IKEA Hackers

ikeahackers.net · Nov 16, 2017


When I was a child in the 70s, some of my relatives had those shelving systems like the one you can see in the image below, the Royal System® Shelving by Poul Cadovius, a famous danish designer. I’m pretty sure they had a replica, given the prices

Photo: dk3.dk

In the last years I’ve tried to find some vintage units but it was very difficult, so I looked for new ones. A Danish company has put the system up for sale again, but as you can see here the prices are still very high. (The materials are surely high quality). And I still can’t afford them.

When IKEA came out with the SVALNÄS I was very excited, because the system is cheap and very configurable. Unfortunately my living room is mostly based on walnut and walnut-tinted furniture, but their system is clear acrylic lacquered bamboo (nice texture but too light and lucid) so I decided to change it.

- 3 SVALNÄS large shelf
- 2 SVALNÄS short shelf
- 1 SVALNÄS 2-door cabinet
- 3 SVALNÄS short wall mounting
- sandpaper
- fine abrasive wool
- water based walnut wood stain
- water based transparent opaque finishing

Photo: IKEA.com

As I already made a fir TV console and painted it first with walnut wood stain and then with opaque finishing, both of them water based (I am not into solvent-based coating), I still had two cans of both, enough for the number of shelves and box to be painted.

The first step was to remove the acrylic lacquer, and this can be easily done by sanding (with a mouse sander or by hand).

I didn’t do all the sanding by myself, I went to a carpenter friend and let him do it by machine. He actually sanded all but the bevels, leaving this tedious work to me

First image shows the difference in color from the lacquered bamboo (left, the wall mounting) and sanded one (right).

Image below shows the fully sanded shelf.

Then, I tested the stain result on an hidden side, as I was not sure that the bamboo would absorb the color. And yes it did! To obtain a color similar to my other walnut-colored pieces of furniture I had to paint the wood two times.

After this I sanded all the shelves with fine abrasive wool and then applied the opaque finishing. I am not a painting expert, so the result appears somehow old and irregular (a nice vintage touch).

In the meantime I brought the metal brackets to a local company to be powder-coated with a dark color (I chose “Brun Sable 650″). You can see the result in the photos below.

The 2-doors cabinet is nice but I don’t like the metal doors, so I went to a glass-cutter and have him make 2 glass doors with an indent for opening the doors. See image below.

Here’s the the finished cabinet.

The photo below shows how I closed the half-circle shaped holes at the back of the cabinet, as I don’t need any cable or so to go inside.

The last photo gives you the idea of the finished shelving.

~ by Simone T.

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