Some Assembly Required
February 24, 2012 10:17 AM   Subscribe

IKEA US' first official assembly video (SLYT)
posted by ZeusHumms (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I used to have a Malm bed! Man, this would have been really useful in 2006.
posted by alzi at 10:22 AM on February 24, 2012


My bed's a Malm. For some reason it's about two inches longer than a typical Ikea mattress, so my pillow is invariably wedged down the gap when I wake up in the morning. And don't get me started on the slats; just remember, check your cheap Ikea slats for knots before you buy them, or you're in for an amusing night-time ass-drop at some point.

Other than that, it's a good bed. Solid as a rock.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:27 AM on February 24, 2012


Thank you, I guess.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 10:27 AM on February 24, 2012


It's the first of many videos. I suppose they could have been done earlier, even on other media, but I suspect the economics of them didn't make sense to IKEA until now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:30 AM on February 24, 2012


I just put together a STIG and I have to say, the three slightly different crossbars all look exactly the same in the instructions. I generally prefer print instructions to video, but being able to see the actual parts rather than line drawings could be super useful.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:31 AM on February 24, 2012


Little known fact, this is how all intercourse begins in Sweden. I believe they call it spÄrvagnshÄllplatsen, which loosely translated means "insert tab A in slot B".
posted by Awakened at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


That's weird, there's no yelling.
posted by ODiV at 10:33 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or blood.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Needs more cowbell.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:36 AM on February 24, 2012


Sultan Lade will be a great name for a Bowie tribute act.
posted by jquinby at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kindof quite meditative to watch, like those sesame street factory shorts for grownups. But I saw the final plot twist coming a mile off.
posted by memebake at 10:45 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ikea's latest assembly instructions
posted by lalochezia at 10:47 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have this bed. I didn't need a video to show me how to put it together. However, I did need someone at Ikea to explain to me why the midbeam and bedslats were sold separately.
posted by TropicalWalrus at 10:52 AM on February 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


sepArately
posted by kuanes at 11:01 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have this bed also, and the slats always fell in, and those crossbar things are totally useless so I threw them out.
What I ended up doing was buying 2 beams and having them cut to the length of the bed and the height of the slat holder bar thing and nailing them to the inside of the frame, so the slats have more width to rest on and don't fall in. Works great.
posted by rmless at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2012


This seems accurate, but where's the part where you go to the hardware store, buy a bunch of sturdy boards, and then throw those shitty bed slats away? I love Ikea, but I can't believe they're still selling those things.
posted by vorfeed at 11:07 AM on February 24, 2012


Man, I love putting together IKEA stuff. My friends will go buy stuff there, knowing full well that they'll never have to put it together because they can just call me and I'll be right over. I kind of don't look forward to the day where I'll have enough money and a stable enough living situation that buying higher quality already built furniture makes more sense.
posted by LionIndex at 11:07 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


@alzi How about a spoiler alert next time?
posted by sexymofo at 11:08 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, the bedslats have plenty of practical uses to justify them being sold separately. Such as, um, an homage to a Minimalist wall hanging?
posted by obscurator at 11:11 AM on February 24, 2012


I just moved, and hit Ikea pretty hard given that my previous bed was ruined from bedbugs and I needed another one, the new apartment had a completely different layout from the old one, and hell, the furniture is cheap and nice for the price. Set everything up easy peasy, two items of furniture in an hour, and the end product? So pretty.

Then I went to Lowes and bought some Rubbermaid double-drawer things for the closet because Ikea didn't have anything I liked as much.

Took me two goddamn hours to decipher the instructions. The pictures didn't distinguish between the types of screws, the dimensions of the boards were wrong in the pictures (the LONG side had the screw holes in the picture but on the actual board the short side had the screw holes--the holes were situated in a way where you had to play with it for a while to figure this out), and the little slidey-guys that go on the side of the drawer, despite being different in actuality, were drawn exactly the same. Four hours total to make two identical dressers. Granted I'm no whiz but I had the same lack of experience with the Ikea stuff and no problem whatsoever.

