Ikea Effect: The Science of Cheap, Crappy Furniture



I had a particleboard (vinyl woodgrain) bookshelf unit that I got in 1979. It survived four moves by simply disassembling it and reassembling it. It's not rocket science.

Mine was purchased for my college apartment. And I was perfectly happy to disassemble it and pack it when moving myself out.
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On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 9:53:34 AM UTC-5, Scott Lurndal wrote:

It's also not 1979. I'll bet $ to donuts that even the cheapo particleboard bookcases were of a higher quality in 1979 than the $28 units they sell today.

I'm so proud of you. ;-)
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On 1/13/2017 8:53 AM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Yeah but yeah but ;~) Back then it was quality compared to recent stuff.
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On 1/13/17 10:31 AM, Leon wrote:

I actually do quite a bit of RTA furniture assembly for people in my area. FWIW, I'm very pleased when I find out it will be an IKEA product I'm going to assemble because their quality is significantly higher than other RTA furniture.
Most of the time, the "important" parts of the furniture are actually solid wood instead of termite vomit. And I'm assured that none of their hardware is going to snap in half under the weight of my screwdriver.
Sauder, Wayfair, any of the other brands out there are complete shite, for the most part. I have to go in bringing extra hardware (HD/Lowes started carrying RTA parts) and have to avoid making sudden movements or loud noises, lest I spook the pieces and they fall apart under their own weight. :-)
But I can always count on IKEA for their (relative!) high quality when it comes to RTA furniture. Believe it or not, IKEA actually makes some high end stuff for their European markets. From what I hear, they started doing the boxed kits just for shipping to overseas markets.
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On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 12:15:47 PM UTC-5, -MIKE- wrote:
..snip...

...snip...
You would love putting together some of the RTA pieces that I have in my house. This 9' x 6' x 3' armoire is RTA:
http://s440.photobucket.com/user/DerbyDad03/media/Slide1_zps048d847e.jpg.html
This is one on the connectors that holds the top on (right hand image). You use any type of round pointed object to turn a barrel nut to draw the sections together.
http://s440.photobucket.com/user/DerbyDad03/media/Slide2_zps30d5b0d6.jpg.html
The unit knocks down to 10(?) pieces not including the shelves. The biggest single pieces are the top and the base. Roughly 9 x 3 x 6". The rest are all about the size of one of the doors.
I have a 6' wide glass front book case, a dining room hutch, a curved glass china cabinet and a few other pieces from the same manufacturer. They were made by a German firm (whose name escapes me right now) back in the early 1900's.
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On 1/13/17 12:35 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yeah, those look pretty stout and definitely a different animal.
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It was ugly crap held together with cheap screws. I can't imagine that modern stuff has worse quality.
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On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 12:16:59 PM UTC-5, Scott Lurndal wrote:

OK, you win.
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snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home says...

I have one downstairs that my mother (a great aficionado of cheap) bought me. It still holds up books but it had a lot of plastic trim that fell off very early and no hinge on it still functions. I have a few others that are of a similar nature but a step upmarket that are holding up fine. One of these days they all get replaced with built-ins. Of course I've been saying that for decades and so far nobody has provided me the necessary round tuit.
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On 1/13/2017 7:43 AM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Good thought but at least a few of those fancy fasteners would not go back together as well the second time as the first.
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On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 9:39:09 AM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

BTDT
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On 1/13/2017 8:56 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

ME2
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wrote:

Or any screw in termite vomit.
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On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 8:21:50 PM UTC-8, snipped-for-privacy@notreal.com wrote:

[about fragile flakeboard product]


It helps if you put a little white glue in each hole, and (after it dries) apply a hot iron to flatten the board.
The real key, is to use three screws where you'd use one for solid wood. Between screws and paint, flakeboard is a high-overhead way to save cash.
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On 1/13/2017 8:43 AM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Yeah, sure. You'd have taken a half hour to move something 3 miles and put it back together again? I'd have left it behind before doing all of that.
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On 1/11/2017 4:43 PM, Electric Comet wrote:

When our daughter was a small child we bought several items from Ikea. There were no heirlooms, to be sure, but most of them had a pleasing "clean lines" style and did the job. Her "high-bed" was an unqualified success, actually; sturdy enough, with lots of room underneath for storage and play and inexpensive enough to make sense for the few years she would use it. The cubbyhole bookcases we bought were chipboard, of course, but the "beech" veneer had a nice color to it the cubbies held an awful lot of stuff that needed holding.
A couple of years later, we decided to buy a dressers for our daughter's room. In the interim, the quality had deteriorated noticeably. For one thing, the two units must have been from different batches; the stain didn't match. In the previous incarnation of Ikea, they'd have shipped a replacement. No longer. The chipboard also had bigger, coarser chips, and any non-visible surface was left bare. Although I was pretty experienced at putting flat-pack furniture together, the pieces didn't fit as well as the earlier stuff.
I think that's a shame, because their earlier, better stuff fulfilled a need: decent-looking functional furniture at an attractive price. We're a little more flush these days, have most of the furniture we need, and I intend to fill in here and there with pieces I build myself. But plenty of other people could use an affordable alternative.
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On Wed, 11 Jan 2017 20:06:28 +0000, Spalted Walt

Just don't let your kids stand on the table. I'd expect the load limit to be appreciably less than the table with aprons and corner braces...
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On 01/11/2017 04:36 PM, ads wrote:

If you allow your children to stand on a table, I'd suggest the problem is parenting, not the table :)
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On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 12:06:35 PM UTC-8, Spalted Walt wrote:

OK, it's a variation on a pocket keyhole that engages a wooden head. The head is tripled, and cut curvy so after it bottoms, it'l at least start to slide into the narrow part where it'll hold.
I'd be tempted to brush a little linseed oil into the receiving slot before assembly. There's some interesting puzzle-box possibilities, after joining a panel you could slide a second panel into position that blocks the first from loosening.
I could produce such a router bit with a few minutes of grinding, on a straight bit, and make the dowels by working the router bit against a blank in a lathe.
You could use it, for instance, to mount a skirt to a tabletop.
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