Flat pack furniture - dowel improvement ?

Hi all, I'm about to buy some flat packed dining room furniture from Homebase. No doubt it'll come with a bucket load of dowels and adhesive sachets. Is there such a thing as a 'better class of dowel' ? Are plastic dowels better ? Basically, I want to take little bit more time and make the joints as strong as possible. Is the adhesive provided with these units up to the job or can/should everything be upgraded ? If so, can someone recommend a supplier of upgraded little bits ?
Cheers, Keith
P.S. I know I could spend a bit more and get pre-built furniture but money is a bit tight (like me).
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On Sun, 27 Feb 2005 10:16:34 +0000, KD wrote:

Hi
Much of the flat pack stuff I've has had either too little glue in sachets, or none at all, using the dowels to lock the pieces laterally and using screws or custom metal joint thingies too hold the pieces together.
The dowels themselves I find are fine. I would recommend having some PVA wood glue handy in a bottle. All the sachets I ever had were just bog standard PVA. Fine, but seldom enough supplied.
HTH
Tim
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IME, simply glueing all the butt-joints improves the stability of the item tenfold.
tim
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I buy a buckel load of metla "L" brackets, and use them, especiall for kitchens bedrooms, where you can bracket the furniture to the walls and floors adding huge amout of extra rigidity.
Rick
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KD wrote:

Homebase.
sachets. Is

better
as
the job

a
money
if youre short, better quality second hand is both cheaper, longer lasting, and better lokoing. Real wood really is much better than melamine covered chip.
NT
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snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk wrote

When did they last make reasonably priced furniture from real wood?
--
Alan
mailto:news2me_a snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk
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junk_news snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk says...

1940s
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Unlikely. Decent wood wouldn't have been wasted on furniture during the war or for the years after. Utility ware was made from the same quality wood at tea chests :)
--
Alan
mailto:news2me_a snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk
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junk_news snipped-for-privacy@amacleod.clara.co.uk says...

The stuff I used to have was reasonable quality timber and well constructed, just very plain and functional. It may have been early fifties rather than late forties - it was from the period when melamine was rather new and expensive :-)
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Alan wrote:
Morley

longer
wood?
the
quality
The point being that both the wood and the items made from it were better value for money than any flat pack you can buy today. My parents utility settee finally went to the tip after 60 years (recovered at least once in that time). Not because there was anything wrong with it, but it didn't meet fire regs and no one was interested in it.
MBQ
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MBQ wrote | > Unlikely. Decent wood wouldn't have been wasted on furniture | > during the war or for the years after. Utility ware was | > made from the same quality wood at tea chests :) | The point being that both the wood and the items made from it | were better value for money than any flat pack you can buy | today. My parents utility settee finally went to the tip | after 60 years (recovered at least once in that time). Not | because there was anything wrong with it, but it didn't meet | fire regs and no one was interested in it.
A neighbour still has her parents' *aluminium* utility kitchen cabinets, used as storage in her workshop.
I bet they'd be worth a fair bit if the paint was removed and they were polished up as 'retro'
Owain
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when "Owain"

Big drawer fronts with a sloping overhang ? Then yes.
Also remember the basic rule of furniture valuation. 19th century furniture isn't valuable unless it's European. 20th century isn't valuable unless American. Got any '50s Eames or Steelcase ?
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Andy Dingley Wrote:

