Don’t Believe The Manuals With Self-Assembly Furniture

Don’t Believe The Manuals With Self-Assembly Furniture

SturtDesk.JPGEveryone knows that putting together flatpack furniture can be aggravating, but assembling the Sturt desk from Officeworks presented me with a challenge I’ve not faced before: a printed guide that wasn’t just filled with poor, tiny, diagrams and incomprehensible product abbreviations, but actually skipped several crucial steps and also put others in an order that would render the desk impossible to complete. (When I posted on Twitter that I was assembling a desk, one friend replied “hope it’s not from IKEA”, but their manuals are in fact models of clarity compared to this one.) I got the job done eventually, and I was happy with the end result, but the experience emphasised the importance of not just sorting through the parts and reading through the instructions, but also thinking about whether they make sense, and modifying or ignoring them if they don’t. Have you faced similar challenges with built-it-yourself furniture? Share (and vent) in the comments.


  • Is that a snap of it assembled. Are you sure you did, in fact, get it right? Coz to me there’s something oh so wrong! for starters are you sure it isn’t old stock rescued from the tip marked “1978 no good then, no good now”. And is’nt that fake veneer look meant to be the other way around so you can’t actually SEE it? And are you sure that shelf is meant to be on top – coz isnt it a health hazard for not only collecting all the dust your home has to offer but also all the folders, magazines, nick-nacks DVDs that should actually be in the tip. In that position you will surely experience an unwanted surprise while browsing Lifehacker one night when the narrow shelf dumps all its contents on your head. And didn’t you forget the back board coz I can see your wall ready to get crayoned and markered and highlighted.
    (Oh and so far so good with pretty damn good instructions from Ikea – neither of my two orders from Officeworks ever arrived – thank God).

  • a friend of mine said he was thinking about geting a new computer and im sure he might one day need a small desk for the computer or other house hold items. i will recomend this website to him before he makes a purchase, i’m sure the information here will help him with the desk he might eventialy purchase and he can avoid the sticky situation the writer had experienced.

  • I will no longer buy flat pack furniture from either bunnings or officeworks. Both companies production standards, instructions and general design principals have proven sorely lacking for me more than once.
    IKEA on the other hand, good design, straight forward instructions, i can but heartily recommend every assembly experiance thus far.

  • I am on my way to return my sturt desk to officeworks. Half the pieces were missing and most of the locking nuts made of some type of plastic smashed when tightened. Terrible quality and difficult instructions. I congratulate you on completing the job Angus but I’m buying a desk for my daughter and this one is likely to fall down on her. I think I will have to spend at least twice as much to get the quality.

  • I bought one of these for my room. Did you notice how they don’t tell you how to use certain important parts of the design, and miss out large chunks altogether? I almost felt like crying when I finally finished.

  • HELP! My dad is helping me put this same desk together and we are only up to putting the draw runners on…. we have noooo idea how to do it as the instructions are useless. Is there a website that can help me with better instructions??? This is terrible but a nice looking desk

  • I’m doing trying to do this right now and seriously am having a mental break down – the instructions are… s**** fill in the blanks. It doesn’t tell you where to put what exactly the C,E,J screw together.. hello? What direction do you put the runners. Ikea instructions are far clear. I am pretty good at putting things together but this one has got me. It’s sitting in pieces on my lounge room floor. I understand you get what you pay for but surely a set of decent instructions can’t be too much to ask!

  • Very poor instructions and I ran out of connectors. It says that connectors must be fixed on to panels A, P, G..and so on but it missed panel AA. When you are fixing one step you need to refer to following steps to figure out how it all unfolds. I fixed the draw runners wrong way around once. After about 8 hours, I managed to fix it but the drawers only go half way. Will have another look at them today.

  • We’re up to the drawer runners. There are holes already there for the screws when you’re at this part. It’s just which way do the runners go? Not as in vertical or horizontal – I’m talking about the wheel with the metal bit on the left/right. Which way for which piece? It’s so hard to explain…

  • Man talk about frustration I have never been so Grumpy putting something together my whole life..the instructions might as well be written in Japanese as I found myself losing my sanity and my hair ( as much as my already bald head could handle ) trying to put together a desk that looked so bold and upright on display …this should be a breeze I thought boy was I wrong…good luck to all who may put this nightmare desk together…yours sincerely MR GRUMPY. Thanks of course to dumb desk…

  • It’s funny, because I’ve been putting together a LOT of flat pack furniture lately (new study, my sisters kids, friends etc), and I found the Sturt desk pretty easy to be honest. Yes, the instructions were not a beacon of clarity, but nor were they in a foreign language.
    Dunno, maybe it’s just my disgustingly high IQ but I found this one dead easy.

    • are you anywhere near Seaford, Vic? My sturt desk has been sitting in pieces shoved back into the two boxes (in a fashion) because I cannot fathom it at all. I will admit I am not good at assembling furniture, maybe that part of my brain is missing or dead?? My husband commented and when I asked him to help me, he said “Oh the instructions are very ‘vague’ it will be a whole day job”, thus it is still leaning against the wall waiting to go back or be put up by somebody. Officeworks charge $180 to do it, I am even tempted to pay them the damn money just to get the desk together and the desk is not that nice, certainly not worth that much (as well as what I paid for it). Agh!!!!!!!

  • It took me two hours, followed it step by step, easy-peasy. One word of advice, always put the connector screws wherever there is a locking nut and think laterally when it comes to the drawer runners. You can do it. Mine is as sturdy as a rock.

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