Anyway long story short, I love Ikea. Not perfect (I'll wait to see if my bed slats hold up now), but most of what they do they do so right. I mean it even blew my mind that all of the desk components you could buy (kind of a sawhorse thing, poles, or shelving to hold up either side of the desk) all end up being the same height when you assemble them. Really simple concept but no one else seems to do it so reliably.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:17 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've put together a lot of IKEA furniture, over the years, both for myself and for friends. With rare exceptions, I find the stuff really well-thought out and pretty idiot-proof. In fact, I'm kind of fascinated with the design aspect of IKEA stuff. It's hypnotic. As I put stuff together, I'll frequently stop and think about all the ways this could have been done differently and all the reasons they chose this particular solution. What's worse, I'll find myself randomly thinking about these design issues when merely looking at some IKEA item, which is hard to avoid as I have quite a few around me. It's a brain disease, I tell you. You know how there's an urban myth about how Subway pumps out the freshly baked bread smell from their stores to lure in passerby's, I have a theory about nefarious IKEA marketing. I think they their designs are intentionally crafted with the idea that obsessive gearheads will be pulled into the IKEA orbit by the IKEA design solutions and become addicted to buying IKEA stuff not for the utility, but for another chance at getting their fix of "examining IKEA design". They're no better than drug pushers.
posted by VikingSword at 11:22 AM on February 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


sepArately

Exactly.

'Boxed seperately from frame.' ENGLISH FAIL!
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on February 24, 2012


Vikingsword: I am not quite sure your theory actually refelects Ikea's notion about their customers, but you seem to perfectly fit the kind fo guy/girl that would love Make Magazine, so I'll recommend it to you.

Plus, I wonder: how hard could it be to replicate that design almost entirely with off the shelf parts? And supposing the design was succesfully reversed, how much would it cost to rebult a bed with these parts ? Less than the price paid at Ikea?
posted by elpapacito at 11:32 AM on February 24, 2012


le morte de bea arthur: My bed's a Malm. For some reason it's about two inches longer than a typical Ikea mattress, so my pillow is invariably wedged down the gap when I wake up in the morning.

I had the same problem, which I solve by jamming something (in my case a 3in.-diameter 2ft.-long heavy duty cardboard tube I had lying around) down in between the foot of the frame and the mattress once the bed is made up. Works like a charm.

You're on your own with the slats, though.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:32 AM on February 24, 2012


Plus, I wonder: how hard could it be to replicate that design almost entirely with off the shelf parts? And supposing the design was succesfully reversed, how much would it cost to rebult a bed with these parts ? Less than the price paid at Ikea?

The pine bed I've got (Fjallse) looks very much like nice New Mexican style furniture at literally 1/16th the price (excluding those damned bed slats, of course). If you're remotely handy I bet you could make a full-size bed out of pine boards for less than $49.99... but not if you value your time at more than a dollar an hour.
posted by vorfeed at 11:39 AM on February 24, 2012


this is how all intercourse begins in Sweden

They must be terribly tentaive about it then, because that bed looks like it would collapse like a wet paper bag in a windstorm under the throes of amorous lovers.

I bought the heaviest bed frame they had and even after putting it on a thick carpet to keep it from walking across the bedroom it still cracks and groans like a tree in a winter windstorm.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:42 AM on February 24, 2012


I bought twice as many slats when I had a Malm bed. I had to cut some of them off the cloth backing, but then I squished them all together to make a solid platform. Unfortunately, I still had slats fall through a few times.
posted by stopgap at 11:44 AM on February 24, 2012


Do they expect this to sell anything?

I'm pretty sure people only commit to purchasing flatpack furniture when the following-unclear-instructions-to-put-it-together-by-yourself-with-a-fiddly-little-wrench aspect momentarily slips from their minds.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on February 24, 2012


Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that this wasn't a satirical video.
posted by LMGM at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plus, I wonder: how hard could it be to replicate that design almost entirely with off the shelf parts? And supposing the design was succesfully reversed, how much would it cost to rebult a bed with these parts ? Less than the price paid at Ikea?

I'm not sure, but wasn't there someone who had a website full of great DIY furniture plans that were free?
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2012


I have this bed also, and the slats always fell in, and those crossbar things are totally useless so I threw them out.

Uhhh, those crossbar things are not totally useless. They keep the shape of the frame so that the slats don't always fall in. Why would they ship you things that are totally useless just so you can throw them out?
posted by reformedjerk at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that this wasn't a satirical video.

Imagine my anticipation of satirical videos to come.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:24 PM on February 24, 2012


Plus, I wonder: how hard could it be to replicate that design almost entirely with off the shelf parts? And supposing the design was succesfully reversed, how much would it cost to rebult a bed with these parts ? Less than the price paid at Ikea?

I think the extreme difficulties in exactly replicating something would lie in obtaining the type of hardware they use, and for the average Joe, getting all the pre-drilled holes in the correct places. I don't know that I've ever seen a cam bolt outside of IKEA or other similar flat-pack stuff, so you'd have a lot of issues trying to replicate their system of attaching one flat piece of wood to another at a right angle without having visible hardware (like brackets and stuff).

VikingSword and I clearly have the same disease.
posted by LionIndex at 12:38 PM on February 24, 2012


...become addicted to buying IKEA stuff not for the utility, but for another chance at getting their fix of "examining IKEA design".

