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The weight of the 3 monitors on my 3-monitor arm has destroyed my IKEA table (not real wood). See picture.

I want to still use the same monitor arm with 3 monitors in the same area, where the damage is... How can I reinforce that area that has the hole? Can I use a metal sheet or something? Any other ideas?

enter image description here



UPDATE: As recommended in the answers to this question, I added two plexiglass plates (one above the table and another one below it). Size: 15 x 20 cm x 5 mm = 7.87in x 5.9in x 0.19in. 5EUR each.

It has been working great. Thanks for all the suggestions.

enter image description here enter image description here

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    That rather depends on the details of the monitor stand mechanism. However, furniture repair is off topic here.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 21:23
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    Is this just surface/cosmetic damage or is the 'wood' damaged/crack all the way though? Just surface damage, then almost any backing material(1/4 inch plywood) should do to spread the force out.
    – crip659
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 21:23
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    How thick is the table, and if you open the stand's jaw clamp all the way, what's the size of the opening? This is leading to .... if you sandwich the table in a couple of pieces of wood around the clamp, how thick could those pieces be?
    – jay613
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 21:39
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    @isherwood we frequently take questions on how to mount heavy objects where special steps are required. TVs on drywall. Chin up bars on false walls. OP does not ask how to repair the table.
    – jay613
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 21:42
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    you could use wood or metal, but i would consider 1/4" plexiglass; it's highly resistant to divots, thin, and won't look as janky.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 5:17

2 Answers 2

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I'll assume the arm's clamp is big enough to add a 3/4 inch piece of wood above and below the table.

Go to the hardware store and get an off-cut of wood about 3 inches wide and a foot long. This can be 3/4 inch plywood or board or even a foot-long offcut of 2x4 that you saw in half along its thickness. Whatever. You want to end up with two pieces of wood, for free, each 3/4 inch thick and 6x3 inches.

Sandwich the table with the wood, above and below. Glue the wood to the table. If the table is chipboard, also screw it with appropriate screws. If it's a cardboard sandwich just glue it ... but maybe go longer than 6 inches.

Clamp the arm to the wood sandwich.

The glue (and screws) are to prevent the pieces of wood from sliding off when the monitors are moved. The clamp by itself will have rubber pads for that purpose. With the added wood pieces, and without fastening them, the arm could end up sliding its way off the table.

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    +1. It might not even take a trip to the store. Many things could be used for this, such as halves of an old bamboo cutting board or a couple hardcover books.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 22:00
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    Steel plates would be thinner for similar effect. Through-bolt them to each other outside where the clamp lives.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 22:55
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    @Ecnerwal ya but at $6.49 each they will cost more than the table. :):):). Sorry.
    – jay613
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 22:57
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    @jay613, could I try what you mentioned without gluing it? Or do you think that's too much of a risk? Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 5:19
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    3/4 inch is way thicker than you need for wood, that would be thick/firm enough for cardboard. I would think that c. 6mm plywood would be my choice.
    – MikeB
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 9:05
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Clamps like that aren't for cheap IKEA desks

Ikea desks look solid, but actually they are two layers of thin veener with a cardboard honeycomb material between them. It looks like this or this.

enter image description here

That's cardboard. It's just not made to resist compression. It is made to resist shear, because it's glued top and bottom. Or is supposed to be... QA varies obviously. When Ikea wants to give you a hard-point for a clamp or mounting, they fill that space with chipboard like the corner there.

All the cantilever load of the monitors rests on the toe of that clamp, where it is putting hundreds of kilograms of force down on the assumption that desk is solid. But there's no "there" there. Nothing for the clamp to actually clamp to.

The only way to make this work is to have a large topside spreader that spreads the load across enough of the desk to engage a whole bunch of those cardboard honeycombs. Even if most of the compressive capacity in that area wasn't already wrecked, More like ... 12x24"? And the stiffener needs to be actually stiff over that distance, does not good if it simply creates another compression hotspot. It would be bonkers.

Nothing against Ikea but their desks are not for this. I recommend not wasting lipstick on a pig and get a solid desk.

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  • Thanks for the reply. To be fair, the table held many years with a stand for two monitors. Only recently (last 2 months), I switched to a 3-monitor setup, which was too much. I would have probably needed a 3-monitor arm that had 2 columns to support the weight... Oh well, I'll try some of the recommendations here. Let's see where that takes me... Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 5:24
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    These table tops are surprisingly strong, even though they're only 3mm ply on top with cardboard honeycomb inside. I've stood on them many times, and when I broke up a water-damaged one it took quite a lot of effort. BTW a similar construction is used in many other places as it's got very good strength-to-weight; it's just not great against localised pressure.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 9:21
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    A spreader of roughly twice the size of the base would be plenty, even with the damage, because it's the edges that matter. You really don't need something huge - the honeycomb cells are about 20mm so a 2" border gets you >2 cells away and into pristine material. The first couple of paragraphs have enough truth that I haven't downvoted the later statements so strong they're wrong.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 9:26
  • Upvoting because there are so many reasons this answer is correct. But if we focus (wrongly) on rectifying the immediate problem, I think the 3x6 solution will move the weakest link elsewhere. Like the whole table toppling over :(
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 14:44
  • @ChrisH The trick with engineered wood is it's not strong generally like natural planks. It's only strong only in the directions in which it is engineered to be strong. You can stand on them because the honeycomb is glued at top and bottom - so it makes the piece a truss. But trusses are designed to span, not resist compressive loads between top and bottom chord. Ikea could trivially design these desks to take clamp-on monitor stands, simply by making the back 4-5" out of incompressible solid material. They didn't, so no strength there. Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 18:05

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