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Last active Sep 18, 2022
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Instructions for how to affix an Ikea Gerton table top to the Ikea Bekant sit-stand desk frame.

Ikea Bekant standing desk with Gerton table top

We've had our Ikea Bekant sit-stand desk for around a year now and we're big fans. It's easy to put together, feels sturdy enough, and only cost $529 for top and frame. However, I've never liked the particle board top with its plastic edging.

Still, it wasn't enough to deter me from wanting to pickup a second for proper his and her's workstations, so we headed to Ikea to pickup another. While there we stumbled upon the $90 Gerton all wood table top. We immediately loved it over the Bekant tops, so we picked up two, one for the new desk and one for the old.

Putting the Gerton table top on the Bekant frame requires some manual labor and extra supplies though, much more than your standard Ikea build process. You'll need to drill holes into your Gerton table top. The size of those holes is dependent on your method of attaching the frame. You can either re-use the Ikea plastic hardware, or you can head to Home Depot and pickup some custom hardware (I chose the latter). Fair warning: no matter the build, you'll need a power drill.

Below are instructions for modifying the two pieces to work together with some custom hardware from Home Depo. They're not perfect, but I figure it could help others as a reference guide.

Prep and supplies

Use these instructions if you're interested in visiting Home Depot to purchase custom screws and fasteners to connect your table top to your desk frame.

Hardware needed

ProTips:

  • You only need 4-6 individual insert nuts, machine screws, and washers—not 4-6 packs of the above items. Some links are to 5-counts, others to 100-count packages.
  • Why four to six? Depends on how many holes you want to drill. More on that later.
  • The 20 in those insert nuts and screws refers to the thread count. Make sure numbers these match.
  • I couldn't find the required machine screws individually; I had to buy these combo screw-nut packs at Home Depot.

Equipment needed

Instructions

1. Assemble most of the Bekant frame.

Follow the provided instruction manual up through Step 4 to assemble the cross beams, electric motors, and frame legs. You'll only need the allen wrench for this part.

ikea-step-1 ikea-step-2 ikea-step-3 ikea-step-4

2. Prep Gerton table top

Next, we have to prep our Gerton table top for drilling. The Gerton table top doesn't include holes that match up with the Bekant frame, so we have to do this ourselves. You'll need your measuring tape, pencil, power drill, and drill stop (or masking tape) for this part.

Lucky for us the Gerton table top is exactly 2" narrower and 2" shallower than the Bekant desk top. That makes for easy math on our part.

  • Gerton table top: 61" x 29.5"
  • Bekant desk: 63" x 31.5"

With the Gerton table top upside down on the floor (carpet, or put a towel/blanket under), measure 5.75" from the front and back and 1.75" from the left and right sides. Here's a rough diagram on the placement.

ikea-gerton-bekant-diagram

Mark off those dimensions with your pencil, and draw additional lines as needed.

progress measurement and line

Now grab one of the frame rails from Step 6 in your instruction manual. On each side, line up the frame rail over those measurements you just penciled onto the table. You'll see about 1/16" overlap on the front-back measurements, so eyeball it as needed. When lined up, pencil in the outermost holes from the frame rail, like so.

progress measurement, line, and drill hole

Heads up! I skipped the middle frame rail that's shown in Step 5 of the instruction manual. This is where the 4-6 screws and insert nuts variance comes in. It didn't seem super necessary and is easily addressed. After you attach the frame rails to the table top, place the frame with centered middle rail over the table (roughly 19" from either electric motor bit). Pencil in the holes, remove the frame, drill, apply insert nuts, and assemble.

3. Drill holes, hammer in insert nuts, attach frame rails

When you're done drawing those frame rail holes, it's time to drill and hammer in the insert nuts. Insert nuts are used for added grip in the wood; their star-like configuration keeps things nice and stable, making future disassembly and reassembly super easy.

As noted on the insert nuts packaging, you should drill 5/8" deep with a 11/32" drill bit. I lacked a legit drill stop, so masking tape was the perfect solution. Wrap your drill bit in masking tape, leaving 5/8" on the end.

When ready, drill in the center of those penciled circles you drew. It's okay to be a little off we have wiggle room on the frame rails, but do try to stay in the lines :). Keep your drill at it's lowest speed, pump the trigger, and you'll be fine.

When the holes are drilled, hammer in those insert nuts—two on each side.

