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Last active Sep 11, 2019

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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

@serradino

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commented Jul 28, 2017

hank you so much for sharing this project.

Today I made my standing desk.

I bought the SKARSTA Underframe sit/stand table top that is cheaper because it's manual.
I used the plastic fasteners and it worked perfectly !

I had to drill holes with 10mm and 5mm drill bit.

Here some pics:
2017-07-27 11 12 58
2017-07-27 11 13 03
2017-07-27 11 13 19
2017-07-27 11 15 23
2017-07-27 12 05 41
2017-07-27 12 10 58
2017-07-27 12 11 04

@joemcmahon

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commented Aug 13, 2017

Thanks - I had the connectors wrong trying to attach the regular Bekant desktop and your photos helped me see my error.

@robertvklinken

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commented Aug 29, 2017

Thanks for sharing!

@nswamy

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commented Dec 12, 2017

Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for!

@nswamy

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commented Dec 17, 2017

I assembled the Ikea Gerton table top to the regular Ikea Bekant underframe(not the sit stand), these instructions work except that you have to use 1.75 inch screws 1/4-20 x 1-3/4 in machine screws. Of course you have to drill the holes at the appropriate place.

@sc0ttman

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commented Jan 16, 2018

I did the same mod as @serradino but using the metal insert nuts as @mdo suggested. 🎉

@SalvatorBruno

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commented Jan 27, 2018

I had a success using the original plastic fasteners for Bekant + Gerton combo.

One thing you want to be careful about is the middle metal rail if you want to use it. It is not symmetrical, therefor it will not work if you just attach it to the middle of the table desk. I recommend this:

  1. first attach the two on the side
  2. then put the frame onto it where you want it to be
  3. mark with a pencil where the middle rail should be
  4. remove the frame
  5. attach the middle rail

bekant gerton_1

Another issue is where to drill the 4 corner holes for the cable holding net. Here is what worked for me:

bekant gerton_2

Good luck. The table top looks really nice. Next step for me is oiling the wood for protection against stains.

@alexamorales

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commented Apr 19, 2018

I assembled the Ikea Gerton table top to the regular Ikea Bekant underframe(not the sit stand), these instructions work except that you have to use 1.75 inch screws 1/4-20 x 1-3/4 in machine screws. Of course you have to drill the holes at the appropriate place.

@nswamy What is the size of BEKANT underframe in your case?

@salmankhann

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commented Apr 27, 2018

@mdo where did you attach the up/down controls?

@ziwzih

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commented Jun 25, 2018

@serradino Very late on this thread but, that looks awesome man! I am thinking of doing the same thing. The skarsta says it has a weight limit of 120lbs and the gerton is 60lbs. Have you had any issues, did that concern you at all?

@idrysdale

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commented Aug 23, 2018

I also opted for the SKARSTA Underframe here in the UK. I bought these bits from Screwfix, too:

The SKARSTA Underframe says it's max load is 25kg, and the GERTON weighs in at 26.74 kg. It's felt stable enough working with a laptop and monitor.

Thanks for the guide!

@matthewpetch

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commented Oct 10, 2018

This is great. I was just looking at the BEKANT legs (the cheap ones) and the GERTON top wishing they'd be compatible, then I stumble upon this!

@elliotwoods

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commented Oct 15, 2018

Here's a DXF of the hole pattern for the Bekant leg mounting
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nazuob0cr44af4y/Bekant%20Hole%20Pattern.dxf?dl=0

image

Notes:

  • I haven't finished assembling yet (the surface comes tomorrow) so this isn't 100% verified yet
  • The 600x1800mm surface in the drawing can be ignored - that's just my personal one
@elliotwoods

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commented Oct 28, 2018

Also of note, here we made one desk with the M6 insert nuts, and 2 desks with the provided plastic fasteners.
I strongly recommend using the provided plastic fasteners because it is much easier, and you don't need any more hardware.

@gr2m

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commented Mar 2, 2019

Thanks for sharing! I want to turn our Bakent standing desk into a feeding table :) I’ll post images from the process

@nickarora

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commented Apr 20, 2019

First, I wanted to say thanks! this gist helped me out as I went through the process -- I wanted to contribute some trouble shooting tips in case others run into the same issues:

  1. If you hit the insert nuts at the wrong angle with your hammer, you can potentially damage/warp them. They'll lay flush with the table but you won't be able to screw anything in! If this happens to you, pick up a 1/4-20 tap and a tap wrench. You can clean up and damage done to the inner threads using this method.

  2. When you are done, don't forget to give your desktop a rubdown with danish oil. it'll protect it from coffee stains and dings

@nickarora

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commented Apr 20, 2019

Forgot to mention -- you can avoid damage to the insert nuts preemptively by pounding them in with the bolt already loosely screwed in!

@grantland

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commented Jun 25, 2019

I was able to follow the metal insert but instructions to use a 3/4" Baltic birch plywood top on my Skarsta crank sit/stand desk. The only problem was that the insert nuts weren't hammering in easily, so I had to use my arbor press which made it really easy.

@yuraymondl

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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.

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