Forever Chair Glides

One of life's minor problems that can become major aggravations are the glides one installs on the legs of chairs to protect the floor as people shuffle the chairs around.
I've tried a lot of things. Glides that are nailed to the end of the leg always seem to pull out, and tear the floor up if not caught in time. Soft plastic mushrooms. Felt wears out and also captures grit. Polished steel works, but seems to come only in nail-style glides. And so on.
Gradually a list of requirements formed:
1. Must attach using a screw. No nails!
2. Must have a hard smooth durable surface that will not accumulate or embed grit.
3. It should not wear out in less than ten years.
4. It cannot rust or corrode in indoor service. Outdoor service a plus.
5. It would be nice if they accommodate slightly uneven floors.
6. It would be nice if they weren't too expensive.
I did think of polished thick (stainless) steel washers countersunk to accept a flat head wood screw. These can be found, but they are something like $5 per washer. I could make them, but it would be a lot of washers to make. And I'm not the first to have this problem, so there has to be a commercial product.
Then I thought of engineering plastics, the expensive kinds that don’t so easily mushroom under pressure. Delrin jumped to mind, as it is quite strong and hard, can be press fit (does not creep), and is very slippery. Makes good bearings. This I could also machine, and a lot more easily than with stainless steel.
On a lark, I googled on "delrin chair glide". Bingo - somebody already makes them. So I bought a bunch and installed them on the four dining room chairs several months ago. They worked very well, so I installed them on the six kitchen chairs in May 2014. And replaced two failing nail-style glides just in time to save the floor. (These glides can also be used for tables, but I don’t recall if I installed any glides on the tables.)
The glides I'm using are "Forever Glides" from Max-Tech Products, Inc, Englewood, CO. I got them from Sportys Tool Shop because Sportys had a reasonable price, and had all the styles and colors. Transaction was smooth. Cost less than $1 per chair leg, when bought in a pack of 20.
.<http://www.sportys.com/ToolShop
Each glide consists of four parts: Bottom and top, both of injection-molded delrin, a piece of double-stick foam tape that goes between top and bottom, and a steel sheet-metal screw that attaches the top to the chair leg. The double-stick foam tape looks like the neoprene stuff used to attach trim to automobiles. (It may in fact be EPDM, according to the patents. If EPDM, beware of oil.) These glides are actually rated for outdoor use on patios.
Although not mentioned in the installation instructions, it's useful to make a drill guide out of a small block of aluminum so the drilled holes will be perpendicular to the bottoms of the chair legs and the screws will go in straight.
For those interested in the gritty details, the US patent numbers are 5,680,673; 7,762,506; and patent application 2008/0148522. Also 7,762,506. There are other patents not listed here.
This was first posted as “Chair Glides” on Rec.Crafts.Metalworking, on 26 May 2014, years before I joined Rec.Woodworking. There have been no problems whatsoever with the Forever Glides. They just work.
Joe Gwinn
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FWIW, I bought a roll of 1/4" F3 grade industrial pressed wool felt.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
It's nothing like the stuff sold for use on furniture. I put it underneath almost everything over two years ago and it still looks like new, despite my toddler's best food- and drink-slinging efforts. The fibers are too tightly packed to retain grit, though probably its not as great in that department as the Delrin. There's no hint of any of it pulling apart or separating, not even under the chairs which are constantly being slid around.
I used tin snips to cut it, and 3M aerosol adhesive (Super 77, I think) under the wooden legs of the dining table and dining chairs. Everywhere else the furniture is heavy enough that it didn't need to be attached.
<snip>

<snip>

I'll keep this in mind. Sounds like a winner, too. It's so hard to trust the options out there because it's almost all total crap.
- Bill
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On 1/12/2017 8:47 PM, william@wilbur.25thandClement.com wrote:

Interesting stuff. Do you recommend sticking with the 1/4" stuff or do you think that the 1/8" thickness would work as well if it provides clearance for the bottom of whatever item one is sliding on the floor?
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The 1/4" felt under the thin metal legs and tiny plastic feet of the bed didn't compress as much as I expected given all the weight. My guess is that 1/8" would be enough for most cases, if not all cases.
The biggest benefit for me was being able to affix the pad with glue (if anything at all), and not having to worry about a nail or screw scratching the floors if the pad failed somehow. And I would think that would still be the case with 1/8", compression or no compression.
Actually, when the 1/4" roll came I was a little worried it was, if anything, too thick. Being so thick I worried the shear stress of being slid around would eventually cause the felt to separate or to separate from the legs. But it never has, which shouldn't be surprising given this grade of industrial felt.
I lightly sanded the wood legs of the dining table and chairs hoping to get good adhesion. The pieces were finished with Varathane's water-based polyurethane, which (IIRC) I didn't completely sand away. I was a little worried about the felt wicking moisture into the wood. 1/4" might better in that regard. But hopefully I won't know for a long while how that turns out.
Also, I suppose that maybe 1/4" was better for the bed frame. The felt isn't affixed with glue. Instead I cut the felt larger than the feet. None have come off or even moved--not on any of the ~12 tiny feet, AFAICT--despite my very inconsistently sized cuts. That's undoubtedly because the feet have sunk into the felt. And 1/4" might give a better margin if a plastic foot/cap ever breaks and the metal edge of the leg starts pressing into the wool. But it's pretty dense felt and 1/8" might be fine in that regard.
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On Jan 12, 2017, william@wilbur.25thandClement.com wrote

This is the industrial stuff. McMaster-Carr also has it, with more variety.
It’s good stuff, but felt in general accumulates grit, like sand tracked in, and even one big grain will grind the floor, especially wood floors. Everything will be OK until suddenly it isn’t OK.

You’re right about that, as my saga shows. Basically, nothing in the local hardware stores worked.
But my key observation was that until the nail pulled out, the hardware-store hammer-in glides which have a smooth steel foot worked the best. This is why I was looking at stainless-steel washers held by a screw, which led to delrin which led to Forever Glides.
The hell of it is that the Forever Glides cost less than the junk in the hardware store. The only disadvantage was that installation takes more work - one cannot drive the screw directly into hardwood, one must pre-drill the hole with a simple jig (a small block of aluminum with a guide hole drilled in it) to ensure that the hole isn’t too crooked despite the odd shape of the legs. But then one does this once.
Joe Gwinn
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On 1/13/2017 11:32 AM, Joseph Gwinn wrote:

On that note, Amazon shows the 20 Forever wood glides at $56, free shipping. Your link, Sporty's Tool Shop shows them at $18, dunno what shipping is. My guess, and just a guess, is shipping is a lot less than $38 for a pack of 20, but I'd check before buying. Amazon is in my cross hairs for ripping off their customers and due dilligence is required.
--
Jack
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On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 8:09:21 AM UTC-6, Joseph Gwinn wrote:

bed

7. Noise reduction Seems the Delrin casters are of hard material, maybe fine for outdoors, but not sure about indoors. On hardwood/ceramic floors, I would think they w ould "make noise", as the furniture is dragged across the floor.
Many folks are allergic to wool (felt), though an allergic reaction usually requires direct contact with the wool. The more common, cheaper Walmart-t ype felt casters are made of polyester, a reasonable substitute for those a llergic to wool, despite the dust collecting and falling-apart issues with this cheaper product.
Sonny
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On Jan 13, 2017, Sonny wrote

On wood, no noise.
I don’t have a suitable ceramic tile floor to test, but I wouldn’t expect delrin to be noisy there either. I don’t recall any such complaints when I was researching these glides.
Lee Valley & Veritas says no problem, well no marring:<http://www.leevalley.com/US/hardware/page.aspx?pP308&cat=3,40993,41 285>
In the Forever Glide, the footpad is connected to the cup with a piece of double-sticky rubber foam tape, which will further absorb noise. Maybe steel would make noise on a ceramic floor, but delrin is far softer than steel.

One can buy industrial-grade polyester felt from McMaster-Carr, if wool is a problem:<https://www.mcmaster.com/#felt /w8eey>. This will also have the grit-accumulation properties of wool felt.
Joe Gwinn
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On 1/11/17 7:13 AM, Joseph Gwinn wrote:

[snip]

This is indeed timely for me, thanks Joe!
I was starting to consider Laguna's ceramic thrust bearings....
-BR
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On Jan 14, 2017, Brewster wrote

Quite welcome.
Make yourself a drill guide block for use while installing glides of chair legs, to ensure that the screw is perpendicular to the bottom of the leg. It’s hard to do freehand without a guide.
The bag of twenty is cheapest per.

That’s serious. The edges look a bit sharp. I bet they cost more than $1 each. Not for use on ceramic floors.
Joe Gwinn
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