Heads up! I got carried away in this next photo and drilled too many holes. Don't worry about that, all you need is the outer holes from the frame rails (which is what Ikea shows with their default instructions).

in progress insert nut

4. Attach the rails

Now that we have something to screw the frame into, we can do just that. Snag your 4x screws, 4x washers, and screwdriver. Attach the frame rails, but don't tighten them completely just yet; we'll want some wiggle room next.

in progress attaching rails

5. Attach the frame

Next up, bring over the Bekant frame from our first step here. Place it right in the middle begin to attach it to the second and fourth holes in those frame rails with the included allen wrench and bolts.

For reference, see those two nerds in the bottom right of this photo? That's what you're doing here :).

ikea step 6

When you're feeling like it's about lined up, tighten up the bolts to the frame (as shown below from the Ikea instructions) and the screws to the table.

ikea step 7

Then, flip it over. Done-zo!

bekant sit stand black with gerton top

Using Ikea's hardware

Follow steps above, but with these modifications, to re-use the Bekant plastic fasteners that come with the frame. Note that I haven't tried this method, so I have no specific photos to help. All of this is guess work right now.

You'll still need to follow the custom hardware instructions above, but a couple things are different.

  • Instead of an 11/32" drill bit, use a 10mm drill bit.
  • Instead of drilling 5/8" deep, drill 10mm deep.
  • Instead of marchine screws and insert nuts, use the provided plastic fasteners from Ikea.

Here are the fasteners you'll need. Push in the pronged part, then insert the doodad to snap them into place.

ikea fasteners

@yuraymondl
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yuraymondl commented Jul 31, 2019

I understand that the 1/4 inch bolts are quite a bit smaller than the drilled holes on the bekant frame. Are you guys getting any lateral play between the tabletop and the frame? I was thinking of using 3/8 inch bolts to eliminate some of the potential play.

@alucidwolf
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alucidwolf commented Sep 23, 2019

A couple questions here.

Did the Gerton tabletop come with those metal inserts to prevent warping?

I am looking at doing something similar, but only with the Idasen underframe and Barkaboda 74" countertop. Do you see any issues in trying to do this with these two items following your example?

@babakbani
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babakbani commented Mar 22, 2020

Thank you for sharing these files. I followed the instructions and ended up with a stand-up desk with gorgeous stained wood top and tempered glass covering that for a smoother surgface. Wife approves.

@briancors
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briancors commented Jun 28, 2020

This post is amazing. I was able to use it to attach the Idåsen sit/stand desk base to a Gerton tabletop. Thank you for sharing this, and the tips on how to put it all together!

@kirschre
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kirschre commented Jul 10, 2020

hey @briancors, I'm gonna attempt the same (gerton top + idasen base). Were you able to use the insert nuts/screw sizes listed above? Looks like the mounting hole locations will be a bit different, but I should be able to figure that out. Anything I should watch out for? TIA!

Editing to confirm that the mounting hardware listed above worked great for the idasen base (though you'll need 8 insert nuts/bolts). I also used #8 J hooks to attach the cable management "hammock". Thanks again for the guide OP, I'm quite happy with the results 😄

@briancors
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briancors commented Jul 20, 2020

Hey there, @kirschre - just saw this! Yep, I used the same hardware that was listed above, but [8] screws and insert nuts instead of [4]. I sanded it and finished it with some water-based poly and it turned out great. Most stable and sturdy standing desk I've encountered! For the cable management pouch/thing I used the same trick drilling the holes and used the included plastic attachment hardware that IKEA provided.

@smnlng
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smnlng commented Aug 10, 2020

To build on some of the previous posts - for those of you doing the Idasen and Gerton combo, keep in mind that the Idasen does not use the same hardware as the Bekant (the plugs). Instead, it uses 8 flat metal hex screws and I had to use a 3/16" drill bit to drill the holes in order to use the Idasen hardware onto the Gerton. I didn't purchase the insert nuts and it seemed to work fine.

@TedCot
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TedCot commented Aug 26, 2020

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I'm attempting to do the same with a Gerton top and Idasen legs.
The first problem I ran into was that there were no flanged insert nuts available where I live. I've checked with 5 Home Depot, Lowes and Lee Valley, and the only kinds of insert nuts I was able to get my hands on were either the plain (supposedly for softwood) and the threaded ones by E-Z Lok (https://www.ezlok.com/ezknife-insert-400-3?_ga=2.148403824.695032803.1598287426-1267185150.1598287426).
When I screwed the E-Z Lok nuts into the 3/8" holes I've drilled according to the manufacturer's instructions, the area around the hole immediately bulges out.
Can someone please advise if I'm using the wrong kind of nuts or would I need to drill a slightly bigger hole?
Thanks in advance for your help.

