Monday, March 23, 2015

Some @#$%ing Assembly @#$%ing Required

So, there's an IKEA about 45 minutes away from Freedom House South. This has been an experience. Until we moved, the only thing I knew about IKEA was that it was Scandinavian, like SAAB, vikings, and ABBA. None of these are good things.

We made a trip out early last year to get a bed for BabyGirl G. When we moved, the movers completely destroyed the bed in her room (literally; they pulled it apart in ways it was never intended to be taken apart, rendering it little more than kindling. When we filed the insurance claim, we discovered they'd gone "out of business"...), so she needed something to sleep on (fortunately, we had a twin set and metal frame for the interim). We picked up a desk for TheBoy, as the one he had been using in MA was a computer desk I'd bought when we moved into our apartment in 1995. He was due.

I joke about being "mechanically declined", but in reality I'm pretty good at putting stuff together from a kit. I've assembled TheBoy's bunk bed, BabyGirlG's daybed, several desks, kitchen table and chairs, and other random pieces of furniture as needed. I will almost always put one part together backwards (it's the curse of dyslexia, I swear) and have to partially disassemble the item, but it winds up in the intended shape the vast majority of the time.

The rest of the time, well, that's what we have duct tape and bench grinders for, right?

Last weekend we took a second pilgrimage to IKEA and got some more furniture. BabyGirlG's desk was also damaged in the move and finally succumbed to its wounds, plus she really needs more than the three drawer chest that started life as a changing table. Got everything home last week and assembled the kitchen chairs (pre-teens and teens are *hell* on chairs; I figure the ones the kids are trashing now are my penance for destroying numerous pieces in my parents' house growing up) and a storage unit for our bathroom.

This weekend, I tackled the rest of the furniture.

Och. There wasn't anything difficult, except for one recalcitrant rail system in the file stand turned night stand, but that was simple enough to work around. Desk, night stand, desk topper, and several other incidentals later, and boy can I feel the effects of standing, hunched over, turning screwdrivers and wrenches. I eschew power tools when putting together furniture of indeterminate origin, as too much torque can turn a screw into a drill in microseconds.

It takes its toll on a back and shoulders, I gotta tell ya...

I will hand it to the folks at IKEA. They've got a fine balance between price and quality. Everything that was put together was solid, sturdy, and what wood there was was plentiful. I've assembled more than a few particle board wonders that didn't fare well when placed in contact with water (and one was a coffee table). So far we've been pleased with the items we've gotten at IKEA, the pain spreading across my shoulder blades notwithstanding.

Having a pickup truck plus proximity to IKEA = More Advil Please...

That is all.


Dave H said...

What have you got against vikings?

I've put together my fair share of kit furniture too, and I won't attempt it any more without a cordless drill. Not a good one, but a cheap one with the torque of a Zebco spinning reel. I don't mind torquing the last two turns of each screw by hand. It's the 30 turns before it that kill my wrist.

And getting up and down. Ugh. That's why I quit going to Appleseeds.

Douglas2 said...

...And I use a good cordless, and just set the torque clutch to "as wimpy as possible". I've got a bit set with the hex (allen) sizes needed.
Ikea -- I could not buy the materials and fasteners elsewhere as cheaply as I can buy the whole cut/drilled kit at Ikea, and I get a design that has been "torture tested" at their expense rather than mine.
If you aren't in a hurry, you can get real quality stuff for the same price by shopping secondhand. The bulk of our furniture has come from auction, Craigslist, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the sort of "antique" store that is really just someone who specializes in house-clearance and sells on the useful stuff.

libertyman said...

The scary thing is that fewer and fewer people grow up fixing or making things.Parents working with their kids using their hands is a vanishing phenomenon, for any number of reasons.I am not sure if people don't value these skills or the parents aren't there to instill them, because they both work all day.

Old NFO said...

Fun isn't it... BTDT, and I agree on the cheep cordless drill. Oh and the Advil too!

JRebel said...

I disagree Jay, there is nothing wrong with Vikings...if you are also a Viking. :D

Bradley said...

Please tell me you are using a hex driver and either a adjustable drill or a powered screw driver, if not why they hell not?

Anonymous said...

I'll give it to Ikea, their stuff is durable. I've got a desk that my dad bought in an Ikea in West Germany back in the early 80's. It was given to me in highschool and then it's gone through two of my own kids now. I've still got it only because my oldest did NOT want to have to haul it up three flights of stairs to his new college apartment.

Will said...

The original SAAB made some neat fighter planes. Oh, you mean the automotive group? Kind of lost their way toward the end. Well, that's why it was the end, I guess.

Now ABBA, they had a unique sound. I liked them. IIRC, they were also the richest musical group ever. When they quit, their net worth was approx $1B. Actually, that was just their oil business. No idea what the musical side of it was. The music might have been a hobby for them at that point, income wise.

Jim said...

Mid '70s SAAB 900 was one hell of a solid tank of a car. Friend had one, and it was unstoppable.

Until that is, it stopped. Then it became a brass bitch to work on. Not because it was junk though; it wasn't.

Frankly, it was more of a "bank vault" in terms of strength than the equivalent Mercedes of that time.

Pity though, parts were rare, spendy and damn hard to get to and replace.

But, it was a solid car, good handling, great safety, and very, very comfortable, withal.

They lost their way in the '80s, and were gasping for air in the early '90s.

Various nation's "standards", be it emissions or collsions, done 'em in.

The GM ownership was a cruel abuse of corpse, without even the dignity of a coup de grace. They just let 'em bleed out, lying there on the ground.

ABBA, conversely, was Sweden's cruelty to us, also without a coup de grace.

Guess they got even on that one?

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX