Wheels for chairs (wooden, dining room chairs)

NickVon

Well-Known Member
Any recommendations on appropriate hardware to to place wheels on some set chairs (Tables and a Desk.) We have money, so I don't need bargain basement options and would like something reliable.

My initial thoughts, was to source fixed seating transport dolly's, but the ones I could find all seemed to have bases wider then our chairs.

We do not have a metal shop, the program has quality funding, but not a lot in the way of shop facilities, or tools beyond the basics. (Table saw, Compound Miter, hand tools)

I've been thinking along this style. Drill a whole with a drill press, put in a pin sheath , and slot a pin style caster https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SLY8DP5/?tag=controlbooth-20

We have accounts at Grainger and such, but I've had a hard time finding this style wheel hardware, as I'm not sure on the specific terms I should be looking for. I've Found these : https://www.grainger.com/search/mat...&searchQuery=chair+wheels&sst=4&tv_optin=true
But what do I need to thread them into a wooden chair. (a 'Female' bolt socket?)


We are looking about about 13 sets(4 wheels)

I'm a little out of my depth with set and hardware in this world.
Any thoughts appreciated.
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Any recommendations on appropriate hardware to to place wheels on some set chairs (Tables and a Desk.) We have money, so I don't need bargain basement options and would like something reliable.

My initial thoughts, was to source fixed seating transport dolly's, but the ones I could find all seemed to have bases wider then our chairs.

We do not have a metal shop, the program has quality funding, but not a lot in the way of shop facilities, or tools beyond the basics. (Table saw, Compound Miter, hand tools)

I've been thinking along this style. Drill a whole with a drill press, put in a pin sheath , and slot a pin style caster https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SLY8DP5/?tag=controlbooth-20

We have accounts at Grainger and such, but I've had a hard time finding this style wheel hardware, as I'm not sure on the specific terms I should be looking for. I've Found these : https://www.grainger.com/search/material-handling/transporting/casters-wheels/casters/stem-casters/threaded-stem-casters?attrs=Stem+Length|3/4+in~~Thread+Size|5/16"-18&filters=attrs&searchQuery=chair+wheels&sst=4&tv_optin=true
But what do I need to thread them into a wooden chair. (a 'Female' bolt socket?)


We are looking about about 13 sets(4 wheels)

I'm a little out of my depth with set and hardware in this world.
Any thoughts appreciated.
@NickVon A few queries:
1; What surface(s) are they rolling on; wood, floor cloths, carpets?
2; Will actors be seated on the chairs while rolling or will they be unloaded??
3; Will the motion of the chairs be part of the blocking or are they only moved for setting and striking???
4; Will the chairs be moved by performers or crew????
5; Will the chairs always be handled by the same people?????
6; Have you considered flat Teflon or UHMW material in black attached with a counter-bored Pan head woodscrew??????
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
Will people be sitting in these chairs? Will they be actively moving about on them? Typical office chairs with wheels have a larger base diameter than dining chairs to help prevent them tipping out from underneath one when sitting and moving; a little care should be exercised with wheeled dining chairs (that were not originally designed to be wheeled).

Putting a stem-style caster in the leg will necessarily weaken the leg (due to the required drilling); if the hole is a significant portion of the leg's cross-section, this could be a significant weakening of it. A swiveling stem caster will also be applying a torque or offset force to the stem since the wheel is off-center, as it must be to swivel properly. This, in turn, applies a bending force to the weakened part of the leg, and could well lead to it splitting or breaking, depending on the leg design and construction. Thin legs, like Louis XV styles, will of course be the most affected. Surrounding the end of the leg with some sort of a sleeve or ferrule would help strengthen it somewhat. Using a caster design that doesn't require removing support material would also be a big help, such as a cup mount caster. Lee Valley sells some nice-looking (but not really inexpensive) brass cup mount casters.

