Sunday, February 2, 2014

IKEA JUNK.......Poor Design and My Fix

Yep, it's been a week between posts. I've been busy at work getting ready for the next (and my last) launch, and tinkering on the Supra, and playing around a bit on HF radio.

Today I put my "Eggbeater" satellite antenna back up. I'd had it kind of in the middle of the driveway on the non-penetrating roof mount, but when I bought Ms. Swan, I had to take it down because I needed the driveway space.

Well, today I moved the Rohn mount to a suitable place, and put the antenna back up using different mast. I'd used 1-1/2" rigid EMT (heavy wall "conduit" for the non-techies), and it weighed too much. It was very difficult to walk it up, and frankly, that size rigid EMT isn't very strong.

So, I found a company that sells surplus military aluminum mast, and bought some. It's bigger than I counted on, so I had to redrill a bunch of holes, and swap out all the U-bolts I used, but finally finished it after a few hours. Typical "45 minute" project of mine that winds up taking 3 hours! that the antenna, rigid EMT, Rohn NPRM, and Eggbeater antenna are back in the air where they belong, I have an additional 30~40 square feet of driveway space feed up, and a lot less clutter. Still have to get rid of a small Harbor Freight utility trailer that I bought a couple of years ago for a project that didn't pan out, and I'll have even more space.

So, what does this have to do with Ikea? Well, my sweet little wife went and bought a 5-drawer chest to put in the guest room (aka former "Kid's Room"), and she spent the last several days staining it, and getting some different drawer pulls for it. I started putting it together yesterday, and noticed that the quality of this product from Ikea seemed a bit lower than the last Ikea bit of furniture I built, which was also a chest of drawers.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed something funny about the drawer assembly.

Here's a drawer pretty well along in it's assembly. Please ignore the poor stain wife has never stained any knocked-down product before, and wasn't sure which parts were outside (to be stained), and which were inside (to be left in natural wood):

Looks "Pretty OK" to the casual eye, but look closer. The shelf bottom is held in place ONLY by fitting into the groove on the front of the drawer, and the groove in the back panel of the drawer. The last chest I built from Ikea had the side panels slotted so the fiberboard drawer bottom was held on all four sides.

If you put anything heavy into this chest, and some people will, there's NOTHING holding the sides of the drawer bottom, and it will droop:

And I hardly used any force at all to separate the drawer bottom from the side pieces.

OK, so no big deal. I'll just go out to the garage, grab some small nails, and secure the drawer bottom to the sides like it should have been out-of-the-box from Ikea.

This is an incredible CHEAPENING of the product. I can kind of understand them designing it without the grooves in the side plates to save a few cents, but to not even give you 25 cents worth (probably less considering how many millions of this size nail they buy) of little nails to use to properly secure the drawer bottom?

This was a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR piece of furniture, and the bastards chiseled every fractional cent of profit out of it they could.



And no more of my cash, either.

It'll be cold day in you-know-where before we go back to Ikea to buy anything again!

Oh, and some of the holes barely lined up, too.

Sad, very sad.

Ikea used to be a place where you could get low-cost, knocked-down furniture that was of reasonable quality, but it looks like they've jumped on the "Make It As Cheap As Possible" wagon.

Buh-Bye, Ikea.


  1. Unfortunately, IKEA isn't alone in that category. The list of companies from whom I'll buy anything is a lot shorter, these days.

  2. Frantic pursuit of the all mighty dollar (or Kroner)... And THIS is what we get...

  3. Tell 'ya what, Bubba, you have more talent in one finger than I'll ever have in my life.

  4. Uh, didn't you happen to notice that when you attach the metal drawer-slides, they support the side edges of the drawer bottom?

  5. Yes, I did, but I think it still needs a bit more strength.

    Ikea chests like this one aren't very sturdy. Try and move one without completely emptying it, including removing the drawers
    and you're asking for trouble. They flex too much, and the slides will pop loose, requiring you to take most of it apart so you can try and tighten all the loose hardware. If you're lucky, none of the hardware has ripped out of the wood. Otherwise get out the Gorilla Glue and toothpicks, and start repairing it.

    Yes, I think the design is clever in the way that everything goes together with the cam-lock fasteners, but these things just aren't very sturdy.

    Kind of reminds me of the way the Tredway Corporation cheapened up their furniture in "Executive Suite".

  6. With wood movement those nails that you've added are counter-productive. The drawer as-designed is good at its price point, and rated for 75Lbs load. The particular "defect" of not having a longitudinal dado in the pine sides means that it doesn't matter in assembly which side goes where, so in addition to saving them a few pennies on a feature that would not add any strength to the drawer, it makes for fewer ways that the customer can screw-up the assembly process.

    If you go to Lowes and buy 5 pairs of 12" Blum 230M drawer slides, you will pay about what you paid at Ikea for the whole piece of furniture. Ikea are selling it at a price point, and that price is part of the reason your wife bought the Tarva and not something like Heywood Wakefield:

    If you want to stiffen-up flat-pack furniture, then I suggest the following:
    -- Any joint that has cam fasteners can also be glued. (use "Melamine Glue" on the melamine stuff)
    -- often there is room behind the drawer-runners to mount standard pressed steel 100-lb shelf-brackets on the top and bottom rear inside corners of the cabinet:
    -- On particleboard furniture the rear panels can be replaced with thicker masonite paneling or plywood -- bigger home centers will often even cut it to size for you on their panel saw. On real-wood one can't have things securely fixed where there is incompatible wood movement (different grain directions, solid-vs-plywood) so don't add a plywood back or bottom to your Tarva


Keep it civil, please....