Building Your Flat Pack Furniture Toolkit

Most Americans associate flat-pack furniture with a certain retail furniture giant, but this style of ready-to-assemble furniture has taken off in popularity across a range of market segments. Flat-pack furniture can now be found everywhere from major furniture stores to big-box retailers. While many groan when thinking of assembling this kind of furniture, it doesn't need to be a hassle. In fact, flat pack furniture is often a cost-effective option to buy long-lasting and attractive pieces for your home.

While these kits usually include everything you need to get the furniture together, that doesn't mean that you should stop there. A quick trip to your local hardware store can provide you with a wealth of options for making this furniture even stronger and more durable. If you're about to assemble several pieces of flat-pack, then this guide will help you to construct the perfect toolkit.

Step 1: Good Tools

Many pieces of flat-pack furniture include small allen keys and even a tiny screwdriver. While these are helpful in a pinch, good tools can make all the difference. A nice set of screwdrivers, a high-quality allen wrench set, and a solid hammer are usually all that you need. Remember that most flat-pack furniture panels are engineered wood, so it is important not to overtighten fasteners. Power tools should only be used if you are experienced and comfortable with their use.

Step 2: Glue

Have you ever assembled a flat-pack bookcase or table only to notice a disconcerting wobble? Ready-to-assemble furniture typically uses dowels or peg and cam systems to join pieces of wood together. These joins are solid enough to stay together, but they can create furniture that feels unsteady. Gluing areas where panels meet one another is a great way to shore the stability of your furniture and increase its longevity, although it will make it difficult to disassemble in the future. Add glue to any dowels inserted into wood pieces, as well. When selecting a glue, look for heavy-duty wood or construction glue.

Step 3: Screws

Having a good selection of wood screws on hand is always helpful. Not only will this allow to replace screws that go missing, but it will also allow you to use longer screws. Increasing the length of screws by 1/10" and 1/8" can add significant support. When doing this, be sure that your longer screws will not penetrate the wood to the other side.

Step 4: Additional Bracing

Many hardware stores sell simple metal braces or cross-bracing bars. Flat-pack furniture typically uses a cardboard backing piece to provide extra stability, but the frame of the furniture will often extend beyond this. Adding braces behind the backer board is an excellent option to prevent wobble and help the furniture to resist shearing forces.

With a little knowledge and creativity, it's easy to find endless options at any hardware store to improve your affordable flat-pack furniture. Taking the time to build a kit of tools and bits before you begin assembly will ensure that your new furniture will stand up to the test of time.