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    Lance Mannion
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Cleveland Bob

Hiya Lance,

I just put a K/D piece together last weekend for our stereo set-up. All was fine until I realized that there were pre-drilled holes to join multiples of this bookcase together and that I had mistakenly (of course they didn't warn me about this beforehand in the instructions) put the pre-drilled holes on the front facade.

Seeing that it's black and in the basement, I refused to take it apart and potentially compromise the press board construction.

Moral of the story...double and triple check your work before locking those cams into their respective pegs.

Bon Chance!

Here's the link to my project...


Oh, Lance. Sympathies.

One does have to be obsessive with the little pieces and the instructions - my biggest pitfall is that I have a pretty good sense of how things fit together and I get cocky. With IKEA, especially, it pays to not only read the directions, but stare at the pictures - that's how you figure out that what you thought were two identical pieces are actually mirror images of each other, for example.

The other piece of advice I can offer is to have an assistant, and to remove all cats from the room.

Uncle Merlin

I vowed last December never to allow press board into my life again. And I'm sticking to that, I'll read with the lamps on the floor if I have too!

although, I saw a piece from IKEA that wasn't pressboard.......NO wake up you fool!! SLAP!

Molly, NYC

Is this the wrong place to say that I enjoy this sort of thing? It's like Legos for adults.


Lance, Craigslist is your friend. I got rid of all my Ikea for real, quality furniture through finding real bargains at Craigslist. You live near a great urban area - NYC - which means you will find good quality stuff cheap.

I now have beautiful solidly constructed all-wood bookcases that I don't have to put together and that don't start falling apart after a few years. And they look great. I didn't pay more than $50 for any of them.

Cleveland Bob

Congrats, Lance.

You're the Lee Marvin of modular furniture assembling.


And 'tis a far better thing to be "the Lee Marvin of modular furniture assembling" than the Dagwood Bumstead of modular furniture assembling. I guess.


I once put together 5 IKEA bookcases and a dresser on the same day. Not one is done "correctly" as per the instructions. After a couple hours it became the Bataan death march of DIY furniture. I could see the end, but I wasn't sure I was ever going to get there.

jeremy hunsinger

No pressboard evermore... I only buy steel shelves or real wood now. shudders... pressboard.


Sheesh! It's not like you need an engineering degree to put this stuff together, altho I found a delightful neighbor currently unemployed by Raytheon who took my ten-year old daughter's loft bed to the lab and a team of technicians helped him put it together, and even tho they suspended work on a new satellite to focus on the bed, we had that puppy built and delivered in time for her eighteenth birthday.



The problem is, *some* modular furniture is great and super easy, so while certain pieces make you curse other ones make you buy more. I purchased all the furniture in this apartment (except for my mattress and bed frame) from Target or Overstock and put it all together alone. I'm a small woman, and my upper body strength is negligible, so it took two weeks to get the stupid dresser together (every single drawer needed plastic slides hammered in and when they say hammer, they mean *hammer*). My desk has one leg that isn't actually screwed in and I just pray that the whole thing never collapses and lands my two thousand dollar computer on the floor. On the other hand, I have this fabulous "ladder" bookcase from Target that's amazing ($59). It has four shelves and there's no assembly required, whatsoever. I also have a great end table from target and coffee table from Overstock, both of which just required screwing the legs into the surfaces (the screws are built into the legs so no extra tools or parts). I'll be moving soon and ditching everything but the bookcase and the table which I can hopefully just slide on top of everything in the rental car, and I will probably be doing the Ikea thing again. However, we're going minimal furniture this time. Books? Stack along the wall, oh yeah, it's classy like that :-D


I have to second what Judith says about some DIY furniture being easier to assemble than others. Our Target Mission-style nightstands were very easy to put together, with nice brass connections that easily locked into place with little fuss. The cheapo shelf-drawer thing we got for the bathroom, made out of particle board and cardboard, was a nightmare to assemble - lots of fiddly bits and screws that were remarkably easy to overstrip. IKEA tends to be middle-of-the-road when it comes to quality.

One of the saddest places I've ever been was the returns center at IKEA. The rest of the store is bursting with happy modernist energy, cheerful families, pregnant couples, young thangs in love... and then, tucked in a somewhat dim corner, is this little zone of misery - people clutching lamps that didn't work, confusing furniture, and broken fixtures. We were only there to exchange a shelf component - we'd grabbed "ebony" instead of "birch" - so I could appreciate the pathos of it all.

Dan Leo

In the immortal words of Edward Gorey:

"I would rather die."


Forgot. Did you ever read my tale of foolishness with a dresser?


Your next project is the rubic cube of furniture, the Wassily chair (the spindly leather and chrome tubing one). My first one took what seemed like eight hours of mind-numbing effort. The second one (don't ask) took about ten minutes. This is the cheap $150 version, not the high dollar one. Practice does make perfect sometimes.

Good advice: have the guys at the store put it together. Save your male ego for playing Flight of the Bumblebee on the ukulele.

Chris The Cop

But after all that, now you can start doing what for me anyway is one (or is it two?) of the great unsung pleasures of life: putting books into the shelf from the overflow of your other shelves and then hitting the bookstores to fill the rest of it.


Molly, I'm with you. I love that stuff. First it's a puzzle, and then it's furniture!

Just don't call it "building furniture". I have friends who do, and it drives me nuts. If you're not at least starting with a sheet of plywood, it's not building, it's assembling.

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