Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Writes these Instructions Anyway?

We have bought a few things from IKEA before,  so are familiar with how it all works.  The instruction booklet is mostly just pictures, but there is the occasional blurb in it, in 31 different languages!  See how it shows you that you can't build it by yourself.  If that other person is a husband or wife,  the building part  has the possibility of getting a little ugly.

We were told with these storage units that they have to be mostly built in place, as they are too tall to tip up once all put together unless your ceiling is higher than 8'.

The instruction booklet shows you to start building with one side laid on the floor.  And that brilliant booklet covered all sizes of the closets.  Ours just happen to be the biggest size, nearly 8' tall and a metre wide.
 The next step is to add the bottom shelf and the supports underneath. That shelf is held to the side with three bolt things and two little dowels.  At this point the supports underneath are just held in position with two little dowels each, that aren't tight enough to hold it altogether.

So then that two person team that started out all friendly has to tip the whole thing up.  The first closet went okay, although by the time it was tipped upright, the support bars had come out of position.

Then see how it shows you the woman stood on the ladder positioning the top shelf over the bolts and dowels and at the top of the side, and then the man putting the other side in place, which only involves matching 3 bolts and two dowels with the corresponding holes at the top and 3 bolts and 6 dowels at the bottom.  All the while the person on the ladder has their arms a few inches from the ceiling, is starting to sweat buckets, and her shoulders are screaming trying to hold that heavy shelf in position.  
You're right, it's impossible.

So we ended up attaching the second side to the bottom, and then each went up a ladder and put the top piece in together, which was actually possible.  So now that the routine was figured out, we figured the next one would go together better.

As we were tipping the side and bottom piece up, the husband and wife team failed to communicate and the 90 degree angle between the side and bottom was NOT maintained.  This unfortunately meant that the pressure pulled a couple of the bolts loose, and since this was particle board, there was no way they could be placed back into the same holes.  After some discussion we put them back in with a bunch of glue, but in the end we decided that since the sides were reversible, what started out as the right side got flipped top to bottom and became the left side.  This meant we could put the bolts into new holes.  And since the top fastened in the top hole and the bottom fastened to the third hole from the bottom, the broken holes didn't have to be used at all.
Then we decided that it was best if one person held the first side vertical while the other person put the bottom piece on.  Then they brought the other side over and attached it in the vertical position, and then both went up ladders together to put the top piece on.  Worked like a charm, and the third and fourth cabinets went together in half an hour total. 

And.... we were still speaking to each other when it was all done!

The bed was converted into a temporary workbench

At this point the cabinets are all leveled and fastened to each other.  The backs are on, the holes are cut for the electrical outlets and phone line, and the extension cord is in place.  We just have to finish fastening the cabinets to the wall, and then we can start putting drawers and shelves in.  That will be the fun part, I hope.  Although realistically, having to put nine drawers together is going to get old really fast.

And I wouldn`t want you to think the dogs have been neglected through all this.  We had a nice walk down at the dyke this afternoon with Jeff and Sue and Pippin.

Afterwards we all went out to dinner to use the overly generous gift certificate that they had given us for looking after Pippin at Christmas.
The best part of the meal was near the end when we were having coffee, and we were asked if we minded switching tables so they could use ours to add to the large party next to us.  We didn`t need to be bribed, as it was no big deal, but the manager insisted that we have free dessert.
Who says *no* to free dessert....
certainly not me!


  1. Your IKEA project is coming along nicely even though their directions are nutty
    Benny & Lily

  2. Great work on you closet project. The still speaking part is most important. I see the dogs had a good time, and free dessert. Sounds like a great day.

  3. Gee, I so laughed - so true how such a project goes or many. In fact had one here today with water being sprayed everywhere & over us & so laughed & laughed.
    Amazing Karen. Such a great description!!!!
    And to enjoy a beautiful sunny day as well. Ah, the blessings

  4. You should write new instructions for them and then send them to the manufacturer..It never ceases to amaze me..I am sure they never ever use their own instructions. It will be a great unit when you get it done!
    Building drawers isn't too bad..I built all the ones for the kitchen, once you get the routine down it will be fine:)

  5. Janice, you might as well laugh, because it sure doesn't make things go any better if you get mad instead:)

    Far Side, you are right, once I got the technique down, I could put a drawer together in 5 minutes.

  6. I'm quite impressed that you thought ahead to cover the bed - while you used as a work bench.

    We've lost nuts and bolts when doing thus without preparing the bed..
    not to mention the grime on the bed spread.

    I hate projects like that

  7. Actually Pamela, we didn't cover the bed the first day. It was hard to see things on it, and things got lost in the folds, so Larry put some of that IKEA cardboard to good use the second day:)

  8. I love the way they instruct the woman to hold the shelf above her head sweating. We always get all the hard work.


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