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@mdo
Last active Jan 26, 2023
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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

@martijnrobertlaurens
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@yuraymondl
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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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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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@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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@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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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.

@andilabs
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https://pasteboard.co/JgluPeo.png

is this idasen, right?

@andilabs
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idasen

for anyone willing to play custom desk top + ikea idasen sit/stand frame

https://gist.github.com/andilabs/c5634f9dfdd98571550c61c0f478e0fc

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