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ikea fun [Nov. 21st, 2006|04:00 am]
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[music |Mira - Mira - In The End]


I thought I was pretty good at assembling Ikea bits, since I had a fair assortment of their stuff at my old apartment in San Diego. Little did I know that bookshelves and even tables are nothing, nothing, compared to cabinetry.

deliriumdreams thought that a freestanding cabinet would give us a lot more countertop space and under-counter storage in the kitchen, so we bought one this weekend on our trip to Phoenix.

Ever heard the expression "your eyes are bigger than your stomach", when you order too much food, or take too much food off a buffet? Well, that was deliriumdreams and I at the Ikea in Tempe, Arizona. (Yes, that is the nearest Ikea to Albuquerque, SFAIK.) We bought a lot of stuff.

Enough that I had to do the math on the weight quite a few times to make sure we would be safe driving back with all of it; the RAV4 is rated for 525kg total cargo, and the two of us alone are 170kg of that. Doing the sums a few different ways got me in the 800kg ballpark, so we were safe -- although, as I found out later, only barely. On the other paw, thank goodness for all those hours / months / years I spent playing Tetris! We barely had room for everything, even putting the two long boxes on the roof rack.

That barely reference above: the kitchen island portion of the purpose came in three boxes, and the Ikea standard is to put the total weight on the first of any multi-box set. This set indicated that the total weight was 25kg (about 55lb). So I was a bit startled when I could barely lift the first box by itself! The other two were manageable, but only barely. When we got home, I finally weighed them: the first box weighed 55kg, and the other two boxes weighed 17kg each, for a total of about 90kg -- which is not much less than I weigh!

I've sent them a note about the off-by-a-factor-of-four error, as it could be a safety issue (either for the personnel lifting the boxes, or for load calculations like those I was doing earlier). We'll see if they say anything about it.

Anyway, we got back home safe and sound; the RAV4 handled very politely even with the extra 350kg of cargo, and the milage was still acceptable -- about 20mpg, vs the 25 it would otherwise get. Pretty impressive, considering that included the climb from Phoenix to Flagstaff (a gain of some 6k ft over about 120mi).

Building the bloody thing, on the other paw ... it's the first time I've seen drills or awls specified in Ikea directions, and it took me 6 hours (!) to put this thing together -- that's substantially longer than any other Ikea furniture I've ever bought. It does look pretty good, though, so I'm hoping that we'll get lots of use out of it.

VÄRDE base cabinet

[User Picture]From: simmiejoy
2006-11-21 02:04 pm (UTC)

We ran into the same thing with my bedroom dresser. I'm not mechanical when it comes to these kinds of things and Chris definitely is -- but it took him 2 days (after work type o' stuff) to get it put together. I'm not sure which was worse for him to put together -- the individual drawers or the shell.....too much!


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[User Picture]From: tkil
2006-11-21 05:53 pm (UTC)

mechanical zap-titude

I think that some of my shock was in the sense that all the instructions (including "tools you need") are inside the sealed boxes -- so if someone has less of a hardware addiction than me, they could open the box and find that they have to go buy/borrow quite a few tools to get the job done.

A big shock to me, all the other Ikea stuff (that I can think of anyway) either just used the hex key that they give you, or much more basic/common tools (screwdrivers, hammers).

Although even with the hex keys, it was nice to have the power drill and the appropriate bits -- I hate to think how thragged my arms would be had I done all the tightening by hand! (Did that on the kids' game table last xmas, and I could barely type for two days afterwards...)

The drawers on this unit weren't too bad to put together. I think the worst part was building the initial backbone; lots of very subtly-different pieces with weird non-symmetries. I only had to backtrack once, though, so that makes me pretty happy.
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[User Picture]From: deliriumdreams
2006-11-21 02:28 pm (UTC)
But it looks NICE. And it's HUGE. And STURDY. I am VERY happy with the purchase. Thanks for getting that put together. :-)

And YAY! for my ubertruck!

(Only a zillion more pieces to go in two days...)
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[User Picture]From: tkil
2006-11-21 05:56 pm (UTC)

one down, <n> to go

Glad you like it. The instructions specify that we should probably sand down the top and treat it with oil -- there's also a treatment they recommend, that we can buy the next time we're in Phoenix. (Given how dry it is out here, I suspect that the treatments are a really good idea.)

The other ones will hopefully be much faster to assemble. This one really was a noticable jump in complexity and how much work the user is expected to put into it, compared to the other pieces I've assembled...
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[User Picture]From: tkil
2006-12-02 06:26 am (UTC)

keeping with it

Well, if I hadn't stuck with it, we'd've had big stupid boxes in the living room, and much less room to cook and serve from. So it worked out ... just startled me, as I'd been planning on putting together almost all of it in one night, and ended up spending the first night doing just that one piece.

The others did all come together quickly (the next night), even taking extra time to let little L "help" with a few things. Although it likely means that I'll have to be careful about leaving my power drill out, he quite enjoyed playing with that. Eeeek.

Glad you two could join us, and I hope you have a few weeks of staying at home before you go galavanting across the globe again!
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[User Picture]From: shinankoku
2006-11-21 10:17 pm (UTC)

Its a trap

Do it yourself ... some assembly required ... all a trap to make us, the male of the species, feel inferior.

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[User Picture]From: tkil
2006-12-02 06:33 am (UTC)

Re: Its a trap

Since when have I ever required external assistance to make me feel inferior? :)

Seriously, though, my being startled had a lot more to do with the jump in complexity from all the other Ikea stuff I've ever built -- which includes beds, chairs, tables, and many bookshelves. This one really was a big step up the difficulty scale.

(And it's one of the few where I feel they definitely could have made better choices of some of the fasteners -- the top is held on with 8 screws, and there's zero leverage for getting those things in there. Pretty sure I stripped out most of those screw heads in the process, and did a bit of damage to some screwdrivers along the way...)

Anyway, it turned out ok, and sweetie is liking it so far.

Glad you could make it down even through the chaos of your own life. We'll have to hang out over some good sake again soon. (Speaking of which, Wikipedia has a great article on sake.)
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