My thoughts too, for the price point the furniture is quite well made and thought through. I have about three of their steel 7 drawer cabinets. They actually come flat pack, with perforations in the steel allowing you you origami fold the drawers into shape. They aren't the most torsionally stable, but I have them loaded up with 20 pounds of lathe chucks and tooling and they are holding up just fine. The guy who designed it was a genius.

As for the cost, its absurdly cheap and efficiently designed, I have a small woodshop in the garage, and theoretically I could make some of the pieces for less material cost, but the labor would be huge,all the custom jigging and hardware would be a killer. Its better to just buy the ikea unit, upgrade a few bits and pieces to make it more stable and call it done.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 12:40 PM on February 24, 2012


Note - the guy assembling this, is using a screwdriver that's an IKEA item. I recognize it. It's from a box set that sells for something like $5 or $7, and includes a screwdriver plus a bunch of interchangeable bits, a hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench. It's an orange box, and these boxes are stacked throughout IKEA stores, so you can pick it up, almost on impulse. Actually it's pretty useful - not because these are spectacular tools (decent enough quality - but because they come in a handy box that contains the most commonly used tools around the house. Contrast that with tools that are separate and that you have to hunt for in your various cavernous drawers, boxes and shelves. Instead, the few tools you use most often are all sitting together in the nifty box with a transparent top. I keep mine in a drawer next to my desk. Yet again - thought went into this: how to make tools more useful and easier for the average person. The IKEA way.

In this video: a seemingly minor detail, using a tool that the vast majority of viewers would not notice and connect with an IKEA item for sale. But a telling attention to detail - everything works together. Contrast that with the regular gaffes from companies like Microsoft that regularly feature ads and pictures of their gear with a prominent placement of an Apple laptop or the like, thus immediately subverting whatever message Microsoft is trying to convey through the ad. For IKEA, no detail is too small to pay attention to.

I cannot believe I just wrote multiple paragraphs about a screwdriver. I tell you - it's a brain disease... I've been infected by IKEA! I just cannot stop myself from thinking about the IKEA way of doing things aargh... is there an IKEA Anonymous somewhere?!
posted by VikingSword at 12:42 PM on February 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


SULTAN LADE slatted bed base? You have to buy Ikea... boards?

Somehow this helps me understand how some people are astounded when I can fix a running toilet.
posted by cmoj at 12:50 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


but the labor would be huge,all the custom jigging and hardware would be a killer. Its better to just buy the ikea unit, upgrade a few bits and pieces to make it more stable and call it done.

and

but not if you value your time at more than a dollar an hour

Oh surely, it would be quite hard to beat the efficiency of a CNC-like machine doing anything, expecially if one values its time more that X$/hour.

But consider the hundred of thousands of manhours unemployed around the world, expecially in the Western countries. How much do they value their time? Possibily X>0 $/hour - but I'll advance that _presently_ their actual worth is 0$/hour, because they're not getting any money.

Now imagine 15eighbors leaving more or less nearby: one is good at drilling holes, another at lifting weights, one has a router...quickly, if the cost of materials isn't prohibitive, a lot of work could be done; it may even have the same price as buying an Ikea furniture, but possibily less. And flat-packaging constrains wouldn't be an issue, nor ease of assembly.
posted by elpapacito at 12:57 PM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, since I'm officially off the deep end here, I may as well plunge over the precipice: thinking about the "thinking about IKEA".

I don't experience this only with IKEA, but with any well-designed item. What happens, is that when you come across a well-designed item, you are interacting, through the item, with the mind of the designer. There is pleasure in this. "So, have you considered this?" "Aha, I see you have" "NO! I think I got you - this could have been done better like THAT" "Oops, I see you were right, because that would cause this problem" and so on.

More importantly, good design rewards examination and draws you in - makes you more involved with the product. Because you know that a lot of thought has gone into it, you in turn give it more thought, secure in the knowledge that your ruminations will be rewarded, and you learn a lot along the way. Contrast that with a poorly designed product. If the designer doesn't have the brains or the care to put any effort into his product, why should I? Why should I think about his poor ass gizmo? There's nothing to think about!

In fact, this is exactly what happens in art. When the work of art is profound, you extract a lot from it precisely because there is a lot that's been put in by the artist. But a movie, or novel or whatever, that's poorly thought out, plotted and so forth, doesn't reward examination because there is nothing to examine! If anything, when we f.ex. see a bad film, we're liable to be resentful of the lack of effort by the artist and the shoddy cheap tricks that are all surface with no depth.

