Before talking specifically about furniture wheels, it is necessary to make a preliminary statement. The valuable furniture is a personal or family heritage that, in the vast majority of cases, requires proper periodic maintenance, to ensure its charm over time.
We are talking about many types of furniture: corner cabinets, wardrobes, chests, columns, night tables, consoles, cupboards, sofas, beds and various other variants of furniture, not only antique.
The maintenance of these precious objects that make our homes more welcoming and charming requires to move them. For this purpose, furniture wheels are almost always essential, especially for heavy, bulky or particularly delicate furniture.
How to choose feet, wheels, castors for furniture
In these cases, it is not necessary to consider only one component, such as wheels and brackets (with any relevant brakes), but also the bases or feet to hook them.
This result is a rather complex scenario, on which it is good to reflect.
Main features of furniture feet
In some cases, as mentioned above, the wheels are fitted directly on the base of the piece of furniture, mainly near the end of the corners.
In other cases, the furniture has feet. First of all, it is necessary to understand the state of conservation of the material before fitting the wheels. If the wood is damaged or shows signs of failure, it is advisable to replace the foot with a perfectly intact one, so as not to risk damaging the furniture later.
Beyond the shapes (rectangular, cylindrical, spherical, turned, curved, etc.) it is therefore necessary to analyse in detail the state of the feet that will be used as an anchor element for furniture wheels.
In some cases, furniture feet must be replaced or installed from scratch, therefore the relevant materials must be correctly assessed. Here are some useful indications:
- wood: is the material that best matches almost all antique furniture, but also a number of modern elements;
- aluminium: allows combining design choices with rust resistance;
- epoxy steel, offers a choice that combines solidity and savings;
- nickel-plated steel, offers greater strength and mechanical resistance than epoxy steel;
- stainless steel, mainly used for outdoor furniture.
Obviously, the choice of feet must be coordinated and balanced with the aesthetics and functionality of the wheels and brackets used.
How to choose the right wheels: function and load
The choice of the furniture wheel also opens up a very wide scenario.
Wheels for furniture are available in hundreds of variants.
Depending on furniture, maintenance activities, or simple handling needs, macro-categories of wheels can be considered:
- (Unidirectional) fixed wheels: this is a type of wheels suitable for heavy furniture, which can be moved along a straight line (the wall) to allow cleaning or recovering objects.
- Swivel wheels: suitable for furniture of different shapes and sizes, for easy movement within the same room or among different areas.
- Wheels provided with brake: the brake, for heavy and bulky furniture, can be very useful to prevent furniture from being accidentally moved, causing damage to people, things or the furniture itself.
In addition to the function, it is important to focus on the load capacity, i.e. the weight that each wheel must bear.
For the exact calculation of load capacity, please follow the instructions contained in the article Wheels for furniture: essential for handling and maintenance of furniture
Furniture wheels depending on the floor
The practical function of the wheels and their load-bearing capacity have been clarified, and now it is necessary to focus on an equally important aspect, i.e. the assessment of furniture handling surface.
In fact, there is a significant different if a piece of furniture, especially if it is heavy, has to slide on a smooth and resistant floor (such as marble or concrete), or on irregular floors, i.e., with joints or uneven surfaces, or, in a further case, on particularly delicate floors such as certain types of wood flooring subject to grooves and scratches.
For all these different types of use, it is possible to choose wheels made of the most suitable materials, including:
- thermoplastic polyurethane,
- thermoplastic rubber,
- non-marking grey rubber,
These are combined with brackets that can feature different types of couplings, such as:
- Square or rectangular plate
- Plug-in or threaded stem