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Take Another Little Piece of my Heart
Ikea Billy Bookcases
Member Name: assethound
Ikea Billy Bookcases
Date: 13/09/01, updated on 15/09/01 (13399 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonably priced, Clear instructions - mainly pictures
Disadvantages: Need to use a jigsaw if your skirting boards aren't miniscule , You may have to pay to get them delivered if you don't have a van
Ever since I accidentally sliced the top of my left index finder off a few years ago (dear reader tremble not - it was stuck on again by a member of the medical profession - well, a shocked friend with a plaster - and miraculously managed to stick itself back on) I have regarded sharp things with some trepidation.
The faint-hearted would be well advised to stay away from Billy bookcases - you will need a jigsaw to make them fit your skirting boards.
Easy to assemble - as long as you follow the instructions carefully and check off all the screws and fixings as you unpack them - Billy bookcases are the cheapest sturdy bookcases you will find anywhere.
I have six in my house, four of them with glass doors with aluminium frames (very stylish). We also have a corner unit to take the wall of books around the study.
Here are my Tips and Recommendations for Billy bookcases.
1. Carefully measure the room you intend to fix the bookcases in.
2. If possible, consider the type of walls you are going to fix them up against - they will need bracketing to the wall as they will be enormously heavy when fully loaded, and you should preferably fix them against a solid external rather than a hollow internal wall.
3. Chose a layout for the bookshelves that works well - and consider room for expansion. If you are a bibliophile like me your collection will tend to expand exponentially - to the extent that I am currently putting a whole bookcase full into storage in the attic for a while to make room for more (web design and programming languages).
I used graph paper and measured my room's dimensions to plan the layout of our bookshelves. This can be done easily by drawing the room into a piece of graph paper, and drawing th
e size of the bookshelf base to the same scale - you can then cut this out and place it on your room plan without all that tedious rubbing out and crumpling up. I used this technique to plan our kitchen last year too, and it worked very well.
4. Make sure you have the proper tools.
You will be supplied with allen keys and all the necessary bits to tighten the special IKEA fixings, but you will also need a set of screwdrivers, a jigsaw for cutting the bases to fit your skirting board and make holes for any wiring that needs to be passed through the sides, and some sand paper for smoothing any rough edges.
A pen or pencil and ruler will also come in handy for the jigsawing, as will a metal tape measure.
It is also a good idea if assembling a number of bookshelves to empty the room of any other furniture as they are very large and can be difficult to maneouvre.
5. When you go to IKEA to buy your bookshelves, seriously consider paying for delivery.
Unless you have a van or large car such as a people carrier or estate you will be unable to get the full height bookshelf flat packs into your vehicle.
They are also extremely heavy and difficult to carry.
Make sure you get a proper trolley in the warehouse to put to flat packs on, and I would strongly recommend that once you have paid for them you take them to the home delivery point.
Delivery of six packs of bookshelves cost us £15, and we eliminated the risk of injuring ourselves or dropping the flat packs and damaging the goods - they are trained to do this, and are insured!
As it happened one pack was damaged when we opened it, so we simply rang IKEA and asked them to collect it and deliver another one.
If we had collected it ourselves that would have been two trips to IKEA, not to mention the queuing up at Customer Services with a heavy flat pack on a trolley, and then going back to the warehouse....
6. Consider buying doors to fit your bookshelves - we have glass doors on four of ours (80cm wide full height) and they keep dust of the books and make the room look a lot tidier. When we bought our doors they cost £95 per bookshelf, but they were very easy to fit and look great - if you buy glass doors you could also fit fabric panels or even wallpaper behind them to match your room.
7. When you come to assemble the bookshelves, make sure you have plenty of time to spend. Assembling mine took me a full day, and putting the doors on later took a couple of hours.
Clear the house of kids dogs cats and partners if you are prone to argue over petty domestic issues.
It is perfectly possible to assemble them on your own, and possibly preferable when a certain degree of concentration is needed.
You will also be using a jigsaw unless you have the smallest possible skirting boards - so keep people away - and be careful yourself.
8. Use a large tupperware style box to put your fixings in, and check them off as you find them.
Unpack one bookshelf at a time and dispose of the cardboard and polythene packaging - preferably by chopping it up and putting it in your green bin if you are lucky enough to have one (we have two and recycle most of our rubbish now).
Keep the instructions safe! You may find it helpful to read them through a couple of times and perhaps mark off what you have done with a highlighter, or even write a separate list of what you need to do.
9. The first job I did was to jigsaw out the skirting board hole a bit more to allow the bookshelves to fit flush against the wall (very important for safety!) - I managed to do a really good job, and I had never used a jigsaw before and bought one to do the job, having realised on unpacking the bookshelves that they would not fit flush to the wall becaus the cut out for the skirting is very small.
The best type of jigsaw to
use is one with a scrolling blade, as you will have to cut curves. You will also need to fit an appropriate blade for the job - consult the manual.
When using any power tools I cannot stress enough the absolute importance of safety.
Always switch off and preferably unplug as well when you have stopped using the jigsaw - and that includes putting it down to stop for a breather.
Use safety goggles.
Use a workbench or prop the side of the bookshelf up against a chair - but make sure that nothing is under where you are cutting!
If you need to cut a hole in something - as I did in the side of our corner unit for the TV and video cables - draw the hole on first and then start off by drilling a pilot hole so that you can get the blade in.
If you are going to have a corner unit like we did - consider getting a couple of the tall CD towers that fit - I forget the name but they match the Billy range - and use them as spacers. That way you will have plenty of room for cables - and we managed to position ours so that they were in front of the power socket.
When jigsawing, it is best to saw from the side that will be visible - then any damage caused by the blade will be behind.
10. Having assembled your new bookcase, place it against the wall and fit one to two strong metal brackets to secure it - the last thing you want is to have a bookcase toppling onto you or you children!
We have been very pleased with our bookshelves - they have been admired by all who see them, and are strong enough to take whole shelves of thick computer manuals without a whimper.
The corner unit easily holds a 14 inch TV set, a video recorder, games console and several large art books. Having cut holes in the side for cables (which you can't see unless you practically have your head in it) we have no trailing wires.
are ideal for those who want a good quality bookshelf without spending a lot of money. There are several different finishes available, including a range of wood effects (ours is light oak) in different shades, and the plain white finish. There may well be other finishes available now.
I have found the shelves to be easily adjustable - although you may need to buy some more shelves if you plan to use the bookshelf for a lot of paperback novels.
We paid about £175 per large 80cm full height bookshelf, including the aluminium and glass doors.
An excellent product.
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