Hackers Help photo-740225

Published on September 5th, 2013 | by Jules Yap


Hacker Help: Un-hacking a Lack?


Materials: Lack

Description: I currently have two sets of Lack side tables stacked on top of each other and glued together that serve as storage, one on each side of my TV cabinet. It’s worked OK for the past year, but I want to upgrade it to something that looks just a bit nicer. I was able to get another pair of Lack side tables (so I now have a total of 6) of Craigslist for cheap but they’re in a different color.

Ideally, what I’d like to do is have something I’d like to do is have the same basic thing but have it so that each Lack-stack is sitting on the third Lack tabletop (so it would be top, legs, top, legs, top). The problem is that the I (a) want to keep the red and (b) would be really bothered by the black of the new Lack tables just being at the bottom.

So is there a way for me to un-glue the Lack stacks I have now without damaging them too badly so that I can put the red tabletops on the top and the bottom and the black ones in the middle? If not I can just repaint or decoupage all the shelves but I’d rather not.

~ Q


Wrapping papered RAST drawer
IKEA on the Move: Renovating a Motorhome

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

19 Responses to Hacker Help: Un-hacking a Lack?

  1. Pam Maynard says:

    Those lack tables are just so cool, aren’t they! And the best thing about them is they are cheap and versatile. I bought two to make a light tracing table but I just haven’t been able to find the white plexiglass to put on top. Lowes does not carry them in the store and to order them it will cost way more then the tables are worth. But I’ll keep looking! ,I see that you did complete your project only you did not post a pic so we can see how it came out. Please post your pic of your newly vamped project!

  2. QC QC says:

    In case anyone finds this in the future looking for an answer, here’s an update on what I ended up doing.

    None of the solutions offered (as great as they were) worked for me. They either required far too much physical effort or required tools I didn’t have and couldn’t justify the expense of buying for this one project. As for painting it or buying new ones, I had much the same issue. I know that Lacks are cheap, but (a) I’m in grad school and so am tight on money and (b) it would physically pain me to buy something new (or even new-to-me) to replace something I already own that is perfectly functional. Even getting them for cheap off CL and finding another use for the two black ones I already had wouldn’t be ideal– it took me AGES to find the ones I do have (where I live, people don’t seem to understand that things posted on CL should be less than, not more than or equal to the retail price). In addition, because these Lacks are glossy ones, the need for primer would add to the expense if I had to paint, and I don’t have the ability to spraypaint, which removes one of the easier options.

    What I ended up doing was taking the bottom set of legs off the ones pictured. These were then added to the black tops I had, which had been decoupaged using homemade modpodge with pages from a book I had two copies of. These tables were then attached to the tops of the red cubes using a combination of braces and dowel rods.

    There was a bit more to it than that in the end, as these were integrated with the rest of my entertainment center/setup (the “TV cabinet” I mentioned earlier was really more of an Expedit 2×2 my TV sat on), but that’s the gist for this part of it. Obviously other solutions might work better for others, given their varying resources, but for me I wasn’t able to unhack my Lacks.

  3. Ab says:

    Why not just use masking tape and re-paint them as you need it without risking damage?

  4. Fhrguy says:

    Why the drama? They are cheap. Buy new ones and do it again.
    You can consider these tables almost disposable.
    You’ve spent more time thinking about a solution than earning the replacement money.

    Good luck.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The problem with removing glue from the LACK table is that it is constructed with paper fiber and glue. If you used ordinary PVA wood glue, damp heat will weaken the glue, but it will also weaken the glue inside the table top. Very lightly scoring at an angle into the top at the joint will allow you to twist the legs off, only damaging the part of the corner that will be covered again. The real problem is that it will still look totally ridiculous with the black LACK in the middle. You should just leave it assembled as-is, add the bottom shelf, and paint the whole thing a nice chartreuse.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have you considered using one a Japanese flush cutting saw?
    Example: http://www.garrettwade.com/japanese-flush-cutting-saw/p/49I07.06/
    I’d think it would give you more control if you try to cut between the leg and table top to get at the glue. Of course, there will probably still be scuffing in the immediate area, but if you’re willing to paint over the unit, it won’t matter.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Try a thin fishing line :) they are cheap enough to give it a shot. Goodluck

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve lived in the south, so I’m definitely familiar with heat melting all manner of things (including parts of my car that weren’t ever intended to be fused together). Right now I don’t have air conditioning and my apartment’s small enough to simulate something of the closed car effect, but I haven’t been able to get any play from this.

    I’d rather not try and bend them like that because I’d rather just make what I have work, even if it’s not exactly what I want, rather than risk breaking them and having to buy more.

    I think I probably will reassemble it with dowel rods instead of screws or wood glue when I’m done– seems to make the most sense as far as disassembly is concerned. When I first put this together, though, I didn’t have a power screwdriver, so that option wasn’t really available to me. Thanks for all the help!


  9. Jenny says:

    I agree with scoring the table top, that way if it does rip up, it won’t take too big of a chunk with it outside of the leg.

    Try heat, because the worst it could do is dry the glue better- and at this point your glue is already as dry as it gets. Here in Texas heat will eventually make the glue that holds together all sorts of bits inside cars either soft or dry and brittle. So, if it is hot where you live, try sticking them in the car-oven for the day. Then just go at it, try twisting to loosen the leg from the tabletop. If it doesn’t come off easily, I’d go for placing a rag over a flat metal object to try and wedge it between the table top and the leg without scratching it.

    If that fails, you’ll have to try and bend one table away from the other, like you’re breaking a stick. This is the most likely to mess up the table top and/or legs, but at least you’ll definitely get two useable table tops out of the set, so you’ll only have to buy 2 more.

    Finally, not sure how deep the screws for the lack legs go, but maybe you could attach the tables together with holes and dowel pins? Some of my ClosetMaid shelves and cabinets stack this way, it’s very sturdy as long as you don’t try to pick the whole thing up, especially if you attach the highest cabinet to the wall. No glue to mess with this way, though your table tops will have holes under the legs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A hair dryer seems to help a little but I don’t think it’d ultimately be worth the effort– it just seems to make it a LITTLE bit easier, but it still requires essentially sawing through the layer of wood glue. Thanks for the suggestion, though– it was definitely worth trying!


  11. Melanie @ Live from B5 says:

    Depending on the glue, you could also hold a hair dryer to where they are glued and see if you can melt the glue enough to stick something in between to pry them apart.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This kind of works, but it requires a lot of effort and I think that eventually you’d have to “score” it in pretty deep, to the point where you’re almost cutting all the way through. It’s definitely a start, though, thanks!


  13. Stephen Downie says:

    My thought would be to ‘score’ with a blade like one would do to cut glass. Do this on the table you want to remove the legs from. The surface with separate with the legs when you unscrew it but it will not be a jagged cracked mess on the cracks if you try and force it apart.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So, embarrassing as it is to admit, I don’t actually OWN a saw and I don’t have anyone I can borrow one from anymore. Creative tool use, however, has revealed that this does seem to work– you can actually almost saw through the wood glue itself with a knife without risking damage to the actual furniture TOO much. It takes a lot of effort though and so I’m not sure it’s worth it for this. If I had an actual saw though, I think this would definitely be a good solution. Thanks!


  15. Nicole N says:

    Worst case scenario, if you can’t unglue the legs, it might be an option to saw the legs close to the glued join, and then you’d have an easier time grinding off the stumps left. Of course, then you’d have to think about the possibility of needing to grind down all the legs, and damaging the surface that was glued…

  16. Ostracon C.E. says:

    The upper top can’t be unscrewed until the glued legs are free from the lower top.

  17. Anonymous says:

    How is the rest of it assembled? What if you screwed off the bottom legs and the upper top. Then you could make the current lower shelf the bottom, replace the current upper red top with the black one, and put the red pieces on top of it all, making the black one the middle piece like you wanted.

    Or just force it all apart and hope the new legs cover the mess where the glue used to be.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi– It’s wood glue, unfortunately, so I don’t know how well the putty knife would work. I don’t actually own a putty knife, but I’ve used the closest equivalents I can find and I’ve barely been able to make a dent.

    Your suggestion of putting the black on the top instead of the middle is definitely worth thinking about though. My one concern there would be the ease of disassembling it in the future, but I think if I just used wooden dowels this time around instead of screws or wood glue that would probably help.


  19. Ostracon C.E. says:

    Hi Q,

    Do you know what type of glue that was used? If it’s hot glue you may be able to heat a putty knife and slide it between the end of the leg and the table top. If it’s a stronger glue than that I don’t see how it can be taken apart without damaging the surface of the table top or chipping the surface of the ends of the legs.

    If it were me, I would do the opposite of what you suggest. Instead of having the black in the middle, I’d remove the red legs that are on the bottom and replace them with the black legs, then use the red legs you took off and put them on the black top, then glue that assembly onto the top of the red stack.


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