The ultimate resource for help assembling flat pack funriture in the UK.

October 1st, 2019

Most slatted beds are fairly simple to assemble and all you have to do is attach 4 feet, connect the four sides, before installing the slats.

Occasionally, you come across items that are more difficult to assemble. This particular bed is a “bed in box” ie the entire bed comes in one box.

Usually they come in two or three boxes, because the sides are long and thin compared to the headboard and footboard. The slats for the base you lie on can be packed separately or with either.

So to get the whole bed in one box the simple solution is to cut the side pieces in half. As a result during assembly you then have the additional task of building the sides. So these beds always take a bit longer to build.

Using one box has great advantages for the supplier. It is easier to store in warehouses and load into trucks for delivery, two significant costs in the furniture supply chain. This saving should and is reflected in the price of the bed.

This particular bed in a box from Dreams surprised me with the relatively large amount of hardware to build it. Therefore if you buy this bed be prepared to spend double the usual time.

Assembly Tips

- The method of assembly described in the instructions is difficult on your own.

- I have been building beds for 18 years and it is relatively easy to do, if you do as follows:-

1)

Loosely fit no more than 2 bolts to each side of the head board and foot board.

2) Start by connecting one side to the head board tightly. This should simply slot in. Add any third and fourth bolts now and secure. The head board should now be leaning forward a little, but stable.

3) Connect the opposite side to the head board, again tightly.

4) Now lift one side and hook it into the footboard. The other side will lift and sag a little but this is usually not a problem, if left for a short time.

5) Then lift and fit the other side straight away, so you don’t leave it dangling too long!

6) Now add any remaining bolts and tighten them all up.

7) Finally add the slatted bed base.

Ottoman (Gas Lift Beds) Tip

Build the slatted base after you have built and installed the frame on the gas strutts. Most instructions I have seen instruct you to build the frame and add all the slats first, then lift the (sometimes very heavy) construction into place and secure it. This task can require 2-3 people. If you build the frame on the hinges/struts, one person can easily do this on their own and with far less chance of causing damage when lifting the bulky frame.

As I say this bed has much more to do when building it, as you have to assemble the sides first. There are two areas if difficulty you will have when building this bed on your own.

A)

Each side has a foot, to provide extra support for the join underneath it. In order to complete steps 2 and 3 above easily, I would recommend leaving the feet off the side rails until you have connected all four sides (ie steps 2 - 6 above), then add these feet before proceeding to add the slats.

B)

The other is the bolts connecting the sides to the head board and foot board. They have both tension and flat washers to ensure they hold firmly. However if you try to hook the sides over these you will find it difficult. I would recommend you initially insert the first two without washers, then when add the third and fourth with the washers, before removing the initial two bolts and re inserting them with the washers. Finally tighten them. This will take a lot less time.

September 22nd, 2019

Wardrobes by their very nature are very heavy, and some are very difficult to move. If you a heavy wardrobe on a carpet and want to move it, you can often do it easily. This technique works very well for Rauch style wardrobes and large 4,5 or 6 door wardrobes such as the Argos New Hallingford and Very Prague range.

To slide the wardrobe around the room very easily, tip it up slightly and slide a single piece of cardboard underneath most of the base and then let the wardrobe sit on it. It does not need to be fully on the cardboard. You can then push the wardrobe easily.

TIP: Never pull a Rauch style wardrobe always push it. This also applies to the Very Prague range.

Once it is almost where you want it, tilt the wardrobe up again and slide out the piece of cardboard. This works because the friction between the cardboard and carpet is very low and it also stops the wardrobe frame sinking into the carpet pile.

NB: If nylon feet have been put on the wardrobe (these are hammered in and should only be put on a wardrobe going on a hard surface, such as a laminate floor), the above technique will not work. I would also advice not trying to move it, as you could rip the side panels where the nylon feet are positioned.

September 20th, 2019

There are websites devoted to Ikea Hacking ie customising their furniture to suit your needs. One of the simplest ways of making any flat pack furniture look a lot better is to buy good quality handles and use these instead.

Today we assembled some items from Ikea’s Hemnes Range.

The Hemnes range is solid wood,  but quite light weight and painted in some basic colours white stain, navy black

All items come with the same black knobs for the drawers and doors. These are functional,  provide a good contrast and comparible with the quality of the furniture.

For this customer she had chosen some good quality knobs from B & Q to replace those on her Hemnes items.  At the time of writing these cost £12 for a pack of 6.

If you look at these two chests side by side you can clearly see the improvement in the finished effect.

As well as a couple of bedside tables the customer also had an 8 drawer Hemnes chest as shown below.

These were the handles used:

September 15th, 2019

Furniture assembly is a cottage industry, but with more and more people entering the business some form of accreditation is required to give the general public confidence that their chosen assembler is bonafide and knows what they are doing.

At present there are no standard qualifications in assembling furniture. So with 15 years experience, I thought I would put one together, you can only pass the tests if you have experience assembling a wide range of furniture regularly.

I’ve also trawled the BSI standards to collate as much of the legalisation as I can. Simple things like where and how slats are fastened on the top bunk of a bunk bed are prescribed by law. Your assembler should know this. So I have written a guide covering the key points and there is a test to pass.