And ultimately, it's also a trust issue. I allow more trust in a product - or artwork - that's clearly been given a lot of thought by the author. I trust that when I put a lot of effort into thinking about it, I will be rewarded with an interesting and even educational journey - whereas if I put a lot of effort into thinking about a work where I find out the author has not put in any work, I feel RIPPED OFF. Ripped off for my time and my trust.
posted by VikingSword at 12:59 PM on February 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh surely, it would be quite hard to beat the efficiency of a CNC-like machine doing anything, expecially if one values its time more that X$/hour.

But you don't need a CNC router to build a bedframe. You need some wood, some screws and some black paint for that bed. If you wanna go nuts, you can biscuit join that bad boy and it'll be like it was carved from a solid block of wood. You can borrow my joiner. It'll cost you a hell of a lot less than a hundred bucks and aside from letting paint and glue dry take you about the same time to build, if not less.

OR you can go to Goodwill and get a bed that's not flat black boards nailed together (or probably that Ikea bed if you really want one) for $20 and you won't be contributing to the demand for making more particle board, generic design and consumerism.
posted by cmoj at 2:08 PM on February 24, 2012


VikingSword: If nothing else, rest easy knowing that you're not the only one. I am often in danger of actually buying things (and I don't spend money lightly because I can't) for the sole reason that they are extremely well considered and made, from practical and technical standpoints. This applies to a wide range of things. Including television shows and movies.

In fact, this is exactly what happens in art. When the work of art is profound, you extract a lot from it precisely because there is a lot that's been put in by the artist. But a movie, or novel or whatever, that's poorly thought out, plotted and so forth, doesn't reward examination because there is nothing to examine!

Oh, I see you've already taken the words right out of my mouth. Well done, sir.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:11 PM on February 24, 2012


I try and stay away from Ikea furniture after the low-road union busting they pulled at their factory in Virginia.
posted by SiSePuede at 4:17 PM on February 24, 2012


I've never really understood the "bah, IKEA stuff hard to assemble, cursing, bah!" stuff. In general, furniture I buy from other places doesn't come assembled, and putting it together is roughly as easy (or hard, if you want) as IKEA stuff is.
posted by Apropos of Something at 4:53 PM on February 24, 2012


I can't separate an afternoon of putting Ikea shit together with the onset of Tourettes.
posted by marvin at 5:38 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the extreme difficulties in exactly replicating something would lie in obtaining the type of hardware they use

Here's my favorite IKEA thing: stalk their dents and dings department (I can't recall the official name, but it's almost always sandwiched off to the side between the last of the warehouse rows and the cash registers): they occasionally put gallon-sized ziplock bags chockful of assorted hardware up for a few bucks a bag. Also, over by returns there's usually set of wall shelving holding boxes filled with their most common fasteners loose, free for the taking. I've made many an Ikea-esque item out of my wood and their fasteners.

Count me in to the loves-to-assemble-Ikea-stuff but for one exception: a queen bed frame we bought from them some years ago that has storage where the box spring would be, with the mattress lifting up with the aid of hydraulic shocks. It was too heavy for me to manage on my own and putting that bed together taught me that there cannot be two people assembling the same item if both do not share the same love of assembly nerdery, lest one wants to risk divorce court.
posted by jamaro at 6:24 PM on February 24, 2012


I've moved on from buying their veneer stuff but I do like the Hemde(?) one that's solid pine or something and has a nice red stain on it. Anything with drawers is even worse to assemble because you have to do those steps so many times.

Their bedside lamps though are just junk. The connection between the base and the upright is just shoddy and every one I've seen is wobbly.
posted by smackfu at 6:26 PM on February 24, 2012


Also, over by returns there's usually set of wall shelving holding boxes filled with their most common fasteners loose, free for the taking. I've made many an Ikea-esque item out of my wood and their fasteners.

I went there once to grab some pegs to fill in the blanks for a set of nesting shelves I got from Target. The shelf design was cool, but they used these plastic pegs that snapped like brittle twigs. I couldn't find replacements at my hardware giant, but IKEA had them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:20 PM on February 24, 2012


Their bedside lamps though are just junk. The connection between the base and the upright is just shoddy and every one I've seen is wobbly

I don't know - I've gotten a couple of pretty solid floor lamps at IKEA, and the one I use as a bedside reading lamp has had the same halogen bulb in it for something like 10 years now. My wife has a really lousy one, though.
posted by LionIndex at 11:05 PM on February 24, 2012


I love IKEA instructions like I love LEGO instructions. So clearly and consistently laid out. I put together some no-brand bookshelves last weekend, and the instructions were...not so good. There were 10 pieces of wood and about 6 different kinds of screws. The assembly instructions had 1 step, which basically showed the shelf fully assembled with some vague arrows and numbers.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:32 PM on February 25, 2012


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