You try buying any piece by Phyfe or Belter (19th C Americans) o Majorelle or Ruhlmann (20th C French), then you tell me abou valuable... ;-)
David
-- Davide
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Davide
Phyfe is nice, but it's really a hang over from the 18th century, IMHO, US Federal is the best-designed furniture ever made - even better than the slightly earlier and rather overblown Goddard-Townsend stuff.
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Alan
1920's After that there was plywood commonly available and the "reasonably priced" (ie cheap) stuff inevitably used it.
There's some lovely build-quality mass-market solid timber stuff from the '50s, but it was at the higher end of popular, not the brightly coloured mainstream. It's also very '50s Scandiwegian in style, inevitably teak, and the style is something of an acquired taste ("Tage Frid plays Esquivel").
Even these days, Nathan are building ugly-as-sin "hutches" that look just like contiplank, but they're technically very well-made solid timber, and their signature stopped chamfering is straight out of '20s Gimson. Then there's Darrell Peart, who is some sort of chair-making god http://furnituremaker.com/Rocking_Chair.htm
I spent yesterday doing a flat clearance where an old lady had died and left behind a lifetime's collected furniture. A huge number of wardrobes and dressers from the '20s to '50s. "CWS Enfield plywood" was certainly in evidence, but so was a '30s sideboard with solid walnut slab doors an inch thick.
Sadly the woodworm had beaten me to it. We got three useful pieces out of the flat, two truckloads for the tip (mainly upholstery) and a Volvoful that went into either my timber racks or the firewood pile.
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Alan Wrote:

Actually the much despised IKEA has some interesting pieces made out o real solid wood - just don't expect any size to the individual bits. got a table(18" cube, which I turned into a toy/laundry chest with couple of hinges) in walnut for 16. Once sanded and oiled, it look really good.
Oh - and I glued all the joints with EvoStik!
David
-- Davide
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Davide

Lovely slate-topped coffee tables in solid oak.
Mind you, they're not cheap. I'll do you a similar sofa side table for the same price, and mine has real mortice and tenons holding it together, not a steel bracket.
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Hi Keith, I've just completed a Homebase flat pack assembly of a kitchen (u don't say if that's what you're getting, but I'll assume it is) so I am 'current' on the Homebase system. IMHO their product isn't bad at the moment, and with careful assembly you should have something that will last you a good few years - I'm intending mine to see me out, anyway!
They don't actually provide any glue at all. In their system, the drawers are this new metal sided style, where dowels, glue etc do not feature. The assembled finished drawers are very nice - robust and free running.
Where they do use dowels is in the carcass construction, which I will try to describe. Each carcass corner joint consists of 4 dowels, half in the 'end grain'(!!) of one carcass piece, and half into the 'side' of the other piece. In addition there are 2 specialised alloy dowel systems that are intended to drag the joint together and hold it together - the wooden dowels seem to be only included to stop lateral dispacement. In the Homebase system the special bits work as follows:
An alloy pin with an enlarged head and a slightly trumpet shaped tail has a ridged nylon sleeve around it's trumpet shaped end. The idea is a bit like a masonry fixing - as the pin is pulled, the nylon sleeve which is in a dowel hole in the wood is supposed to grip the chip, which as the trumpet tries to pull up thro the sleeve is expanded and therefore gets tighter and tighter. The enlarged head of the pin engages with one on those alloy 90 deg twist components (looks like a small squat alloy cylinder) that you turn with a screwdriver and it bears progrssively on the underside of the head, pulling to joint together.
I've worked with these and am somewhat underhwhelmed. If u want to do an A1 job, would suggest:
1. When u push these pin/sleeve assemblies into the chip, put some good superglue on the barbed area of the sleeve just before pushing them into the chip, & wait 15 mins before assembling the joint.
2. Dowels. The additional dowels they use are the wooden ones, and if u intend to glue em I'd stay with them - plastic would be inferior. For glue, u can use PVA, but take care not to flood the blind dowel holes in the 'end grain' with adhesive, otherwise either the dowels won't go in properly, or in extremis the chip will split. You just want to wet the hole sides. An alternative is a liberal application of superglue (from one of the larger Scrwfix bottles) providing you a very slick with getting the joints together as open time is to be measured in seconds. I guess I'd stay with the PVA.
If using PVA, once u have the carcass assembled go around all the joints again piching up the tighteners and probably tapping the joints together with a mallet and wooden block. Then leave for 24 hrs to let PVA set properly.
Hope this helps - any more queries just ask!
Cheers
Tim
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It is not the dowel or glue (only strong with long grain) which is the weak link but the chipboard itself. Not much to be done with it really. Just use superglue when it crumbles. YPFWYG
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"David" snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com says...

If stuff is properly assembled in the first place it should be rigid enough to prevent movement in the joints, so the only way it's going to crumble is if it gets damp or battered. Why would you use superglue on wood?
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