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  • Writer's pictureAlastair Morgan

Flimsy flat pack furniture? I don't think so!

It is a common misconception that flat pack furniture isn't as sturdy or as well built as a pre-built item of furniture which has been assembled in a factory.

Most people believe that because flat pack furniture hasn't been nailed and glued together in a factory that it lacks strength and durability. They may be right in some instances where an item of furniture hasn't been assembled correctly or if the screws and fixings haven't been tightened to the manufacturers specifications or indeed, over tightened. However, if the instructions have been followed correctly and the fixings have been tightened up as they were intended, then your item of self assembly furniture should last as long as a pre-built factory item.

Other causes of failure from flat pack furniture can also be due to mistreatment or lack of maintenance. Its a good idea to keep the tools such as hex keys or spanners that come with the furniture when you first assemble it so that you can periodically tighten fixings, especially with high use items such as beds. It isn't very often that I see a used bed which isn't flexing at the joints. A wobbly bed can be made secure simply by checking and re-tightening the bolts every 6-12 months. This also goes for items such as drawers and wardrobes.

Quite often I find people believe that once an item of furniture has been taken apart (for instance, when moving home) that it will never be as stable or robust as it was when it gets rebuilt. What I always say is, that if the item of furniture has been built correctly in the first instance and dismantled carefully, removing all fixings where possible, then there is no reason that it shouldn't go back together as securely as it did before.

I recently had the pleasure of dismantling two self assembly wardrobes and they are a testimony to well made and well looked after items of flat pack furniture. They were bought from MFI and assembled over 30 years ago and have stayed in the same room ever since. They had obviously been well looked after as they looked as good as the day they had been assembled and were as structurally sound. I was a little dubious if they would even come apart as I half expected them to have been glued together they were that solid. To my relief, there was not a drop of glue in sight which meant they could be carefully dismantled ready to be transported to their new home.

Once at their new destination I was able to rebuild them to the same standard as they were in their previous home. All the fixings were fitted and tightened just enough to allow for a secure, stable item of furniture without damaging holes that had been drilled into the delicate chipboard all those years ago. If they are looked after in the future as they have been previously, these should last another 30 years with no problem.

It was trip down memory lane for me as my parents had a very similar MFI wardrobe many years back. I think I can safely say that this is the oldest self assembly wardrobe that I have had the pleasure of working on.

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