Friday, August 21, 2015

Ikea HEJNE Shelf, 1 Section, Review

Got it. I've been meaning to clear some trash out of a corner of a room and put a proper shelf there for a while now. Finally did it and bought an Ikea HEJNE shelf. It was a bit disconcerting to pay almost $20 to have a $30 shipped to me, but it was that or nothing.
Ikea HEJNE Shelf: Sitting on a Floor
x1 - Ikea HEJNE 1 section in 78 cm x 31 cm x 171 cm = CA$ 29.00 (US$ 34.00)
x1 - Ikea HEJNE Shelf, 2 pack, in 77 cm x 28 cm = CA$ 8.00 (US$ 9.00)

Ikea HEJNE Assembled
Ikea OBSERVATOR Cross-Brace
Ikea HEJNE Shelf Review

I bought this online so it came shipped fully wrapped in cardboard -- not sure what it looks like at a store. The OBSERVATOR cross-brace was over-packaged, wrapped in multiple layers of cardboard to become one pretty wide cylinder. On the bright side, that cardboard unrolled into a pretty useful working surface to protect the floor somewhat while putting things together.

Anyway, after I took everything out of all the packaging, I followed the instructions for the most part. Having to film things required me to deviate a bit though. Note that this wasn't my first time putting together shelves like this -- I had previously put together 3 GORM shelves years ago and used some of my experience from that to make things go smoother.

Essentially, the shelf was put together by attaching the posts while things were laid out on the floor, standing it up to level things out, and then putting in the cross-brace. The floor was level enough that it didn't take too much work to get things lined up properly. Having screws helped and hindered the process: they kept the shelves from swinging around wildly when tightened but it took a lot more work to make adjustments. One of the legs, I noticed, wasn't perfectly straight when I took it out of the packaging. It didn't end up being a problem and I didn't even notice it after everything was screwed together. A wipe down with damp paper towel was done after finishing up.

I think I used to prefer putting together GORM shelves -- they were like a slightly bigger version of the HEJNE. However, IVAR shelves are much more preferred now. The braced, conjoined legs and more easily attached shelves seemed significantly easier to assemble -- only difficult step for me was getting the brace screwed and keeping the shelves level. My fingers were hurting for the next day from having to tighten 24 screws with an Allen key with the HEJNE.

Ikea HEJNE Shelf being put together


Check out the link to the video of the unstable HEJNE above. That was done by purposefully loosening all the screws so that they all acted like pins -- similar to an IVAR shelf. Once properly put together, the shelf felt pretty stable with the screws tightened and cross-brace attached. It did look slender and a potential tipping risk, but I received hardware in the package to fix the entire shelf to the wall.

Expandability / Customizability
The HEJNE system looked like it was part of a modular line of products with the ability add on extra parts such as shelves and posts. I bought an extra set of shelves on top of the four that came with the single section. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake because I ended up wanting more height between shelves. Out of the available add-ons I saw on the website, the end caps seemed to be the most useful at a dollar a pair.

Finished Ikea HEJNE Shelf, the lower half

How was it?
Closer inspection of this HEJNE shelf made it easy to figure out why the price was so much lower than a similarly sized IVAR shelf. There were cracks, large deteriorating wood knots, roughly sanded surfaces, and a few splinters here and there. These finishing issues were especially evident in the screw holes on the posts: splinters and other bits of wood throughout. Every IVAR shelf I've put together has been well sanded, no wood splinters that I've noticed, and pretty uniform in appearance. Unfortunately, they cost more than double. One HEJNE post also arrived with some curvature to it. Everything did go together properly in the end.

It went into the living room to hold up some not quite meant for the living room items. I wouldn't say that the HEJNE looked amazing there, but I have a thing for natural wood furniture. The fact of the matter was that the shelf was assembled without any major issues. After it went up, it stayed up, and I could place items onto it without having those things fall down. A smoother, more finely finished item would have been nice, but I could have bought an IVAR for that. This will probably end up in a rear-facing storage room hidden behind closed doors or around dark corners at some point -- the best environment for it?

I picked this HEJNE shelf up because I needed a shelf, and I wanted to see how it compared to a GORM. The item was priced relatively low, worked out, and wasn't too difficult to put together. It's been doing its job, but I would prefer to put it into a less forward-facing room holding less fine items.

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