Friday, April 26, 2013

IKEA GORM Shelf Review

Four legs and some flat surfaces -- all you need to make a shelf. But if you do it yourself, you're going to need a saw, buy some pretty long 2x4s, large sheets of plywood, measure, cut, drills holes, screw them together, lalala, etc. It's a lot of work, especially if you don't do this regularly and don't have the tools (or the skill). You're likely a do-it-yourselfer if you try making your own shelf, but if you want to save some money and time, there's the GORM.

This is a bare basics shelf system that I have written of in some detail before when I reviewed the IVAR shelf system. However, this system is special enough that it deserves its own "review".

Ikea IVAR Shelf
When I say bare basics, I mean that it has very few parts, looks simple, is relatively easy (for me) to put together, and is cheap. It is constructed using solid pine and spruce with steel supporting devices (i.e. cross-brace and screws) -- info from Ikea website. The system comes in two flavors: a 35 cm deep shelf and a 55cm deep shelf (website). I have three 35 cm depth shelves, which starts at $25 each. All shelves are 174 cm tall and 78 cm wide (website). There is no packaging from my experience. You can find these in the warehouse section of an Ikea with all parts wrapped using heavy-duty zip ties. No cardboard covers the materials, so be careful when picking a set up. In my experience, I've found some "packages" with split posts/legs and cracked wood.

Ikea GORM Shelves at 35 cm depth ($25 each)

GORM shelves are joined together with the four shelves that come with each set of four posts and a brace. Unlike the IVAR system, every shelf is joined to the posts by long steel screws. With the IVAR and BILLY bookcase/shelves, only certain parts are screwed in, and the shelves are just supported by little steel dowels that aren't securely attached. Because all the shelves are screwed in, this system may actually stay upright (i.e. not tip over) unlike the IVAR system if you don't attach the cross-brace. In fact, when I put my three GORM shelves together, I was wondering what the point of the brace was -- I still put it on.

So, I put this shelf together like most large pieces of furniture: on the ground. The 35 cm system weighs 24 lb put together (according to website), so it's not too heavy. However, I would have liked a second person to help me hold things in place because of the size of the shelf -- I did it myself.

After I attached all the shelves, put it upright, and attached the cross-brace, I was almost good to go. Unfortunately, it wasn't level when I put mines upright. And because the screws made everything grip/stick together so well, it didn't level itself (i.e. shelves/posts rotating around the screws). I had to loosen almost all the screws, let it do its rotating thing, level itself, and retighten the screws a bunch of times. Leveling was definitely the most tedious part of the assembly process.

Ikea GORM Screw Holes
As with all tall pieces of furniture, I would use an anti-toppling device and I believe one was provided with the GORM. However, I've found this one to be pretty stable, but safety first and accidents happen when you don't expect it.

Being lazy, I loaded heavy stuff on the bottom. I also stuffed a bunch of stuff (a few feet high) in front of the shelves, so one can not make the shelves tip easily. Unfortunately, if you did what I did, you wouldn't be able to access half the shelves and you may as well just throw it in a pile.

Expandability / Customizability

This is another of those great modular Ikea systems. You can supposedly combine multiple sets of GORM shelves into one continuous shelf. It wouldn't be "classic" Ikea without more add-on parts now, would it? In the photo below, you can see what the ends of the posts look like. It's just a wood board sawn straight and lightly sanded, if at all. I've seen end caps available directly from Ikea. And you may be able to buy a bottle rack and clip-on basket to attach to your shelves.

Ikea GORM Top Shelf

Everyday Use
Can't help you here. We put these three shelves together, put them against the wall in a storage room, and threw our existing pile of trash on them. All they really did was allow us to hoard more trash. Now, this is through no fault of the shelf system itself! These GORM shelves are extremely cheap, well put together, tough, and look reasonably good. The Ikea website appears to portray these shelves as pantry and garage (or some other crude area) systems. However, they are untreated wood and could work anywhere you are looking for a more laid back, cruder look.


IKEA BILLY Bookcase Review
IKEA BENNO Shelf Review