E-Commerce legislation stipulates that everyone and every business advertising online, must provide their full name (or limited company, company number and directors names), telephone number, email address and postal address plus their VAT No (if registered). Only genuine traders will provide all this information on their website. We do not insist on this (because we do not want out of date info) but ask all our registered assemblers to provide an internet link to where the public can find it, ie on their website, Facebook page etc.

We’ll be adding a few more features to help build confidence in future, but for now we are keeping it simple to get as many people on board as possible.

September 12th, 2019

Expanding pins are becoming more popular because they are easier and quicker to fit, however it is worth noting a few things about expanding pins, because without taking a reasonable amount of care they will not work, and you will damage your furniture to the point you cannot build it.

You will find these on BandQ’s Darwin Range, the Holstead Wardrobe from Argos and most of the Next-to-no-time furniture from Next.

The principle of how they work is quite simple, simply push the pin into the hole (instead of screwing it in), and when the minifix cam is turned, it pulls the pin up a little and the base of the pin expands, tightly gripping the hole.

In order for the expanding pin to function properly, the collar must be flush against the panel into which it is inserted, and the two panels must be pushed firmly together whilst the minifix cam is turned to tighten the joint.

So there are two points of failure, if the pin is not fully inserted, then it will not grip the hole properly, damaging the edge slightly. On re-seating the pin correctly in the hole, it will no longer grip the hole with the same strength as the edge is slightly damaged. The damage can be less than a millimetre, yet it is sufficient to render the joint to fail. Similarly if the panels are not flush with each other before the minifix cam is tightened, it can draw the pin out of the hole, repeating the problem above.

Whilst both of these issues are very easy to avoid, it is worth pointing out, that it can be very difficult on wardrobes due to their weight, and on small items such as nests of tables to avoid.

Personally, I do not think these fittings are fit for purpose at all.

Certainly the ones on the Argos Holstead wardrobe is simply not strong enough, and expect over time a lot of these wardrobes will come apart during use from the constant banging of the sliding doors. When I have been building them, I have reinforced the joints with discrete brackets.

I have lost count of the number of Next wardrobes with the Next to no time fittings which customers have failed to build themselves and have called us in to fix them. Next seem rather disinterested in helping their customers when this happens, often telling the customers it is their own fault.

So if you do come across them, please ensure you:

a) fully insert the pins

b) ensure the two panels are firmly pressed together and there are no gaps before you tighten the minifix cams.

September 10th, 2019

Today I came across the Darwin soft close device. I have not seen it for a while, because very few people buy it, but it is quite a nifty adaptation for the Darwin chest of drawers.

Very often when I see Ikea add on ideas, they are very Heath-Robinson type affairs where they don’t really work that well. For example, the original Pax sliding doors released about 15 years ago, had the most convoluted way imaginable of securing the glass panels in the metal frame, which in the long run proved unsatisfactory. The lighting system on the Pax wardrobes is also poorly thought out, as there is no neat or obvious way of hiding the wires, or even getting them outside the frame.

There are many more add ons that make you sigh when you see them, however these Darwin soft close devices are lovely. They simply clip on the bottom of the drawer and find the brackets on the frame with ease. The system is easy to apply and just works.

September 5th, 2019

About 3 years ago, Ikea released the Sondheim wardrobe, I was quite surprised by this as it was very similar n many respects to the Dombas wardrobe. However there are some fundamental differences.

The Dombas wardrobe does not have a good quality finish, and has one cumbersome door that is larger than the rest. Additionally the assembly technique is like a cheap piece of furniture from Argos.

In contrast the Sondheim has a much nicer cleaner white finish, and also has an assembly technique which is up their with the usually good cheap and effective quality you would expect from Ikea.

It seems that earlier this year the Dombas price was dropped from about £180 to £60, so they are clearly getting rid of the stock and intend to withdraw it at some point soon.

May 26th, 2019

We have recently built the Holsted Sliding Door Wardrobe from Argos (886/8983).

We have built this wardrobe several times before, it is currently reduced from £394.99 to £315.99 on their website.

This is a large wardrobe with plenty of storage space. The high gloss with doors look good finishing off the wardrobe well, although these are made from three panels each and require assembly.

ASSEMBLY TIP: The frame is connected together using the expanding torsion pins. Unlike traditional mini fix (pin and cam) fittings, the pins do not screw in, they simply slot in. When the cam is turned they expand and grip the frame. It is VERY IMPORTANT when building furniture using this type of pin that you ensure each pair of panels being connected using them are pressed firmly and flush against each other before twisting the cam. If you do not, you can damage the edge the pre-drilled hole and weaken the fastening.

Generally, this is a decent spacious wardrobe at a good price.

December 26th, 2013

Wow I have finally found some time to get this website back online, I still need to work on the forms, but I have added a new design and it looks a wqhole lot better.

I have also added some links to Andre Victoire, my furniture business which

  • delivers
  • assembles
  • and removes all waste packaging

If you read the secitons on delivery or have difficulty with assembly, you will be delighted with the sevice Andre Victoire Ltd offers you.

Thank you and Merry Christmas,

Edwin Cooke.

July 23rd, 2012

Recent developments of my suite of flat pack related websites has meant that once again we are looking for a small number of additions to the team. Phase 1 of the work is now complete and anyone interested in joining can register their interest at AV.

Provided you meet the criteria and pass the assessment, you will be eligible for a trial period to determine whether you meet the high standard we require. This will give you access to a steady stream of additional local work to support your own business.