Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ikea KULLABERG Desk Impressions: Back to Shop Class

They didn't call it "shop" back then but for a couple months in middle school, I was trusted to use a jigsaw, band saw, and drill press. That band saw was scary with how much exposed blade there was, but I used it once or twice and loved how smooth the cut was. What does this have to do with anything? Because we spent a lot of time sitting and working on "industrial-grade" tables bolted to the floors. I remember wood surfaces with weathered steel underframes. Seeing the Ikea KULLABERG desk got the nostalgia going.
Infrared shot of a vacuum cleaner.
Disclaimer: I had not had any firsthand experience with any KULLABERG desk products when I wrote this piece. Details were quoted from the Ikea United States website or Canada website in mid March 2017. Details on this page are NOT guaranteed for accuracy.

Ikea KULLABERG Desk First Impressions
Going by the photos on the product page for the Ikea KULLABERG desk (691.625.99), I saw a table with what looked like a wood surfaced desktop supported by a frame. A close-up photo of the desktop made me wonder if the table top was solid wood through its entire thickness. The items listed under the "Product description" suggested to me that it was not. Unless I read it wrong, "Solid pine, Clear acrylic lacquer, Fiberboard, recycled paper filling" fell under the "Table top" section. Terms that got my attention for other table sections were "Steel" and "Aluminum." Regardless, the standout feature was the cross-brace that, while attractive, seemed to take up a lot of space despite being two relatively narrow poles. And I noticed what appeared to be indentations on the KULLABERG's table surface in the product photos -- writing or drawing could get bumpy.

The dimensions noted on the Ikea KULLABERG desk's product page were 110 cm x 70 cm x 75 cm (width x depth x height). Exactly what I wanted in a desk. I preferred my desks to be between 100 cm and 120 cm wide, and 60 cm to 80 cm deep. This was right on the ball between both extremes. Why these dimensions? Big enough for me to lay out a lot of materials but small enough to fit in a small-ish room easily. The height of the KULLABERG was close to desks I had bought and used for years so no problem there.
Mixing hot and cold water in infrared.
A run-through of the Ikea KULLABERG's "Assembly Instruction" document initially had me worried. Again, I wasn't that familiar with furniture that was made of metal so the parts and hardware looked foreign. In the end, the assembly process did not appear that difficult to me. The most interesting thing I found out seemed to be the opportunity to choose where the cross-brace was installed: in the middle or to the rear. And the "cross" was mentioned under the "Key features" section. I would probably end up installing the brace in the middle and using it as a footrest. On the other hand, installing it in the rear would allow for more storage space and easier cable routing.

And the price listed on the website was CA$ 189.00 and I didn't notice any other color options. This cost felt reasonable to me given my impression of its construction -- metal legs, cross-brace, and all. How it handled in reality, I didn't know.

Final Thoughts
A trip back to "shop" class minus the smell of sawdust, hum of motors, and really old but solid furniture. I very much liked the industrial feel of the Ikea KULLABERG desk and the price was reasonable for me. What looked like indentations on the desktop could be an issue for writing and drawing without additional support though.

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