Leg Levelers 101

      A beginner learns the basics about adjustable cabinet leg hardware. August 3, 2005

Question
We've been wondering about the Ikea like, plastic adjustable legs that appear to be so prevalent in Europe. In fact, the guy I work with has said they are all they have there. They do seem to have some merit. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor O:
I have used them on several frameless jobs, and they work well. I use Blum legs for the front of the cabinet only. You need to screw your cabinets to a wall after you have them level. Also, you can't use them on islands.



From the original questioner:
I have a couple more questions about them. Do they save time, and are they worth the extra money? Also, do they come with the clips that attach to the kick board, and how do they attach to the kick board?


From contributor J:
I think the biggest savings is in installation. I have only used them a few times and I just put four of them on each and stand them on the floor. The full procedure requires you to drill a hole through the floor through which you insert a long screwdriver and turn the adjustment. It really works well. You don’t need shims and you just screw them up to level and attach to the wall and you’re done.

The clips just screw onto the back of the toe kick, and then snap onto the legs, kind of like a big open "C". I think it is the only way to go if you are installing in a wet or damp environment, that way the actual cabinet is 4" off the floor. I have done this in several commercial type kitchens where floor is full tile and has to be mopped repeatedly. I pop kick them, mop right under, dry it, and pop kick them back on.



From contributor J:
The legs I get are Camar brand. Below is a link to the company. Look under floors, and then levelers. You can see just what they look like and get more info.

http://www.outwaterhardware.com/catalog/indexes/INDEX-C.ASP



From the original questioner:
We do have a pretty reasonable supplier of legs through Richelieu here in Canada. I am wondering what kind of allowable spans you might suggest for these things. I was thinking two in the front, perhaps 5" or so in from the outside of a 30" (for example) cab might suffice. Or perhaps split the difference at 3 legs per 10". In other words, what is the ratio of adjustable legs per box in order to span to prevent sag?


From contributor R:
The span is dependent on your cabinets, not the legs. They hold about 250 lbs each. On a 3' cab I'll use four. Beyond 3' I put one more in the front up to 2'. Some don't require a through-hole, that is not very custom in my book. The Camars are available from True32. Titus makes good ones too, but the Camars go on faster. Don't bother with a toe clip on each leg, that is overkill, every 4' is plenty. Now you have to try the upper hangers, Camar, Blum, or Hafele; all are about the same.


From the original questioner:
What are upper hangers? The only upper hangers I've seen are Ikeas.


From contributor R:
They screw on the inside of the upper sides up tight against the top so that the top bears some of the load (besides the two screws in the brackets). You have to use 1/4" backs for the brackets' hooks to protrude through. They give you about .5" of adjustment up and down and in and out.

Two brackets will hold at least 250 lbs. The really nice part is once the cab is hung on the mounting rail you can slide it left and right and do your adjustments sans fuss, jacks, prop sticks, etc. The only hard part is getting the rail at the right height if the uppers go to the ceiling.



From contributor R:
They are 3/4 thick by 1.5 x 2.5 that get a variety of colored covers. For high end I make my own matching 1/4" plywood covers that cover the whole upper back corner so that it looks like a sort of nailer, only it doesn't have any screw hole covers or visible means of attachment (liquid carpenter and 23 ga pins).


From the original questioner:
To contributor R: Am I correct in guessing that the bottom of the cabs are kind of free floating?


From contributor R:
Yes.


From contributor K:
There is a recess behind the back of the cabinet when you use the hangers. If you wanted to, you could easily add a nailer in that recess to be able to screw the bottom of the cabinets to the wall, and I've heard that some shops do this, although I'm not sure how easily a run of uppers would move once they’re fully loaded. It's really amazing how easy it is to hang a run of uppers with this system, especially if you work alone.


From contributor R:
If the cabs are hung plumb and connected to each other with 4-6 'sex' screws (2-3 in front and 2-3 in back) you don't really need to go wild with stuff behind them - one shim per cab is plenty.



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