Lessons from a big box guide my approach to woodworking
by Edward Suter
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.