We all know Ikea comes in a zillion pieces, and it has a bad rap for falling apart. I do love some of their pieces, they are just so functional and you can’t beat the price.
However, there is no Ikea in Las Vegas (but there will be in 2016!) so when I do spend the extra money to pick up pieces in LA I want to be sure to assemble them so they last. Here are my tips that will really help the stability of your Ikea pieces. First, invest in real tools. I do own the Ikea FIXA kit, it’s only $8 and I keep it in my trunk in case of emergencies. I also recommend a drill or electric screwdriver, and drill bit kit with hex bits. You can assemble with just the Ikea FIXA kit but having an electric drill or screwdriver is going to save you a ton of time. You will also want a box cutter to open the boxes, and some regular wood glue and thread locker.
Don’t try to assemble using the included tool. You won’t be able to get a lot of the bolts tight, and frankly this tool sucks.
Before you get started use your box cutter to open the box and you can lay the box flat if you need a surface you can build on without scratching the finish. I had this hideous carpet (which has been ripped out yay!!) to assemble on. Lay each of the matching pieces with each other, so it makes it easier to locate pieces when you assemble. Your also less likely to grab the wrong piece. Ikea can be assembled backwards, and upside down, and when this happens you have to remove screws that can loosen up the holes and cause the furniture to be wobbly. So take the time to lay out the pieces, and identify what is what and what is “up and down”
When you start to assemble, use your thread locker on all threaded screws. It’s watery so I usually put a drop on a smooth service and just dip the treads in. I use a glass countertop sample for glues and epoxies, but a subway tile works great and can be picked up for about $1 at the hardware store. It doesn’t take much thread locker, but it will really help your screws stay in place and not loosen up on you. Keep a paper towel handy for any drips or extra that might squeeze out when you put in the screws. I also use the blue removable thread locker. They make stronger solutions but there really isn’t any need for it.
Next make sure to use wood glue on the dowels. Just like the thread locker you don’t need much. Just dip the tip of the dowel into the glue and tap it into the hole with a rubber hammer. (or the FIXA hammer with the rubber cap on the tip)
The wood glue will make the dowel fit tighter so be sure you lightly tap it all the way into the pre drilled hole.
After you assemble your pieces but before you put in the cam locks (those round silver plugs you twist to tighten with a screwdriver) put a little thread locker on the screw head in the hole. This critical step will help the cam locks from coming loose. The #1 item to come loose on Ikea pieces is the cam locks, so be sure to tighten them well after placing the thread lock.
Once you tighten your cam locks, the seams on your pieces should fit tightly together. If they are not tight, then somethings wrong, and be sure you have the right pieces assembled, or loosen the cams, tap the pieces lightly together with a rubber hammer and retighten the cams. The piece will wiggle loose if your seams are gapping.
If you have any hex bolts to put in this is when the drill or electric screwdriver comes in handy. Be sure to apply your thread locker and tighten your screws down. Just don’t over tighten or you could crack the wood. If your using a drill, be extra careful.
And lastly enjoy your pieces. This is a sneak peek of my new studio. (minus the gross carpet thats gone) These tips will take you a little extra time when you assemble, but after 6 months to a few years and your pieces haven’t wiggled loose it will be well worth it.