Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ikea GRUNDTAL Valet Stand Review

Stop the presses: I have been looking for a mannequin to display clothes for a long time now. After probably a year or more of looking, I found something that was somewhat to my liking. Ideally, a Stockman bust/torso would have been excellent. Too bad it was so difficult to find one for sale around where I lived, and they were apparently pretty expensive. Plan B was a sewing template, but price and size were deterrents.

It sounds like I settled on the Ikea GRUNDTAL, but that's not true. I liked its simplicity, relatively low price, and barebones construction, The use of stainless steel, according to the product webpage, in its construction was also nice. Otherwise, I could have paid about 50% less for a MULIG valet stand -- product page said it used a powder coating.
Ikea GRUNDTAL Valet Stand Unassembled
Ikea GRUNDTAL Valet Stand: CAD$ 29.99 (US$ 24.99)

Ikea GRUNDTAL Time-Lapse Assembly

Debated whether to try to carry this home from the store using public transit or not. It seemed like it had a relatively small package according to the product's webpage. Well, I ordered it online, and yep, I probably should have tried carrying it.

Anyway, I opened the box by cutting through some tape, flipped the lid, and inside were a bunch of steel tubs wrapped in plastic. Those bags actually came in handy for wrapping some stuff to be recycled. All the parts were removed from the bags and laid out on the floor to approximate the final product -- went through all the instructions for guidance.

It took maybe half an hour to put together. The base was set up first, then the upper tubes, one at a time, until I made it to the top when I capped it off with the tray. This makes it sound a lot easier than it was. I tightened all the screws fully on the way up and had some alignment problems (i.e. screws wouldn't line up or the stand was crooked). That made me take a second look at the instructions. My interpretation was that I was supposed to hand tighten things only until the end, then use an Allen key. I ended up having to loosen everything, let things "balance out", and then retighten. Having the end of tubes precut to fit into other tubes smoothly was a nice touch.

Ikea GRUNDTAL Valet Stand Assembled

The finished stand was shorter than me and felt pretty light when moving around. After some light initial use, I didn't have a problem with it wanting to fall over. It felt more stable in one direction than the other though (i.e. more stable in the direction the base flared out). Pushing the top relatively lightly did cause a bit of vibration throughout -- possibly because it wasn't assembled completely flat by yours truly.

Expandability / Customizability
Searching for "GRUNDTAL" on the website turned up a lot of results. Apparently, it was part of a range of products. Get something matching?

Everyday Use
Didn't get that much time to play with it at the time of writing. However, what I knew was that the valet stand held my clothes adequately, whether on hangers or directly hung on the stand. The best part was that the top bar of the GRUNDTAL valet stand was approximately the width between my shoulders. This made hanging jackets or even dress shirts on it a bit nicer. On the other hand, the stitch line between the shoulders and chest of my clothes didn't line up with that top bar -- I should stick a sock or something round there.

Most of the screws I dealt with when putting the GRUNDTAL together were capped with a rounded cylinder -- see manual on Ikea product webpage for drawings. Not sure if there was an intent behind it other than aesthetics, but they did appear to help prevent snagging of clothes on screws. No snags yet -- not that I used it for that long. You can bet that I will update if a snag happens.

I was reminded recently that steel rusts when washing tools. There was a nice thick layer of rust on areas I forgot to dry off. Hopefully, the stainless steel holds up to its name over time and doesn't start rusting after I hang wet items on it or wipe it down with a damp paper towel. Nothing notable after the first wipe down.

Didn't set me back too much, wasn't hard to build, and looked good. I'd been using the handlebars of an exercise machine as a clothes hanger. This GRUNDTAL let me off-load a few items... Oh, and clothes display, that's why I got it.

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