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Oh, IKEA ...
January 8, 2012 4:52 PM   Subscribe

I just bought the Karlstad chair from IKEA. It's slightly defective and I'm wondering how bad it would be if I overlooked this particular defect and went ahead with putting it together anyway.

Here are the assembly instructions, and here are written instructions for the loveseat version. I'm stuck at step two - this is where I'm supposed to use screws and bolts to connect the seat part to the back part. The problem is that there are two sets of holes, and they don't line up. I can only get the screw through one set of holes at a time, not both.

I know that I should most likely suck it up and return the chair. But the box won't fit in my car - a friend drove my down there this morning to get it. He probably won't be able to go back until next weekend - in the meantime, I literally have nothing else to sit on in my apartment besides my bed.

I was thinking about my options and it occurred to me that I might be able to get by with the back and seat only screwed together at that one point. This isn't a weight-bearing spot (the legs go on separately). On the other hand, it would really suck if the back started separating from the seat. I would like to be able to use this chair for a long time.

If it helps, the frame is 25.5" wide and each hole is about 6" in. It does look like the arms screw into both the base and back as well, which would provide additional support.
posted by lunasol to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
 
Can you put it together as it is and live with it for the week, and then return it when your friend is available to take you there?

Will the chair fit in your friend's car when it is put together?

If you do take it back, I wouldn't let on that you knew it was defective and used it for a week. I'd say, "Hey, I just put this together and realized the screw holes aren't fitting correctly. Can I return it for a new one?".

If you do get a replacement, you might want to check that it is correct before leaving the store!

You could also try to call them and see if they could send you a replacement, especially if it is available for online purchase. Ikea's customer service is supposed to be pretty good.
posted by shortyJBot at 5:06 PM on January 8, 2012


Are you absolutely sure you're using the right parts, the right bolts, etc.? Not to doubt you, but I've had many "defective" IKEA things that were only "defective" because too many parts looked too alike, and "up" and "down" are very relative concepts with IKEA instructions.
posted by xingcat at 5:17 PM on January 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think having a seat you'd have to tell guests never to lean back in would get very wearing quite quickly. I'd take it back or, if I was very sure that there was nothing else going on here other than misaligned holes (a rarity for Ikea), I'd think about drilling a new hole.
posted by yoink at 5:18 PM on January 8, 2012


Could you post a photo of your set as close as possible to the illustration of step #2?
posted by caclwmr4 at 5:49 PM on January 8, 2012


Get a friend to help you with it: I'm sitting on my sofa-length version of the same design, and it was a right bugger to put together. I had two people helping me and we still had to do a huge amount of wiggling, bouncing and sitting on it to get it to fit. Getting the cover on it is another major fuss.

See if an extra pair of hands will help before you decide it's flawed.

You won't be able to put the cover on it if it's not screwed together correctly, anyway.
posted by jrochest at 5:53 PM on January 8, 2012


I'd take it back or, if I was very sure that there was nothing else going on here other than misaligned holes (a rarity for Ikea), I'd think about drilling a new hole.

Seconding this, but I would see how far away from the misaligned hole a new one would be, and I'd countersink a wider, shallow space for the washer.

If the old, misaligned hole is close to or overlapping on the new one, I'd fill the old one with wood caulking sealant in order to give the bolt some stability.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 6:06 PM on January 8, 2012


If it's really and truly defective, you might be able to get the store to send a replacement via delivery and cart the defective one away, for free. That's what happened when I bought a defective mattress from them (I sent them photos demonstrating how it was defective). Worth giving it a shot. Call and emphasize that you have no way of getting the chair back to them and you shouldn't have to waste additional time and money just because their product was shoddily made.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 6:25 PM on January 8, 2012


Call and emphasize that you have no way of getting the chair back to them and you shouldn't have to waste additional time and money just because their product was shoddily made.

Did you call the local store or some central customer service line? I tried to call earlier today, but the only number I could find through the customer service page was the number of my local store - and when I called them, they couldn't help me and told me just to bring it back. I told them I didn't have an easy way to do that and they just apologized for the inconvenience.

I think I'm going to try again tomorrow with a friend or two and then take it back later this week if necessary.
posted by lunasol at 7:38 PM on January 8, 2012


I called my local store; I remember at first the customer service guy I talked to said that I could bring the mattress back and exchange it, but I told him (approximately -- it was 5+ years ago so my memory is a little foggy) that there was no way I was spending my Saturday hauling a defective queen-size mattress back to the store tied to the roof of my car. Once I sent the guy photos showing that the mattress was defective, he quickly agreed to have a new mattress sent around. It's possible that their policy regarding mattresses is different from other furniture, but there's certainly no harm in calling them again and telling them, firmly and politely, that it isn't acceptable to have to bring the chair back yourself.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 9:14 PM on January 8, 2012


A pic would help. You say there are two sets of holes. You mean that the four holes in the seat part are spread differently from the four holes in the back? So if you align one, none of the three others aligns?

Wait, this is wood, right? If you are absolutely 100% sure you're not having anything wrong-aligned or upside down, hold the parts together in their proper position, decide which set of holes is "correct", mark the correct hole's position with pencil onto the other part, and drill new holes with the proper diameter and a new, sharp drill with a centerpoint (hardware store, no big deal). If any of these new holes comes close to an old one, you first plug the old one with a piece of wood cut to size and a little glue, let that sit for a few hours, cut flush on top and back and then drill.
posted by Namlit at 1:51 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you screwing one side in completely and then trying the other side?

Usually, you need to just barely screw in one side, then put the other side in while there's still some give, and then tighten the first side and go back and fully tighten the second side.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:13 AM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, I'm going to try calling the store again - can't hurt.

A pic would help. You say there are two sets of holes. You mean that the four holes in the seat part are spread differently from the four holes in the back? So if you align one, none of the three others aligns?

There are two holes in each part, and they are spread differently, by just about a quarter of an inch. And yep, if I align one set, the other set doesn't align correctly. I'll post a pic when I get home tonight. I'm not excited about the idea of drilling a new hole though - I'm not really that handy.

Are you screwing one side in completely and then trying the other side?

Nope. Just feeding the screw through, holding it there, and then trying to slide the other one through.
posted by lunasol at 11:25 AM on January 9, 2012


Update: some friends came over last night and managed to make it work. I was surprised and amazed, but this is probably the last time I'll ever try to assemble IKEA furniture by myself, that's for sure.

Thanks everyone!
posted by lunasol at 6:24 PM on January 11, 2012


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