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Putting Together Flat Pack Furniture

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 21 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Flat Pack Furniture Flat Pack Self

Each of us at some point in our lives will be charged with the task of putting Flat Pack Furniture together be it for the living room, the kitchen or the bedroom.

Flat Pack Furniture is one of those elements of DIY that can strike terror into even the most hardened DIY expert and for one reason only: it has a reputation for being incomplete or to contain ill-fitting pieces.

That said there are steps you can take to ensure that the piecing together of Flat Pack Furniture is as smooth as possible and done in the least amount of time possible too.

The Right Tools

More often than not when you receive your Flat Pack Furniture it will contain a list of the tools you may need in order to put it together.

The list normally includes the following:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver (Philips Head or Flat Head, sometimes both)
  • Drill
  • Glue Gun
  • G-Clamp (to hold corners together)

Reading the Instructions

The most important aspect of putting together Flat Pack Furniture is to ensure you have read the instructions; and more over that you had read them properly. The single most common cause of problems when assembling Flat Pack Furniture is a misinterpretation of the instructions

You will find that the instructions come in a variety of different languages but the illustrations are always the same regardless of the language. That said read the instructions and consult the corresponding illustrations before you start.

Counting Screws and Fittings

Another common problem with the assembling of Flat Pack Furniture is the lack of the correct screws or fittings. Many people put this down to there being a short fall in the number of fittings or screws provided but generally this can be put down to the individual not counting them before they begin. In 99% of all Flat Pack Furniture mishaps this is cited as being the cause however surveys have shown that this is not the case and that human error is more often than not the problem.

You should clear a table or work bench and set out the screws and fittings before you start. These will be contained in sealed plastic bags and you should be able to count the number of items in each bag easily enough. It is a good idea to tick off each bag of screws or fittings against the corresponding number on the instructions.

Using Glues and Dowels

Many items of Flat Pack Furniture use Dowels - small wooden pins that are gently tapped into holes and held in place with wood glue - again check before you begin that you have the recommended number of Dowels to use and also that the wood glue provided has not been opened or been exposed to the air. Use only a small amount of glue per Dowel and corresponding slot otherwise you will find that when your furniture is assembled you have unsightly glue stains which may be difficult to remove, especially from wood that is veneered.

Exercise Patience

This has to be one of the most important pieces of advice that any DIY beginner can be given.

It is very easy to be swayed or angered if a piece of Flat Pack Furniture - or any self assembly item - does not go together easily. Focus on the job at hand and if necessary carry out the work on your own in a quiet area. Many DIY beginners find it unsettling if they are being watched by others.

Likewise if you are finding that you are having problems it is best to step away from the project for a time, have a cup of tea or breath of air or carry out another task, and then return to the job in hand.

It is very easy to make irreversible mistakes if one is distracted or annoyed with how the job is going.

And again, where possible, ask for help or advice from someone with experience, there is no shame it because we were all DIY novices once.

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Another useful tip is to lay out the item exactly as it is shown in the instruction diagram. If the table or chair is shown pointing left, then assemble the real thing to match the direction. I find it helps orientate myself. It can confuse matters if the diagram shows the object pointing left, but you're trying to assemble the real thing with it pointing right. Sounds obvious, but it's a mistake I made several times before realizing.
ManWithSword - 25-Oct-11 @ 2:45 PM
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