This post is dedicated to all of you who have survived putting together a piece of IKEA furniture.
Hell this post is dedicated to those of you brave enough to go to to IKEA on a weekend. If you took your kids, you need a vacation. Because truly, IKEA on a weekend is like a testing ground for whether or not a couples marriage will end in divorce by the time they leave the store. It’s like weekends at Costco, except minus the giant grocery carts. You trade those in for flat bed carts and a choreographed routine to ensure your car is in a furniture delivery parking spot by the time one of you pays for the ‘ready to be assembled’ products of your home decor dreams.
Then, just when you think the store trip is over, you realize it’s just the beginning. Because what awaits you at home is the fresh hell that I like to call IKEA assembly instructions. Forget your allen (hex) key for this one. These come complete with a cartoon character blob person and reminds me of a cartoon I used to watch as a child called La Linea.
This friendly guy below.
But they also have real life people drawings too. You’re the happy couple by the way enjoying a coffee break in the kitchen that has yet to be installed. The children that are crying in the background because they came home with the stomach flu the first day you demolished your kitchen, they’re not in there. Neither is the photo of your living room where everything else is placed while your kitchen is being finished.
PS – For the full SEKTION Kitchen Installation guide, click here.
Now before you think I am about to tear into the new updated railing system of hanging an IKEA kitchen, I will say it is actually a very good thing they’ve done. The railing system makes it a lot easier to perfectly place your cabinets exactly where you want them to be.
And if you say make a mistake or change your mind (like we did) about whether or not to use a side panel around the refrigerator, you won’t have to physically unscrew your cabinets from the wall and move them over. You can just gently slide them over. Win/Win!
The problem lies with the holes in the railings. It is assumed that the holes and where you want to place your cabinets in your kitchen will magically line up with your wall studs and you’ll be able to drill them securely into the stud through one of the holes.
That’s not always the case. Exhibit A below.
We had to drill through the railing itself to line up where the screw had to go into the stud. If you’re wondering why we couldn’t just move it over, it’s because the cabinets needed to be exactly in those spots in the kitchen based on our measurements and placements of everything including our appliances. So the railing had to go where it had to go.
The cabinets are then hung onto the railings using brackets that you attach to the inside of the cabinet, as seen in the photos below.
Left side, top view.
Right side, top view.
You can attach the brackets to the railing first and then drill the cabinets to them if you prefer. Whatever works for you.
But the best part of the railing system, is the little metal fastener bracket thing that goes into between the railing and your screw. If you scroll up and look at IKEA’s first instruction drawing in the Set your Suspension Rail it shows one hand drilling in the railing, easy as pie.
This is a two person job that involves a level and your patience. May we suggest drilling your screw holes with your screws strong enough to hang the railing off of and then gently hang your railing over the screws that are not fully screwed into the wall.
Then put the metal fastener bracket thing over your screws and check to make sure your railings are level. Finally screw it in tight.
Again, two person job.
P.S. AGAIN – For the full IKEA Suspension Rail Assembly Instructions, click here. The cartoon man that appears again with the “?” bubble above his head, that may or may not resemble your behaviour during this process. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Suddenly I miss allen keys.
Once you get the railing sorted out, the rest is actually pretty simple. It’s put together your cabinets and attach them to your railing. Or so says the person that did not put together the cabinets (*waves*).
This will take you well into the night and then some.
Then in the following days came the Butcher block counter top installation.
We had to return one of the original pieces of it that we purchased because it was warped. So may I strongly suggest before you leave IKEA, to check inside the box and make sure the wood on your soon to be butcher block countertop is flat. It will save you gas, time and shipping costs. Yes shipping costs. Turns out it took us having to return it to realize one long panel can indeed fit into the back of our truck.
My BIL (that’s Brother In Law for those of you who aren’t into abbreviations online) notched out some holes in what was to be the underside of the counter tops and this is how they were fastened together under.
He also did a killer job in cutting out and making an undermount sink in the butcher block.
We used the IKEA BREDSKÄR Single Bowl Sink. I need to write a post called “In Defense of One Bowl Sinks.” I am never ever, ever, ever, ever going back to a dual bowl sink. This has changed how I use and see sinks.
And here is a big hint on how to make a template to cut out your hole for your sink be it in Butcher Block or the countertops of your choice. I alas do not have any photos of this as we threw out the package in the process, but what my BIL did was he used the actual cardboard box that the sink came in because the cardboard is cut out to match the exact measurements/shape of the top of the sink. Therefore it makes the perfect stencil. Brilliant!
All you have to do is trace that onto the wood. My BIL did a test template with it in some plywood first to make sure it was indeed the right fit and it worked perfectly.
So save the cardboard box the sink comes in!!!
And bit by bit it, came together.
Then we had to wait to about 3 months for back ordered drawer fronts from IKEA. But I’ll save that for a Lessons in Renovating your Kitchen wrap up post. It’ll be a good one because there were so many lessons we learned.
Want to read about the whole process and see the Before and After?
Part 1 of the Kitchen Reno story: The Beginning
Part 2 of the Kitchen Reno story: Installing your IKEA SEKTION Kitchen
Part 3 of the Kitchen Reno story: Adventures in Staining Butcher Block
Part 4 of the Kitchen Reno story: The IKEA SEKTION kitchen, Before and After