construction tools
Life Updates

How not to assemble an IKEA bookshelf

You know those little round peg doohickeys? The ones that join pieces of IKEA furniture together?

Yeah, those are Satan.

round peg used to construct IKEA furniture
Pure evil

The Roommate and I went to IKEA last week to get a new bookshelf. Between the two of us, we had way too many books for the 2.5 bookshelves we already had, so we went halfsies on a nice cherry wood-colored piece with some actual weight. We know it’s probably not real wood, but it looks like it is and feels like it is, and that’s really what matters, right?

The Roommate also got a dresser and some such, but he paid for that himself.

So after lugging our big heavy boxes up to our second floor apartment on Saturday evening, we got right to it assembling furniture.

Okay, he got right to it. I got right to playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

“Need help with the bookshelf?” he asked me before heading to his room with the screwdriver set.

“Nah, I’m good,” I called back, warping all the way across Hyrule.

What can I say, gotta get me that Master Sword.

After an hour or so of failing to navigate an excessively atmospheric haunted forest in pursuit of a mystical virtual weapon of mass awesome, I did finally power down the game and turn to the task of the bookshelf.

construction tools
I’m sure this will go great

Things were going well until about midway through, when I realized that millimeter differences in the spaces between identical holes and the edges of the planksĀ do matter, and I had done everything backwards.

Okay, no worries. Was only halfway through. Nobody was watching except for the cat, and he doesn’t even have thumbs, so I seriously doubt he could do better.

cat on crochet blanket
Who doesn’t have thumbs? This guy!

I quickly undid everything and started again. Hooray for power tools.

A few more expected stop and start moments (look, I get why there are no words in the instructions, but one or two couldn’t hurt, right?) and finally I was at the part where I could start joining all the boards together.

And that’s when everything went terribly, horribly wrong.

The thing about the top of this bookshelf is that there are holes of two different sizes: the shallow ones for the pegs and small screws, and the super deep ones for the big screws. They all look the same.

And the thing about me is that when I hammer a peg into place, I hammer it all the way down.

All the way.

It had taken me about 40 minutes to get the bookshelf 95% of the way assembled. It took me the next 40 minutes to figure out how to get the freaking round pegs out of the freaking deep homes without injuring something.

cat with a stern no face
Probably the cat, coz he’s way too fascinated with sharp instruments

And by figure out, I mean crush them with pliers, carve into the board around the holes to try and dig them out, nearly irreparably damage the structural integrity of a $90 IKEA bookshelf, and curse loudly in the 1.5 languages I know kinda well before finally deciding “screw it, no one is even going to see the top of this bookshelf, I’ll just drill some new freaking holes.”

Thank God for power drills.

So now we have a bookshelf. It’s beautiful. Don’t look at the top, because there you will see the scars of the battle I lost to a set of IKEA instructions and a pair of small round pegs, but the rest of it is freaking immaculate.

And that’s really what matters, right?

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