Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ikea GALANT Desk T-Leg Review / Disassembled

This may look like a rehash, but I assure you, it is not. The reason is because the last time I "reviewed" the T-leg, I did not have one in my possession. Instead, I did a lot of detailed observing at the store and available instructions. About $40 and that's now no longer the case. Behold, the Ikea T-Leg!

Think of this review as an addition or look-back. I don't have a new GALANT table yet, but I'm in the process of slowly putting one together to replace my wobbly VIKA/Table Bar side desk. It doesn't hurt as much to spread out the $200 cost over a few weeks/months? Regardless, I now have a T-leg.

To reiterate, I have an Ikea GALANT cable and am currently typing on a computer placed on one. Years ago, I had another GALANT table that I replaced with a cheaper Ikea VIKA modular table. That one lasted a few years, but bugged me the entire time, so I went back to GALANT. My current table uses four A-legs and is a simple 120 cm x 80 cm rectangular desk. The plan is to get another 120 cm x 80 cm or even a 160 cm x 80 cm -- don't think the latter will fit though.

Ikea GALANT T-Leg Unpackaged
Ikea GALANT T-Leg - US$ 30 (CAD$ 40 -- FML)

T-Leg in action here
Time-Lapse Assembly of GALANT Desk

The T-leg came in two pieces in a relatively small box: the vertical leg and the horizontal feet piece. Both were wrapped using a foam/plastic wrap that I don't know what to call. Guessing that it prevents scratching of the finish. According to the Ikea website, the leg is rated for a maximum load of 132 lb and weighs 8 lb on its own. The thing was a pain to carry home on public transit despite its compact size.

For a minute, I was a bit worried because the box the T-leg came in didn't have instructions. Normal people buy these legs with table tops, which probably come with an entire package of instructions. Having read the instructions before on the Ikea website, the lack of a manual did not turn out to be an issue.

Putting it together was pretty easy. All I had to do was screw in two screws to attach the vertical section to the horizontal foot section. The tool bag also came with a small plastic cover for the adjustment screw and a peal-off/stick-on bracket to attach an Allen key for the adjustment screw to.

Adjustment Mechanism
Whereas the A-legs that I've opened up use a rubbery expansion mechanism inside the leg tubes (see previous post for explanation), the T-leg appears to use a screw and groove. To adjust the height, I just had to loosen a screw in the middle of the vertical leg (middle of upper tube in first photo), pull up or down the lower leg, and tighten the screw back in. I completely took out the screw and pulled out the lower tube, as you can see below, to see how it worked.
Ikea GALANT T-Leg Top/Bottom Tubes Separated

In the photo above, the uppermost tube is the lower leg tube and the middle tube is the upper leg tube. The GALANT table frame should sit on the upper tube that the adjustment screw is attached to, which would push down on the lower tube. My impression is that the adjustment screw fits into the groove in the lower leg tube that you can see in the photo below. It looks like the T-leg uses friction between the adjustment screw and the groove to hold things up. Also, the groove looks inclined, which may prevent the screw from slipping and acting as a shelf for the screw to sit on. Do not quote me on any of this... 

Ikea GALANT T-Leg Lower Tube

T-Leg > A-Leg due to strength and durability?
If I'm right, I may be more confident in the T-leg than the A-leg for strength as this one is held up using pure mechanical force between steel and steel. The A-legs that I have use an expanding rubbery mechanism that I think is held up by friction between the "rubber" and a rough interior steel upper leg tube. This T-leg is almost all steel except for the feet that unscrew -- for uneven floors?

Also, the T-leg's adjustment mechanism was much easier to adjust to a specific height than the A-leg. For the A-leg, I had to be extra careful not to move the height of the leg up or down as I tried to tighten it.

None of my five A-legs have ever failed in terms of slipping from their adjusted heights, but two or three have gotten stuck before. You can see my fifth leg that's been in storage in the photos in this post. I was planning on taking it apart for a positive post, but the leg was, and remains, stuck -- the height adjustment mechanism won't loosen. Wonder if that 10-year warranty for GALANT desks applies...

Edit: Bought another A-leg and took it apart.

Some of my other four legs have momentarily failed too, but they eventually started working again. No such luck on leg number 5 and I'm probably just going to get another T-leg for my next table. To be fair, I may have broken it by over-tightening. On the other hand, if I can break it by over-tightening using my bare hands, then I prefer the T-leg strictly for durability. Even in death, I am pretty pleased with the A-leg though: I put my entire 140 lb body weight on the leg hoping to get it to move and it didn't even slip.

Don't have a table to attach it to yet, so can't tell. I don't really want to put my entire body weight on it because the maximum load rating is 132 lb and I'm 140 lb. My GALANT probably only holds 50 lb up.

Expandability / Customizability
The GALANT table is.

Everyday Use
Check my GALANT review.

Ikea BEKANT: Is the GALANT being replaced?
Alternatives to Ikea GALANT Desks
IKEA VIKA (Table Bar) Desk Review 
IKEA LAIVA Desk Review
IKEA SIGNUM Cable Rack Review