Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Assembly Required.

After waiting weeks for my Forgotten Ways Farm handmade, beautiful drying rack (a birthday present from me to me), it finally arrived.  In an alarmingly small box.  I dragged it inside and then ignored it for a few days out of sheer terror.  I went back to their website and, sure enough, it said "Assembly required".  A truer description would have been: "Complete assembly required - we'll send you the plans, you cut out your own pieces and it will be just as 'easy', but cheaper and faster!"  I had to clear out my dining area for enough space to put it together.  (The rare sunny day made picture quality a bit dicey.)

It was not as bad as all of that, but it was difficult to assemble because the holes were not of a consistent diameter.  So some dowels fit well, while most did not.  As an aside, there is a note that, besides a drill and screwdriver, you might need a hammer and a white candle for 'tight' dowels.  Tight is not the word.  And, yes, that is blood.  Let's never accuse me of not putting everything I have - blood included - into my efforts.

Almost done.

I am not totally mechanically-challenged, so I knew that to pound a dowel with a hammer into a very tight hole would cause one to run the risk of splitting something.  That's why I used a rubber mallet (I have many tools) and used restraint.  Even so, I ended up with a split end.  And we are not talking bad hair days here.

The end product was a very sturdy, large drying rack.  They were very responsive to my emails and are sending a replacement leg for the one that split.  They have handed off the production to another homesteading family so that they can follow their new dream (which, I believe, involves film-making) and said that the new family was assembling a video on YouTube.  That will be helpful, since the directions sent with my rack included only black and white photos seemingly taken from high above.  They were very difficult to follow.

All done but screwing
on the chains.
Pros:  High quality materials; included drill bit of the size required; nicely packaged; good design; responsive customer service; purchase supports off-grid, homesteading family.

Cons:  Took six weeks to arrive; complete assembly needed; need many tools; takes quite a while to assemble and involves lining up, pounding, drilling and screwing; instructions unclear (photographs); risk of wood splitting.

Of course, two weeks after I ordered it, I found a beautiful, old, handmade large drying rack in an estate sale for just under what I paid for the new one.  And it would not have required blood, sweat and tears...


  1. Looks like they could have assembled it and shipped in a flat box. So do you have 2 now?

    I have tried to post on my blog since yesterday and with new format after I click on done with picture loading picture disappears and won't let me put any text in either ........... I HATE CHANGE !!!!

    And new word verification is a pain in the kazzuuuuuu .........

  2. But, don't you think a bit of blood adds so much more of a personal touch?

    Sorry you had a tough time of it, but it's done, it's yours, and it should last a lifetime.

  3. Well I am surprised that it came looking like THAT. What takes 6 weeks to put that in a box? Does my Husband work there? (oops, bad Jane)And I did not know that they are not making them themselves, but have another family doing it. Dont you hate when you buy something and then find the better deal. I guess that is just the bear getting you that day. And you even have the blood splatter to prove it.

  4. Wow. That's a bummer of a story, in more ways than one. I've looked at their website (I think we're talking about the same family company) and have considered getting one, but honestly it seemed a bit pricey....even more so now knowing that it basically IS a bunch of sticks in a box. Now seeing this, and although I thank you for going through this so I didn't have to, I believe I'm going to pass. With all that assembly required, it seems that one would be just as well off to make one themselves. Too bad.
    Thanks for the review though!

  5. TL - Apparently, any assembly on their part would greatly increase the cost of shipping. And what is up with Blogger? It seems that there is something "new" every week - and new doesn't necessarily mean improved.

    Sue - I suppose you could look at it the same way you do when your new car gets its first dent. After all the hooha, I do like it very much. It is a sturdy thing!

    Jane - So was I. The original producers are now following another career, so have handed this product off to someone else. It is well-made, though, so that is some consolation. (Does the Ice Man read your comments...????)

    CR - I will say that it is one sturdy drying rack. I could load it with wet towels and it wouldn't sag, lean or budge. Keep your eyes open for racks in estate sales. Those are worth their weight in gold. I had to pass on the one I saw because I couldn't spend that much money (on the two of them).

  6. ....that would have done me in. And if I passed it off to my husband, I'm sure there would have been "words". Glad you got it up and "running".

  7. So... Why didn't they use the drill bit themselves instead of sending it to you? Strange.

    I like the idea of supporting local business, but they need to hold up their end by putting out a good product, IMO.

  8. I'm glad you got it all put together and received good customer support. Too bad about having to NEED customer support though! It is a beautiful drying rack, especially with that little touch of red! ;-)

  9. dr momi - oh, believe me, there were "words".

    Linda - They tapped the holes (you have to screw the side bars to the cross dowels - this thing is STURDY - but they recommended you drill first and screw in second so not to split the dowels.

    Candy - Why, it's almost festive!!! LOL!

  10. Sounds like a nightmare with tools and splinters. Sorry you had to go through that.

  11. Oh for goodness sakes...I was thinking a flat box would have worked too for them to ship that. Let it not be said that you don't put all of yourself into that job! I had to giggle when you said it arrived in an alarmingly small box. Wouldn't you know it! Kudos to you for your hardwork. A farmish gal never gives up!

  12. That's too bad. I've been wanting one for awhile. Guess we'll try our hand at building our own...but there will probably still be some blood loss...;)

  13. Ain't that just the way so many things go? A company or group or family produces a good product and then they sell out to someone else and the product takes a nose dive in one way or the other. What a shame.

    My much loved huge wooden drying rack was picked up at a farm auction nearly forty years ago for $7 and I wouldn't sell it for $70. I have no idea who made it but they knew what they were doing seeing as how it's lasted this long and holds a huge amount of wet laundry.

  14. Something else to shore up your "Life Experience" bank account LOL! It looks wonderful, and will be all the more special since you had to go through so much set-up trauma :)

  15. Couldn't help but comment here, even though it is many months later. I just got on the internet to see what on earth white candles have to do with tight dowel rods and I came across your post. I received (apparently) the same drying rack in the mail as a house warming gift this week, since we are now out in the country and have a great wood stove. Having five kids, I could really put this thing to use. I was looking at the b&w photos and thinking this is going to be tricky. I thought your description was very accurate and I am glad to see you succeeded. It gives me hope. Now, on to see if I can figure out this white candle thing.....

    1. Melanie - You will LOVE the rack - once it's together.... the white candle is to wax the ends of the dowels that stick so that they will slide in the holes more smoothly. I use a white candle to wax my hand saw, too. I would recommend NOT using a mallet or anything too heavy to try to help it along...Good luck!