Knock Down Furniture Will Knock You Down

There are many names for ready-to-assemble furniture, including flat pack furniture, or knock down furniture. We’ve never bought IKEA furniture, but it’s the same kind of thing and there are a ton of memes about it.

I kind of like the name “knock down furniture” because it best explains how we feel sometimes after we’ve tackled a tough project—like the chair we got recently. It looked like a simple chair, but it came with a tiny Allen wrench and there were way too many bolts, two different kinds of washers, those fussy little barrel nuts that drive you nuts, dowels, screws and you needed extra tools besides the Allen wrench (well, just a Phillips head and a flat head screwdriver). I guess I got spoiled after getting a mini-rachet driver Allen wrench in addition to the manual one which came with the platform bed kit we recently got.

The dreaded Allen wrench and other offenders
The knock down chair from hell

It took us all day to figure out how to get the seat back to fit between the legs so the bolt holes would line up. We came really close to deciding we’d have to return it. I installed the apron (the part which fits between the two legs in front and requires dowels for which you need a mallet) upside down. I’m not blaming it completely on the instructions—OK, I am blaming it completely on the instructions. Sometimes a thousand words would be better than a lousy picture.

By the way, I think Allen Wrench Arthritis (AWA) is a thing.

Contrast that with the love seat which was much larger, did not require any tools at all and barely took 30 minutes to assemble. We didn’t break a sweat. The only reason I look forlorn in the picture of me holding up the seat back is because I’m still suffering from PTSD after the little chair assembly.

I think the best knock down furniture piece would require no tools, have only 4 or five pieces to sort of snap together and take no more than 20 minutes to assemble.

Get the Pink Flamingo

Sena bought a yard ornament. No, it was not a pink flamingo. It’s a Fiery Metal Kinetic Dual Spinning Garden Stake (FMKDSGS). A name like that and right away you know it’s going to be one of those products requiring owner assembly and your skills and patience will be tested. Take my advice and get the pink flamingo.

Our skills were sorely tested, mainly because the product arrived with puzzling and missing instructions and what looked like extra parts. It’s from the Alpine Corporation, a wholesaler based in The City of Commerce, California although the box label clearly says the product was made in China. I usually have pretty good luck with products manufactured in China, but not this time.

The Owner’s Manual does not include a picture showing all the parts needed for assembly, for some reason. On page 2 there are pictures of the rear and front spinners, the stake parts, a connector, and a cap nut. However, there are no pictures for the two sets of nuts, what I think might be some kind of spacers or bearings, and covers that arrived with the product. There are no instructions for what to do with them. The post was crooked because the sections didn’t screw in straight.

I found a pdf of the Owner’s Manual on line, but it had all the same flaws as the original. I couldn’t find a YouTube video about assembly. I tried installing the nuts, bearings, and little covers where I thought they should go, but often the spinners refused to spin and the connector would come loose. It would only sort of work without wiggling apart when I put the spacer/bearing piece on the threaded top section of the pole or connector first, then slipped the cover over the spacer bearing, and twisted the nut over that.

At times, I half-expected little gray aliens would manifest from the spinners (could be some kind of vortex wormhole) and laugh at me.

The product is sold under slightly different names by on-line retailers. I could not find anything about FMKDSGS at the corporate Alpine web site. The Alpine contact form spelled one retailer’s name (Menards) wrong (“Mernards”). It’s not BBB accredited but there are a couple of complaints about customer service and work environment.

I tried different ways to connect the mystery parts to the two spinners. I got pretty frustrated, which was echoed by a couple of reviews by other Amazon customers who complained about missing instructions and being forced into trial and error problem-solving. We didn’t see those reviews before buying the product.

After a lot of trial and error, I thought I made the thing work.  I still didn’t know if it was put together right, though. Both spinners spun although the front spinner often stalled. It didn’t immediately fall apart when it was stuck in the ground and took the breeze. However, we were not confident it wouldn’t collapse in the near future—so we returned it to the store.

Pink flamingos don’t look that bad.

%d bloggers like this: