driver to make sure I wouldn't strip the screw heads.

  10. Adjusting the table legs is fairly straight foreword. Hand screw in the 4 table legs into the round mount center.

  11. To adjust the height, grab the inner leg bar and loosen by turning left. Use the dots, lines or number guides to get your mark. For example, the 70 cm (upside down) will end up being 32" high with the casters. Now to tighten once you have your mark, is to simply turn to the right to tighten. Make sure you get it really hand tight so it will not slip later. I found this the easiest way to adjust from one height to the next. 

    (See the illustration from the OLOV leg manual that I have included here.)

  12. I found that the lowest setting for this table with the 3 1/2" casters was 27 1/4" high. This is also the strongest and most stable setting for the table with the least wobble when using casters.

  13. Here is the completed table as assembled in my living room. 

  14. My next steps included taking the table outside to hand sand (which I view as a religious experience, love the zen of sanding wood). The Gerton table has a little bevel on the table top, but for elementary children, I decided to gently round the top edge and corners.

  15. After that, I used Minwax clear satin polyurethane to protect the under side with 1 coat and the top side with 3 coats. I used extra fine steelwool to smooth the surface between coats.
    Note - Use the Gerton cardboard box as a varnish tarp.

  16. I finished with using a natural bees wax furniture spray and buff for a protective and polished finish. With the 3 coats of polyurethane, the beechwood butcher block really pops! 
My IKEA Hack using the expanding stem casters was a great success! These casters are heavy duty and easily lock and unlock with your foot. The casters also make for moving this pretty heavy table a snap. Happy making!
This presentation is also available as a Google Slideshow -
IKEA GERTON Butcher Block Table Hack with casters for a K-12 Makerspace

As a last side note - My daughter Shawna likes the table so much, it is going to be my Christmas present to her and her new kitchen table! She likes the contemporary industrial look. Guess that's why she works in a K-5 Makerspace.

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