Another potential option is to use a ball transfer as a caster. That avoids the bending forces on the legs, and potentially might be able to be inset partway into the leg and so have a low profile. They probably would not roll very well over shag carpet (but, then again, neither would most small casters). I'd probably look into these if I were in your situation...or sliders as Ron mentions.
 

DRU

Active Member
Some additional details, like from Ron's post, and/or pictures would be helpful.

Depending on the desk size/type, you might want to go with pneumatic lift casters or pneumatic brakes.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Stem casters. The screw in kind could be secured with threaded inserts but depending on the girth of the chair leg you may want to penetrate deeper in the wood or add a thin steel cap to act as a ferrule to keep the leg from splitting. I can tell you from experience that you want to make sure all the legs are drilled at precisely the same angle, which would be perpendicular to the plane the chair sits level at. < wow horrible sentence that>
I would suggest setting a plywood square on the table of your drill press then setting the chair seat upside down on that. If you don't get Stem caster plumb they will want to find the complementary angle and will never roll straight.

I'd start here: https://www.casterdepot.com/shepherd/i001-002

<I wholeheartedly endorse these guys they got me 40 very specific, relatively rare, casters to Hawaii in two days, during lockdown last year.>
 

NickVon

Well-Known Member
@NickVon A few queries:
1; What surface(s) are they rolling on; wood, floor cloths, carpets?

hard wood painted stage deck
2; Will actors be seated on the chairs while rolling or will they be unloaded??
Unloaded
unloaded
3; Will the motion of the chairs be part of the blocking or are they only moved for setting and striking???
rolling chairs not part of blocking, only as part of scene changes and striking
4; Will the chairs be moved by performers or crew????
Performers
5; Will the chairs always be handled by the same people?????
eh....... generally, probably yes.
6; Have you considered flat Teflon or UHMW material in black attached with a counter-bored Pan head woodscrew??????
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
Yes. and it was nixed when I suggested it.

There is a very wide low 6ft run ramp that's full upstage up to a low platform that we'd like number of the stage pieces to be rolled up on to and set as part of the "set decore" when not in use on stage.

for the Benches we have, I think I've dialed in on laying a 3/4" ply base, attacheding the bench to it, and using https://www.rosebrand.com/product3887/Cup-Swivel-Caster.aspx?cid=211&idx=1&tid=1&info=Casters.

Will people be sitting in these chairs? Will they be actively moving about on them? Typical office chairs with wheels have a larger base diameter than dining chairs to help prevent them tipping out from underneath one when sitting and moving; a little care should be exercised with wheeled dining chairs (that were not originally designed to be wheeled).

Another potential option is to use a ball transfer as a caster. That avoids the bending forces on the legs, and potentially might be able to be inset partway into the leg and so have a low profile. They probably would not roll very well over shag carpet (but, then again, neither would most small casters). I'd probably look into these if I were in your situation...or sliders as Ron mentions.

Yeah they will not be scooting around them as any part of stage direction, but you've hit on my concerns regarding drilling into legs to then put a even more un-sturdy off center wheel in them. But I kind of love the Ball Transfer thought as a caster? Is there a material or attachment style you'd recommend from Grainger?
 

Ybles

Member
I really like the idea of the cup casters. We'll be mounting a production of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY later this season with a plan to have the chairs and tables castered and moved by ensemble members while other actors are seated. This will give me time to test out the theory.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Speaking from Experience; don't use ball transfer casters for furniture. Because of the size of the balls they have a very small contact area. this means the point load is extremely high. If you are rolling across a surface such as Masonite or Plywood you will gouge trails wherever you go. It will chew up the paint and then the material itself in no time. They also tend to jam on any little piece of grit if you are on a hard surface such as concrete, and they will shatter Tile if it has any voids in the mortar.
Transfer caster would be fine if you put a 100 on a 2x2 piece of ply and rolled a chair around on that... maybe, but not as a caster for a single leg.
 

Users who are viewing this thread