Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ektorp armchair assembly vs the cats

Let me start with saying I've been a cat servant most of my life, and mostly it's good. There are few things nicer than having a cat purring in your lap while drinking coffee and eating chocolate cookies.

I like (mostly) that cats have a take or leave it attitude towards humans. There is a bright and lively intelligence under the fur, and it's fascinating to watch them explore the world. Curtis is working hard on trying to figure out the operation of the front door so he can go out. He just might do it too, so we keep it locked.

This leads to the recent great furniture delivery and assembly adventure. They were fascinated by the whole thing, and wanted to help. Boy did they ever. However, no cats were harmed in the assembly of the armchairs.

When we did the renovations 10 years ago we picked out the Ektorp armchairs mainly because they were the right size and we liked how they looked. They were comfortable, and I stopped thinking about it after that. Now, 10 years later let me remind you, they are looking a little battered and the cushions have lost their cush.

Time for new. We looked at getting similar leather furniture, but holy cow is that expensive! In the end we decided to re-up for the Ektorp. How can you go wrong? Turns out now you need to assemble it, and Linda panicked briefly. I'm not sure why. This turned out to be the easiest IKEA thing ever to assemble. Putting the cushions into the slipcovers is the most difficult and time consuming part of it. That and overcoming the aid of the cats. And dealing with a nose that's running like a tap.

So here's the photos and some commentary in case you should be looking for inexpensive, durable, and classy looking armchairs. (Just so you know, I'm totally channeling those people that video themselves unboxing new Apple products.)

To start with, here's the old love seat sofa bed on the left, and the new with the spiffy leather cover that is almost $5000 less than the competition. Sturdy and very heavy. No idea how comfortable the mattress is, but I don't plan on sleeping on it much. Comfy for watching the big screen. The old one is going downstairs to replace a futon "sofa" in the library. Minor repairs are desirable, but not essential.

Slightly out of sequence, here is Curtis inspecting bolt tightness.

Start with a big box, really good quality cardboard, well wrapped. Lay it flat to open, either side.

This is what you see.

Cushions are stuffed in to help with padding and support. Take them out and set them aside where the cats can't get at them.

The back is hinged. Really sturdy hinges.

Flip up the back, note the slot in the side.

Package of hardware. There are times IKEA hardware is, well, lets just say not the best quality metal. This is good quality steel.

Thread in the short threaded end into the arms. They all went in really easy to finger tight, meaning there was no guck in the threads.

Same on the side of the arm, only with a plastic washer. You'll need to make sure you use the right hole so the arms go on left and right with the bolt sliding into the slot.

You can see an arm sliding into place here. I had to wiggle the back a couple times.

Flip it onto it's back, and you can see the bolts poking through. If I was a pro, or not sick, I'd have the cute little arrows pointing to them, but I'm sure you get the idea. Thread on the nuts with washers, finger tight, then hand tight with the wrench, moving from bolt to bolt as it snugs up. I'll check again in a few weeks to snug any up as the furniture settles.

The little felt thingies go onto the legs. They are not provided, you have to buy them yourself. Essential if you have hardwood.

Thread in the feet and stand up. Now the fabric. The overall slipcover was easy to slide on, and fits really well.

Now the cushions. Turns out there is a right way, and a wrong way for the seat cover.

The one thing we didn't like about the old chairs is that the zipper hardware was cheap. We blew up several sets of covers when the zipper failed. We like that the slip covers are washable, but it's a bit of an exercise getting them on and off. Do NOT dry them! There are some slipcovers from another company that looks like a "relaxed fit" for these chairs. We will probably order a set and see what we think. These zippers are pretty good.

Curtis doing a final QA on the assembled chair. Celina was involved too, and seemed to be particularly interested in the clearance between the floor and the bottom of the chair. I never did get a photo of her assistance.

From beginning to end, taking my time, with pauses to blow my nose and deal with cat "assistance", each chair took about 40 minutes. This includes tossing stuff out into the garage and generally tidying as I went. I can't get over the amount of cardboard in these boxes! One box alone covered most of the area of our single car garage, and two would do it for sure. The old chairs are out in the garage. If you want them email now. You have till May 3, when a buddy of mine comes with a truck.

With any luck, these will last another 10 years. That would be nice.

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