Assembling Ikea furniture... Oy...

Man, this is hard. I’m still not done after four hours. Mostly because of my most hated part, screwing in those damn grey long screws. They almost never go in straight the first time. I don’t own a single power tool, so it’s slow going. And I’ve still got over 20 more over the course of the two things I’m trying to assemble!

Worse, I was an idiot last night and clipped my nails. now my left index finger hurts like all get out when something pulls the skin away from the nail. (At least that probably means it’s not a foreign object like a splinter, so I don’t have to go digging for something. :P) At least it’s not bleeding anymore. But that just makes this thing so much more fun.

But I needed to do this. My old chest of drawers didn’t have room for all my clothes, and my books are piled up on my current bookshelf layers deep. I’ll just be SO glad when this is done… :stuck_out_tongue:

Man, I had to put 9 pieces of Ikea furniture together with gonzomax. We got it done in one day. My girlfriend put a dresser together (the one in the bedroom now) and she had more trouble. Many more pieces there.

It’s painful, but I’ll tell you what -

My cheap IKEA computer desk has withstood a truly epic level of abuse. Spilled drinks, many chips, many more bangs.

For as cheap as it was, it still looks decent and is sturdy as all get-out.

I have to say, I enjoy assembling IKEA furniture. I go into a sort of zen-state and find it very relaxing. Plus, it’s usually made of somewhat sturdier materials than that Sauder stuff you get at Wal-Mart, so you feel better about your purchase while you’re assembling it.

Buy a power drill. They’re not expensive (~$30 or so), and while you may think you’ll never use it, you will, sometime, and you’ll be glad to have it. Seriously - call it a night, hit up Lowes or Home Depot tomorrow, finish it in half the time. It’s so much better to spend a little money on something that may be immensely useful in the future than it is to save the money and wind up taking two hours to assemble your new shelves. (Though I actually like assembling flat-pack furniture; there’s something primally appealing about Making Stuff.) Also - this gives you an excuse to buy your first power tool! It’s a cause for celebration!

(Oh, god, I’m turning into my father.)

I got a rechargeable screwdriver at Lowes for about $20-$30 or so. Don’t remember seeing any drills under about $50, but I could have missed one…

I enjoy building IKEA stuff too. It’s part of why I buy things from IKEA, it’s like playing with a big Lego set.

A power drill is definitely a worthwhile thing to have, not for doing drilling as that should already be done, but just to use it as a power screwdriver.

Edit: I find the material quality of IKEA furniture to be variable (in line with the pricing structure), but the designs themselves are great and I find putting them together a pleasure.

I’ve never had any success using my power drill as a screwdriver. It seems to spin the driver bit too quickly and it never catches (or, even worse, strips) the screw head. It just kind of rattles in there like I’m replacing a tire in the Indy 500.

Just to ask, how does a power tool keep me from screwing in something crooked?

Get one with variable speeds, or improvise by not squeezing the trigger all the way, so you go slow enough to guide the screw.

Make sure your drill is variable speed. Mine has a setting between two speeds but I can also choose any slower speed just by varying how much I squeeze the trigger. Then screw in slowly and keep good pressure on the drill. Also if the drill has a torque setting, start off with a lowish setting so it stops turning before it tries to strip the screw (then it really should rattle like you’re changing a wheel, but it’s the torque setting disengaging the drill rather than your screw head being stripped.) You can always do the last bit of tightening with a hand screwdriver. When you get the hang of using them they are so much easier on your arms and hands than screwing in a lot of screws by hand.

I’m not sure why your screws are going in crooked. Are there pilot holes drilled where the screws go? All IKEA furniture I’ve put together have been pre-drilled and it’s been near impossible to put a screw in crooked. If there is no pilot hole drilled, make sure you’re screwing into the right spot. If it’s definitely the right spot and there’s still no pilot hole, drill one. That’s how your power drill will get your screw in straight :).

Edit: The lack of a pilot hole in IKEA furniture would ring big alarm bells in my head that I was doing something wrong, and I would investigate very carefully before proceeding further. Also, screws don’t always have to be dead straight. Often they start out a bit crooked but if your driving into a pilot hole they’ll straighten up as they get tighter and as long as they hold the two pieces together it might not matter if they’re not perfect.

Keep in mind that it’s not always appropriate to use a powered screwdriver. For example it’s probably not necessary for taking off a tiny screw from a battery compartment on a child’s toy ;).

Of course. But I screw it in, and it often just goes in crooked. I’m not sure why you think it can’t. It just does. One part of the head is touching the wood while another is still hovering above. I just keep pushing it wrong while I’m turning the screwdriver, I guess.

The pilot hole might not be straight. It might not matter, is it so crooked that it is not functional?

Weird. I’ve put together scores of Ikea pieces and I’ve never had one take more than an hour. And I’ve never had to use a power tool. Are you getting knock of Ikea stuff somehow?

That is just weird. I wouldn’t say a screw going into a pilot hole “can’t” go in crooked but that’s only because I’m being circumspect. I have never in 30 years of building stuff and using screws had a screw going into a pilot hole go crooked. Screws, within reason, take the path of least resistance and that means going down the pilot hole. I cannot imagine a screw going off line so badly as to leave the head substantially angled as you describe when there is a pilot hole. There is something wrong here.

I should make one correction: the screws that this is happening most often with (possibly because there are more of 'em than any other) have the twisty part, then a disk of metal (to make it “lay flat,” like the bottom of the head would), a grey shaft, then the head. This is because it’s meant to be an anchor, rather than a direct attacher.

But it’s happened with actual mini-screws too. And it’s happening to me constantly. I don’t get why everyone seems to think it shouldn’t.

Oh - I just figured out why it might be happening: the provided holes I’m screwing the screws into are all, by default, a little too small for the screw. I almost always get this “molehill” effect where the wood pushes up into this little mound around the hole each time I first breach it with the screw.

Which is all normal. The mole hill should get flattened when you tighten the screw. Are you making them tight enough? I find those screws straighten up a bit when the metal disc is tight against the wood.

My husband dreams of getting a job just assembling furniture at IKEA. I can see it becoming mind-numbing after a while, though…

I have no suggestions for the OP, I never get the chance to touch the stuff…

Chandler: I get my ya-yas from Ikea. You have to put them together yourself, but they cost a little less.

I take it there are no ya-yas in your box.

It will almost always have a little built-in level. Additionally, when you’re not doing the actual turning, it’s generally easier to get things in straight (in my experience, anyway).