5 Essential Tips to Assembling Furniture
One of our long-time customers recently purchased a 10’x12’ gazebo to put up on the deck in his backyard. The gazebo arrived in a massive and heavy box, and he decided that the assembly project would be more than he cared to take on. Having used OddJobbers several times before, he booked two OddJobbers to come tackle this huge, several-hundred piece Gazebo assembly.
Because of the sheer size of the gazebo and the volume of pieces included, it took 2 OddJobbers a whole day to assemble. If you decide to take on a project like this, book an OddJobber and save yourself the hassle. If you plan on taking it on yourself, here are our best tips for making it go as smoothly as possible.
1 - Organize the parts beforehand.
The first thing you should do when you open the box is take everything out and organize it. A little work up front goes a very long way. It will streamline your process and make everything easier from there on out. Get a feel for the items you are working with, so when you are reading the directions, you better understand how things will fit together. You’ll even do yourself a favor to organize them appropriately. Most assembly instructions label their pieces alphabetically, so as you are pulling pieces out of the box, make sure to organize them for easy access while you're reading the instructions.
2 - Know your workspace
Make sure your space is clear beforehand. This goes hand in hand with organizing your pieces, but make sure you set everything up in the correct place. You don’t want to put your tools out where you need to build your item. This gazebo was being built on a deck, rather than just in the ground. The OddJobbers had limited space to work with so they had to be more structured with how they set the project up. They clearly defined where the gazebo would be, walked off roughly how far it would extend (10’ x 12’), then started organizing their tools away from that space while still giving themselves some room to walk around and do the work.
3 - Have a partner.
For smaller projects, like an end table or DIY lamp, you don’t need another person. For larger projects such as a gazebo, two people are required. Especially when the job involves heavy or overhead lifting, save your back and get a friend to help you. The good news is you can hire up to 5 OddJobbers at a time to take care of your assembly project no matter how big.
4 - Don’t tighten sub-structure pieces until they are in place.
Pieces are often put together as sub-components before they are added to the main structure. If you tighten these all the way before adding it to the main structure, it makes it difficult or impossible to fit together and tighten properly. When done incorrectly, you end up having to bend and risk breaking pieces in order to get them to fit. The best case scenario is you just undo that step and loosen everything before putting it back together. If you have to do that multiple times though, it adds up to a lot of wasted time. The key is to put subcomponents together loosely, but firm enough to hold, then do a final tightening once they are all in place. On this job, the roof structure was put together on the ground before lifting on top of the base. The OddJobbers screwed in all the bolts to hold it together, but each still had a little wiggle room. It makes it a little more difficult when you are setting it into place; however, it’s well worth it to not have to disassemble and put back together.
5 - Know your tools.
The assembly kits in the box all come with a hand tool, usually an allen key. While this is great for versatility and getting into small spaces to screw in the bolts, it’s not very efficient. It also leads to a lot of hand and wrist cramps. By the end of the project, you’ll feel like you’re back in school writing an essay and shaking out your hand from cramping. (insert spongebob hand cramp gif)
If your project is large enough to require two people, like this one was, it makes things go much faster to have another allen key - unfortunately, the assembly kits only come with one. You can buy an allen key set at most hardware stores, or you can purchase here on Amazon for less than $6. This is a tool to buy on the cheaper side. Don’t spend a lot looking for a name brand allen key; they all do the same thing.
One thing you might try to find is an allen key drill bit for a screw gun. If you can get your hands on one of these, it will make your project go much faster, and save from all the hand cramps. When using a screw gun for these assembly projects, make sure that your very careful when drilling bolts in. The pieces in assembly kits aren’t typically built for power tools, and may bend or break if too much force is applied. Drill it in firm, but don’t overdo it.
Here's a few pictures of the final gazebo all assembled!
If you have an assembly project that is a little more than you bargained for, we would love to help out. Click here to book an OddJobber for your project!