An Impractical Guide To Flatpack Assembly

Posted on December 14, 2009

I have spent 4 hours assembling a table a chairs set today, a wonderful experience of personified ineptitude by a man born with five thumbs on each hand. It is because of this, and other recent experiences, I have decided to publish my guide to complete impracticability that is a must for all DIY bodgers.

Step 1-Untidiness
Fortunately the manufacturer normally provides you with plenty of cardboard and enough polystyrene to create a mock blizzard. It is vital that before you get started that you work in as much mess as possible, so make sure you unpack the items in a confined space, this will create the perfect awkward working environment.

Step 2-Disregard for Health and Safety
When unpacking do not use scissors to cut parcel tape, a Stanley knife with a carpet blade is far more fun (always pull the blade towards you) and gives you ample opportunities to spend the afternoon in A&E. If the box is stapled, remove staples with a basic kitchen fork, or even better, a bread knife. I have a preference to take on these tasks with a stinking hangover; red wine is a personal favourite but whisky and gin will do the job equally as well.

Step 3-Wrong Tools For The Job
Any impracticable imbecile will tell you that it is of paramount importance to have incorrect tools for the task in hand. Most manufacturers these days will supply you with Allum keys and spanners completely inadequate for the job in hand and designed predominately to create some text book knuckle injuries. However, if tools are not provided use your common sense, for small screws use a mallet, for small nuts and bolts an over sized adjustable spanner or monkey wrench will do the trick and will also enhance your chances of causing maximum damage.

Step 4-Getting Started
Before you commence, make sure you discard of the instructions, they are not required. Then proceed to scatter all the nuts, bolts and screws in to a deep pile carpet, or rug . If you are working outside repeat the process using your garden lawn (leave the grass uncut for a few weeks for a greater experience). Screws are particularly good for kneeling on, so it is a good idea to wear shorts or light trousers. Avoid knee pads.

Step 5- Assembly

There are any number of ways of making a complete hash of the assembly, but my personal favourite is the good old cross threaded nut method. This not always easy but I often find the best results come from lining up the hole approximately 10 mm off centre. You will know you have got it wrong because after two turns the nut will be at an angle and incredibly tight. To create the perfect fuck up it is important to keep forcing it as much as you can. 99 times out of 100 this will result in the spanner spinning in to the air and your knuckles crunching in to the nearest solid item. With that in mind, it is a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you are working in close proximity to something that will cause maximum pain. Pebble dash, or course brick walls are a good example, though a glass patio door could add a little extra spice to the proceedings.

Step 6-Final Stages

Never use the wood glue provided, it must have been put in there by mistake and don’t bother with washers either (though you should have lost them by now) they serve no purpose. Throw any leftover screws, nuts and bolts in to the bin before your wife or partner spots them, she will only ask questions. With all your left over cardboard and polystyrene have a fire in the garden close to a wooden fence or shed. When burning the polystyrene and plastic it is a good idea to wait until the neighbours are hanging out their washing, paraffin is a good ingredient at this point, as is an old car tyre.

And Finally

Never, ever, take the blame when three weeks later one of the legs fall off. Stick to your guns and blame anyone or anything else but never yourself.

Happy DIY

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