Assembling flatpack furniture is a modern curse – something our ancestors never had to do. Yet today, we’re all supposed to be home assembly experts because certain stores want to save storage space.
Of course, you don’t have to do it yourself – many shops offer free transport and assembly, and a professionally pre-assembled piece is always going to be more reliable than your attempt, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself constructing a furniture puzzle, so here are some tips.
CHECK BOX, CHECK CONTENTS
On buying – check the box for any obvious damage on delivery or before you take it away. Try to open the box without damaging it, as you might have to put the stuff back if there’s a problem.
Locate and check the instruction leaflet, which usually has a diagram showing you all the components and other bits that should have been included, such as screws, hinges, shelf runners and weird looking things that do God knows what. Tip all these bits into a bowl and keep it out of the way of children, cats, and dogs.
MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT ALL THE SPACE AND TOOLS YOU NEED
Large items will require quite a bit of space, and a rug or carpet is useful to protect your purchase. A second person can also be useful when assembling larger items and will helpfully be drawn in the instructions.
You’ll probably get an Allen key even though you’ve already got about 24 of them, but you may also need a hammer, pliers, a screwdriver, or other items. Don’t worry, there’s always a picture of what you need, because they think you are an idiot. Other things you may need are music, cups of tea, emergency whisky and earmuffs to protect other family members from obscene language.
CHECK THE INSTRUCTIONS
Give the instructions a brief readthrough before starting. That way you might at least have some vague idea of what the hell you’re about to do.
Once you get going, be sure to study the instructions as closely as an Egyptologist working out ancient hieroglyphics. You need to be certain that every bit of wood is the right way round and every screw is going into the right hole. One mistake and you’ll regret it.
DON’T FORCE IT
Go easy. Don’t hammer or screw too hard – only enough to get the job done. If you have to use force, you’re probably doing it wrong and may break something, which will make you curse and swear.
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