@kirschre
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kirschre commented Aug 26, 2020

@TedCot I ran into the same trouble with home depot/lowes, but was able to find all the mounting hardware at a smaller Ace shop - they seem to have the widest selection of fasteners in my area. Looking at that ez lok product page, it says to use a drill size of 25/64" which is indeed slightly larger than 3/8" (0.391" vs 0.375" respectively).

@TedCot
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TedCot commented Aug 28, 2020

@kirschre You're right. Got my hands on a 25/64" drill bit and the nuts went in fine. I was trying to get away with a 3/8" hole but that was a big rookie mistake. Thanks for your help!

@ziogaschr
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ziogaschr commented Nov 25, 2020

Great gist. I wonder if anyone tried to paint the Gerton to look like Karlby.

@rbtmarshall
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rbtmarshall commented Dec 28, 2020

Thanks for this and especiallt for mentioning the specific size insert nut. Picked up the Idasen underframe and the Gerton tabletop today at Ikea. Picked up the insert nuts, screws and washers you mentioned from home depot on my way home... When assembling I used the the hex bolts that came with the Idasen and didn't use the extra washer or screws from HD .
ill most likely stain and seal the Gerton when the season permits...

@martijnrobertlaurens
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martijnrobertlaurens commented Jan 9, 2021

@ziogaschr You can use a stain or varnish to do paint it, I assume you want to still see the grain of the wood?

Regarding assembly, I too used the original plastic screws? to mount the gerton to the bekant frame. I had the bekant corner desk, but it fit like a charm. My frame was already assembled. I just flipped over the gerton and put the entire frame on it at once to line up the holes to drill.

805B0B88-C6FA-4BD8-93BE-135D84950EB0

@ziogaschr
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ziogaschr commented Jan 11, 2021

Thanks @martijnrobertlaurens. Looks great, nice work

@itaisod
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itaisod commented Apr 23, 2021

Built a GERTON+SKARSTA desk half a year ago, holding up really well so far. I used the screws that came with the SKARSTA and just added matching threaded inserts into the GERTON. Finished with the standard STOCKARYD oil. It's holding quite a big weight with no issue (about 25kg + 25kg of the table top itself). Rock solid at the low position, acceptable wobble at the high position, and the crank isn't too hard to turn.

I had an issue where the holes on the SKARSTA didn't align completely with the threaded inserts in the GERTON. I think that was because the metal plates of the underframe weren't completely flat, so once it got pressed to the table top they stretched a bit and became misaligned. Had to use a file to adjust the holes in the underframe.

Also, after about a month there started to be an obvious color difference where the desk had been covered:
20201106_111234 - Copy

@stavros-k
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stavros-k commented May 18, 2021

Thanks for this and especiallt for mentioning the specific size insert nut. Picked up the Idasen underframe and the Gerton tabletop today at Ikea.

I'm about to get a Gerton/Idasen. How is the stability on this on both sitting height and standing height? Are you happy with it?
I'll have 3 monitors on it and mostly i'll be using it on sitting height.
TIA!

@rbtmarshall
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rbtmarshall commented May 18, 2021

Thanks for this and especiallt for mentioning the specific size insert nut. Picked up the Idasen underframe and the Gerton tabletop today at Ikea.

I'm about to get a Gerton/Idasen. How is the stability on this on both sitting height and standing height? Are you happy with it?
I'll have 3 monitors on it and mostly i'll be using it on sitting height.
TIA!

HI, I purchase the manual 57" Idasen underframe and 63" Gerton top, not the sit/stand model. It's very sturdy and am very happy with the purchase. I use it daily for many hours, and on my three day weekends from work, I'm on it practically all day studying for the classes I'm taking in college.

The base model has some manual bolting adjustments that can be made for the single post part of the legs, I have mine set at about halfway and it feel like a suitable height for me. I have two 24" monitors mounted onto it. Three monitors would probably take up the entire width of the 63"desktop, but the stability of the desk itself would not be an issue. I like the extra space to keep, my laptop and tablet, a small air filter, two LED key lights for zoom class meetings, a laptop and tablet, and other various things on it. There is no wobble at all and the desk feels very sturdy. I feel I could even sit or stand on it if needed.

The first week I could hear a little 'creaking' noise coming from the underframe, where it was screwed into the tabletop. It was most likely from the friction of the bolted metal settling into position. When assembling it I tightened all the bolts pretty well, there is a little room for adjusting on the non-threaded holes, and this is probably where the sound was coming from. It's been in use for a few months now and I don't hear those sounds anymore.

I'm happy with the purchase and have found no actual need to stain or seal the Gerton top yet. I bought a bottle of their mineral oil and applied that, speaking of which, I might apply it again today.

While I don't regret not buying the sit/stand model, if the additional cost weren't an issue, I probably would have bought that model instead. Having the option to stand occasionally while at the desk for long sessions would be nice.

@stavros-k
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stavros-k commented May 18, 2021

Thank you very much for all the info! Ikea will have the lifting legs in stock in a week! I'll get the tabletop to apply the oil so I can be ready!

@amoghsrivastava
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amoghsrivastava commented May 25, 2021

@ziogaschr You can use a stain or varnish to do paint it, I assume you want to still see the grain of the wood?

Regarding assembly, I too used the original plastic screws? to mount the gerton to the bekant frame. I had the bekant corner desk, but it fit like a charm. My frame was already assembled. I just flipped over the gerton and put the entire frame on it at once to line up the holes to drill.

805B0B88-C6FA-4BD8-93BE-135D84950EB0

Hi this table looks great! What finish did you use here?

@ahallora
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ahallora commented May 29, 2021

Never knew I would get my Ikea hack instructions from a gist, but here I am. Thanks for a thorough guide for customizing the table top for a Bekant standing desk. 😀🙌

@martijnrobertlaurens
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martijnrobertlaurens commented May 29, 2021

@yuraymondl
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yuraymondl commented May 30, 2021

Great gist. I wonder if anyone tried to paint the Gerton to look like Karlby.

I did. I used Minwax dark walnut and then used the 50/50 polyurethane and mineral spirits wipe-on poly method to seal it.
IMG_20190808_113726

@hype08
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hype08 commented Jun 4, 2021

@yuraymondl that looks terrific! thank you for sharing. You've definitely inspired me to go after something like this. The Karlby is always sold out, and turns out to be way more expensive than the Gerton.

@fsdgadfase
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fsdgadfase commented Jun 10, 2021

This thread got me inspired too!
IMG_1228

Skarsta + Gerton. Still need to do some sanding and apply a varnish. Added this cable duct to keep things neat. Colour is identical to the Skarsta frame.

@FlexMcMurphy
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FlexMcMurphy commented Jul 27, 2021

@fsdgadfase
Did you get that chair from Ikea as well? What is the name and is it working well for you (and your back?)

Flex

@fsdgadfase
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fsdgadfase commented Aug 15, 2021

@FlexMcMurphy
Nope got the chair from a neighbour. It does not have any brand or information on it. I am thinking of putting rollerblade wheels on the chair, so it moves more swiftly haha

@karlcow
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karlcow commented Sep 7, 2021

I'm buying a idasen underframe.
And I ordered a maple wood board from a carpenter.
He is putting metal fitting under the board to avoid curling. He will put them in a way that they are even with the rest of the surface.

The question is what are the exact dimension of the idasen fixtures so we do not hit a metal bar.

Has someone made a detailed plan of the idasen underframe?

@karlcow
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karlcow commented Sep 7, 2021

And I just found an image on https://pasteboard.co/JgluPeo.png
idasen

@Nikotine1
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Nikotine1 commented Oct 5, 2021

For those who do it with the original plastic plugs, is it strong enough when you left the table? The motors are seriously heavy so I would be afraid of the plugs ripping out of the desk when lifting it.

@hphp01
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hphp01 commented Oct 30, 2021

Thanks for the great info. I am planning to buy a shorter frame with length of about 1.2m and the table top at 1.6m. So the table would protrude out on one side. Reason for doing so is because I have a bay window (concrete slap of about 60cm height and depth). Its wasted space, so if I can do the above configuration, I could extend out to the bay window with this table. Of course, will not put heavy stuff on the side that is above the bay window concrete slap. Has anyone done anything like that? Would it work? I guess, may have to drill new holes on the table top. Any comments or feedback would be great.

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