Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, is known for design-savvy, low-cost wares more than heirloom-quality goods. But the world’s largest furniture company has been doing quite a bit of R&D in the ‘ole woodshop. The result is a new joinery technique with the potential to totally transform their rep.
Back in 2013, Ikea developed the wedge dowel, a knobby plug that looks sort of like a wooden screw on a tiny plinth. The ridges of each dowel enable furniture parts to sturdily snap together without the need for allen wrenches or metal screws. It meant dramatically faster assembly times with more eco-friendly materials.
But Ikea’s product designers didn’t stop there. They’ve applied the wedge dowel-concept to other furniture joints, including the legs of the Lisabo table. Typical table legs have to be bolted to the tabletop, but the Lisabo’s legs are essentially a giant wedge dowel. They snap directly into slots in the tabletop and are secured with a small metal stabilizer. The company estimates that the wedge-joined pieces take 50-80 percent less time to assemble than their other furniture.
"I actually put together a table which used to take me 24 minutes to assemble but took me three minutes to click together," Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin tells Dezeen.
Perhaps best of all for itinerant millennials, the joints are longer-lasting and easy to disassemble and reassemble without causing any dreaded tilting or damage. The construction is also more environmentally friendly because it eliminates the need for more traditional braces and framing pieces.
In this new video from Dezeen, an Ikea engineer elaborates on the wedge dowel joint development process:
This article was originally published on 01/19/17.