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I have another question posted about making my kitchen island movable.

To do this, I have to put it on casters. The most aesthetically pleasing method is to have the casters inside that 4" void below the cabinet's bottom "shelf". We all know cabinets rest on the edges of the piece that comes down where the toekick is.... however, to make this babe roll I will plan on installing 3/4" ply, the side of the underside of that base, with 4 casters. Then the cabinet will sit down "on" the plywood platform. However, this means those 4 side pieces that normally hold the base won't make contact with the floor at all since it's going to be mobile. My question is, can that typically hold all the base cabinet? or is it not designed for that upward force from the weight on the plywood platform?

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Knowing nothing about the construction of your cabinetry, I would not trust the bottom shelf to carry the weight of the cabinet, the cabinet's contents, and all the children and dogs likely to be on top of it all. That shelf is designed to carry load applied downward.

Instead, get some heavy angle brackets and fasten them to the side panels of the cabinet using backer plates of 3/4" plywood, which you'd mount with construction adhesive and 1-1/4" screws. Mount your casters to the angle brackets.

  • I am in limbo right now as spring/summer projects outside took precedence but you are right about all of the loads and I realize that. It was more of a thought I had and wanted to pick other minds. I decided against the two platforms that cause stress on that bottom shelf. Even if I used plywood and angle brackets I don't trust the cabinet. They are expensive cabinets but the interior is hybrid of MDF and Plywood in various areas. – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:43
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This depends a lot on the construction of the cabinet. Most cabinet floors (bottom shelf) are mortised into the sides and that is helpful as long as the plywood platform you install fits snugly against the sides so the weight of the cabinet is transferred up through the floor to the top edge of the mortise. Additionally, the 3/4" plywood will add structure that will help prevent the cabinet joints from racking if it bumps into something while moving around.

Again, a lot depends on the construction of the cabinet, but I would not trust the floor mortise entirely. It would be much better if the plywood platform had a direct connection to the sides. The sides of the cabinet are what bear the weight. The front and back may bear some, but not as much as the sides. Even if you have to install a cleat inside the toe kick void at the bottom of the cabinet, it is important to transfer the load to the sides of the cabinet.

  • I am pretty sure the floor would not support the weight. They are mortised in there, but they are only 3/8" to 7/16" thick walls and the mortise is only half that. Not going to even try it. Going with a different design. – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:45
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Unless your floor is extraordinarily flat, only 3 or 4 of the 8 casters are going to bear much weight. So 125 to 200 lbs each for your 500 to 600 loaded island.

That concentrated weight is going to dimple the vinyl, which is going to make it difficult to roll. Plus the 8 casters are going to battle against each other to swivel into the right direction, causing some of them "scrape" the vinyl as they swing into position. Moving the island will require pushing hard enough to npot only roll up and out of the dimples, but also hard enough to get the 8 casters swiveled into alignment in the desired direction.

A better idea would be temporary external dollies. I have ideas on how to make that work, but my point was to point out negative aspects of your otherwise excellent idea.

  • My floor is extraordinarily flat because I spent about 10 days on underlayment prep leveling, sanding, filling, etc. The distance the island would move in a given year is about 1 or 2 feet back and forth for family functions with a rarity of completely moving it out of the way, or even rotating it 90 degrees. I agree the vinyl dimples with pressure. I found casters that have 2 1" wide wheels per caster so more like 2" of surface area. They are my best chance of distributing the weight I think. If I do a caster system still, it will be one big base with 6 casters. We'll see. – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:48
  • To clarify, the entire island would rest on this chunk of plywood with 6 casters under it. The cabinet island would need to be secured with brackets so that it doesn't want to tip. This is going from a practical idea to impossible between the flooring and the size of the island. Can't have it all I guess. – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:57
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As others have pointed out, the bottom shelf is not designed to carry the weight of the cabinet on its own.

I would like to offer some alternative solutions.

First is the Rockler Workbench Caster Kit

The adapter plate included in the kit makes them removable. These are heavy duty, designed for shop use. The reason I like this option is that the "island" would only be mobile when you want to move it and it would rest on the floor when in use. This is important because you want a stable work platform that will not move if you lean on it. The down side to these is that they are not attractive for a kitchen/home environment and they stick out quite a bit and would be a trip hazard. that is where the bracket included in the kit come in. The bracket allows you remove the casters when not needed and put them on only when you need to move the island. Only the adapter would remain on the cabinet, not too unattractive and you could paint them to match.

Next are these corner casters. These would be in the void space under the cabinet as you had planned, they would raise the cabinet 1 inch. The downside is they can not be locked into place. And as mentioned by April they would possibly dimple a softer flooring materiel. I would use machine bolts or hex bolts with washers and nuts through the side of cabinet to secure them. The hex head of the bolt would be visible on the side of the panels but you could paint or otherwise disguise them. These casters allow the weight of the cabinet to rest on the side panels so you would not have the weight on the bottom shelf.

I am not a affiliated with Rockler, i just love their products.

  • I like this idea a lot. I'm a simple man and your idea was something I originally started with from the very beginning. I could not find those bracket mounted casters. My only fear with them is how would I be able to "jack" the island up with my own weight assuming each corner weighs 150-200 lbs in the future after the island cabs are full of items. Have you used those bracket casters before? I am picturing myself jumping on the caster to jack the island up and get it under the wheel, but then that would make it lean and maybe cut/dig into the vinyl on the opposing corner? – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:52
  • As far as those other casters - I do not follow 100% with you. You said through the side of the cabinet but they look like they attach to something above them. If you mean my plywood bases I planned, I still fear the pressure load on that shelf is too much (per other comments I posted) Plus, they would be small enough to have a lot of weight in one area. The temporary casters for when needing to move is perfect if it would work. I'm afraid the middle of the island would be very heavy and have no casters there, and no easy way to do so. :O – Nic May 31 '18 at 15:55

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