The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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I hate IKEA!


We have a book problem at my house. It would be easy to point the finger at my daughter’s collection, which numbers in the hundreds, but it also wouldn’t be fair. My wife likes to read, and so do I. Considering that I’ve been something of an insomniac since I was a teenager, not to mention that fact that I spent twelve years as a shift worker, I’ve spent many overnight hours reading, and I still have many of the books that I began purchasing nearly 30 years ago. Those books, as well as my daughter’s toys and games were spilling all over the house, attic, closets, and filling every book shelf we have. So last week, my wife did something about it. She went to IKEA!

My wife’s plan was to pick up a pair of shelving units for my daughter’s bedroom which would be a good place for her toys, games, stuffed animals, as well as some of her books, that would in turn free up space on our actual bookshelves to store actual books. We went through many books, setting some aside for donation, and organizing the rest. In the meanwhile, my wife and father-in-law went to IKEA, picked up the two units, and I assembled with them with the help of my wife. All in all, it took a screw driver, a hammer, and about 20 minutes. My daughter’s toys, games and other sundries now have an attractive storage area that de-clutters her bedroom, and we have more shelf space to store our books. IKEA sold to my wife two inexpensive bookcases which have made our lives easier and would have taken me weeks to build and finish had I chosen to do it myself. I hate that place.




  1. Bill! I have the same situation. Our son’s room has a shelving unit and chest thingy form Ikea. Not all that bad actually. I think much of the Ikea concept is great. What leaves me cold is how folks seem to think they need a new look on the reg. If Ikea could make durable, affordable flat pack…….

    • billlattpa says:

      I neither hate nor like Ikea. I’m completely indifferent. I honestly wouldn’t have minded making the bookshelves myself, but it would have taken far longer and cost a lot more. For what they are I’m happy with them, and my wife picked them out so I only had to put them together. It was easy.

  2. RK says:

    Yeah, Ikea is like a fast food.

  3. Greg Merritt says:

    LOL…I too have one of these type book shelf units that resides in our bedroom. It stands in the corner mocking my slow production rate. I grimace every time I look at it.

    Sometimes we have do what have to do.


    • billlattpa says:

      For what they are I have no problem with them. I’m all for fine furniture, but I don’t think spending months building a pair of bookcases for my daughters toys and stuffed animals would have been a good allocation of my woodworking time. This just leaves me that much more time for improving my tool storage, making a few tools, and getting my blanket chest started.

  4. bloksav says:

    Marc Spagnuolo (The woodwhisperer) once published a way of calculating whether one should build a particular thing for the home, or if should be purchased.
    It is 9 questions, and different points are awarded for the answer.
    E.g. price of materials, visibility in the home, time frame etc.

    The idea is fine, in that it asks some pretty simple questions that can help you decide if a project is really worth spending your time on. So in a way it can also help free time for interesting projects.

    I can’t say that I use it at all, but I do once in a while think about it, and I like the philosophy.


    • billlattpa says:

      I agree with the philosophy. Because we are part-time hobbyists, we have to choose our projects carefully. I wouldn’t have minded making the bookcases myself, but there are many other projects I would rather have been doing. Because they are being used basically as storage, I think it would have been silly to spend a lot of time and hard work to build “fine furniture” style bookcases to hold stuffed animals and such. The important thing is, my wife and daughter like them, and I am free to build what I like.

  5. glen d huey says:

    Sometimes the products at Ikea are acceptable, sometimes not so much and sometimes things just stink. But what yanks me the most is having to trail through the entire store just to have the privilege of giving the company my money. Every time I step foot in that store, I swear I’ll never return – and that feeling is growing stronger.

    • billlattpa says:

      I’ve actually never stepped foot inside of an Ikea. My wife has been there a few times and she says it reminds her of the yellow-brick road from the Wizard of Oz. I can’t say I am a proponent either way. I’ve seen some of their furniture that is nice, and some that isn’t. I think some of their offerings work perfectly for outfitting a child’s room, or a place like a college dorm. So I am pleased with what my wife picked out. The shelf units are the first piece of Ikea furniture I’ve ever owned, and I have to say they are okay.
      Thanks Glen.

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