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DIY - The Wardrobe

The last few days I've been at war with the assembly of a new 'fairly big' wardrobe.

Rebekah found the beast on, which I must say has thousands of items to choose from. They seem to be some kind of clearing house for several furniture manufacturers, as after we ordered, we found out it had a six week delivery date.

The Wardrobe came in four large boxes, which the delivery men kindly carried upstairs.

The fun began last Friday - prep day I'll call it. Creating enough space in the room for assembly, and then bringing together hammers, screw drivers, etc. we were off. Small wooden dowels wee glued into the edges of each panel (some 200 of them). Then the central part of the wardrobe was assembled.

The instructions were obviously deign by a nuclear physicist, who had a little too much red wine on the day he drew them. Several panels looked the same, apart from a few screw holes, which I later found to my cost determined which side of the wardrobe thy were to be fitted. Once that was worked out, I was off again.

First session over in a cool four hours. For all of that effort, I developed a sore back quite quickly. It clicks in and out a lot these days. Quick shower and off to my sisters 40th Birthday celebrations.

Day 2 started early. It was going to be an interesting day as I was also looking after Reuben all day Saturday as Rebekah was working. Building out from the centre, while the Wardrobe lay on its back - I kept double and triple checking the instructions to make sure I got things right. Then added one of the far side panels - progress was being made.

After all the left hand side was done, I started to mirror the actions to the right hand side, and then just before I was jiggled everything into place - my eye caught two stray pieces of wood I had set aside the day before. My mind wanted to call them 'spares' but I then had to investigate why they were there. To my horror, I had not placed them to the left and right of the central part of the wardrobe, it was clear as soon as I realised. The next hour was taken undoing much of what I had spent by now six hours so far putting together.

Recovering the time list, I got everything back to where I was before. I couldn't for the life of me though, get the final bottom right corner all together. There were about nine wooden dowels which needed to click into four different pieces of wood and try as I did, it just wouldn't click into place. Reuben was restless, my back was aching - it was time for a break.

The next day, starting out with a sore back, but having had time to think about the various ways I would conquer the corner, with several screwdrivers for leverage and a good shove, I did it. Sometimes it's best to sleep on it and use a fresh pair of eyes in the morning.

When the instructions suggested two people should do the work, and it would take 6 hours, they were right. I now had a Wardrobe laying on it's back, which needed to be upright and I was in the house on my own. So with some gentile manoeuvring, first onto a box, then a stool, then a good push, I had got it onto it's feet in one go. Then to fix the back panels (120 metal tacks), and put the hinges onto the doors, doors onto the frames, handles onto the doors etc. It all started to look great.

Sliding it into place, a breathed a sigh of relief it had crossed my mind that it seemed to big for the space we had for it - even though I measured that twice. I was exhausted to be honest by the afternoon, so left the draws until the morning.

In completing this fairly big DIY job, I had a great sense of achievement. It had taken me 12 hours over three days, but the distraction of doing something completely different was great. Both my grandfather and father were really good at DIY, although my mother nicknamed my Dad, 'Brian half a job'. DIY is something I like doing when I have the time to enjoy it. It's not so nice when you feel under pressure doing it.

I do hope I can pass on some skills to Reuben as he grows, as they were passed onto me. We live in such a consumer driven world, of throw it away, get a new one. It's great sometimes to try and fix things or repair something or up-cycle. In this case it was good to build something from real wood, something that I hope will last well into the future. I just hope we don't move house anytime soon.

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