Why I Love Ikea

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Lessons from a big box guide my approach to woodworking

by Edward Suter
page 64

I love Ikea. Yes, I said it.

This store has provided me with an understanding of furniture design and with products I use on many of my projects. For some I’m happy to pay, but for most I haven’t had to pay a penny.

I first became aware of furniture design while walking our dog. Seriously. To get to the off-leash park, we walked down back lanes.

I was alarmed at the sheer quantity of discarded furniture – Ikea furniture, to be precise. I began to examine this stuff more closely, and gradually a pattern emerged.

From this pattern I formed a “law” of furniture design. Take, for example, Ikea beds: Pieces broke right where the mechanical fasteners were placed. Well, it figured, two kids jumping on a bed = dynamic load. Therefore, dynamic load + barficle-board + mechanical fasteners + time = garbage.

I learned about chair construction – actually how not to construct a chair – while working at Chez Phillipe, a cozy French bistro. Maybe it was serendipity that caused me to observe how Ikea chairs failed, but I made the necessary observations seated on the “throne.”

From the April 2015 issue.

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