29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
This bookshelf is practical for small spaces, and I like its simple appearance. It was straightforward to assemble, though a bit trickier when doing it solo.
Now for the bad. When I buy things online, I expect the items might be somewhat different than what I expected. But this product took me by surprise. First, the color is loud: much more orange than as shown in the picture. Second, contrary to what some other reviewers wrote, it is not true wood, though I can see why they thought so at a glance. It's much heavier than plain wood, and when I put in one of the screws on top, a piece of the veneer popped up, proving that it's composite. Third, the design of each shelf is high enough to accommodate large hardcovers, and that's what I bought it for. However, shelves are held in place only by two 2"-ish screws on either side. When I filled half a shelf with textbooks--not a problem for any decent bookcase--the shelf groaned. I wish there was even a little bit of bracing. If all you have is lightweight mass market paperbacks, you won't have a problem, but I'm guessing it won't last long for my purposes.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Being senior citizens (both of us are a tick over 60), my wife and I have always bought the best furniture we could afford from the day we were married. Since we were into Early American and Traditional furniture, furniture makers such as Ethan Allen, Pennsylvania House, and Tell City were the sources we bought our wood furniture. Solid hard rock maple, cherry, and walnut, these types of wood furniture are what we've invested in over the years. These were not veneered plywood-based pieces, but solid hardwoods in the aforementioned woods. Expensive... yes (for example, $1,200 in the mid-'80s for a Queen Anne style sofa table), but they look as good now as they did when we purchased the majority of them 25 to 40 years ago. Ethan Allen is still around, but they've reinvented themselves, and both Pennsylvania House and Tell City no longer exist. It seems the younger generation desires cheap, e.g. throwaway furniture, thus great American furniture companies have gone away in favor of those in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and IKEA's many sources, which often tends to be Poland.
Why did I discuss these companies, simply to lend some credibility that I know how good furniture is built, in terms of joinery, and overall construction and attention to detail. For the price paid for the Winsome Wood 4-Tier Bookshelf in Honey, this item is an excellent value. Is the joinery perfect? No, but it's certainly good enough for its use and $79 price! I'm not certain of the type of wood used here since the country of origin is Thailand, but its real solid wood, not a veneered form, and certainly not particle or flake board based. It's likely a wood that's plentiful in Thailand - if any other owner knows the wood type, please comment. The joinery on the upright side pieces is acceptable; the joinery on the individual shelves is excellent.
The instructions, essentially graphically based, are very straightforward and easy to follow. The instructions recommend two people for assembly, but I assembled it by myself in less than 30 minutes. One area was, and still is, a bit cloudy, and that pertains to the three horizontal pieces that connect the left and right uprights at the rear of the unit. These pieces have two dowel pins on each end that fit into two holes at the rear of the left and right upright piece. The dowel pins are fluted, and this implies that wood glue should be used. Nothing was stated, or graphically implied, regarding the use of wood glue at these twelve strategic points. I submit that if you plan to never knock this down into its individual pieces again. you may wish to strongly consider the use of a bit of wood glue on the dowel pins. However, if you do plan to take it apart in the future, certainly don't use the glue. I didn't use wood glue, and have noticed these three horizontal pieces do rock a bit back and forth. I'm seriously considering taking it apart, and applying wood glue to the dowel pins, as I'm sure it would increase the structural strength at the rear of the unit.
I did not use the 4mm Allen hex wrench supplied in the package to install the hex head wood screws. Rather I used a hand driver with a 4mm hex head for the initial "loose" tightening of the screws. I put some Bee's Wax on the threads of the screws, and this makes the process much easier as it lubricates the threads and wood during the tightening process. This is an old wood worker's trick to ensure that you don't crack the wood. A bar of hand soap, especially Dove, will work in a pinch. I performed the final tightening after all of the shelves were installed with a 4mm hex head extension on a 3/8" socket and ratchet. This made the installation of the top very easy, as the supplied 4mm Allen wrench interferes with the upright side pieces when tightening the top shelf. I know many homeowner's don't have these various types of tools, but I used to work on European cars as a hobby, and I have tons of unique Metric tools, including socket sets with Metric hex head drivers.
The color is a touch lighter in color or hue than viewed on Amazon's product page, but this could be the calibration of my LCD monitor. It's used in our finished basement with some oak office furniture that I hand finished with walnut Danish wiping oil, so the Winsome bookshelf is certainly a lighter shade than the oak, tending toward almost a light to medium maple color. But, it's totally acceptable for our application to hold photos, and other small items. The finish on the uprights and the tops of the shelves are fine with no roughness whatsoever. It's obvious there's a difference in finish of the top and bottom of each shelf, but the tops of the shelves on our unit were sanded smooth and the finish was even. All in all, very acceptable finishing of the bookshelf. We considered a leaning shelf, aka ladder shelf, for this application, but we have a cat, and we've been told that the leaning shelf becomes a new toy for any feline!
Overall, this bookshelf is a serious bargain at Amazon's current price point. Go to Wally World or any other Big Box store and price out something similar in particle board. There is absolutely no question that this is superior to any particle board-based inexpensive bookshelf. What amazes me is given Amazon's profit margin, the margin of the importer (Winsome), what the cost of production of this product must be. No wonder American companies can no longer compete at the low end with this type of real wood product. This bookshelf probably hits incoming customs at a cost of less than $25 to $40 per unit (likely even less I'll wager), and that's simply unbelievable given the overall quality of this bookshelf.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2010
The unit arrived in a banged up box. There was a chip missing from the top shelf. The wood is not very well protected inside the box and these boxes seem to get beat up in transit.
It does appear to be made of solid wood, but the joinery work is imperfect -- there are some gaps here and there between glued surfaces.
My major issue was that, at least in my model, the screws that were shipped were too short to reach through the pre-drilled holes for the top shelf. They could just barely reach, but not far enough in to bite and secure the holes. Repeated attempts proved fruitless.Those holes, moreover, are in a fairly inconvenient spot -- it's awkward trying to tighten the hex screws with the included obligatory cheap hex key, and impossible to reach with a regular drill in order to deepen the holes enough for the screws to reach the top plank.
I haven't seen anyone else report this problem so maybe it was just a flaw in my unit -- the widened part of the holes wasn't deep enough. I am sure that if I contacted the seller something could have been worked out, but the unit was mostly assembled when I discovered the critical flaw and at that point it would have been even more of a hassle to send back as I would have had to disassemble it all and then repack it.
I elected to take it down to the workbench and drill alternate holes and countersink the screws. It worked fine and looks good enough now, except for the chip on the top shelf. Someone else might not have as easy of a fix at hand though.
If I hadn't had that problem I probably would have given this four stars as the unit assembled well otherwise and is fairly sturdy. Maybe three because of the chipped piece of wood (I do see others have mentioned a similar issue so perhaps the manufacturer needs to do a better job packaging these units)and the poor joinery. But, to me, if it's not right when you get something of this size, it's a considerable inconvenience to go through the returns process and wait for it to be shipped again. Even if the manufacturer sends you a new unit if you complain, that's not the experience I'm looking to have when I buy something like this. I've bought several home-assembly items from Amazon in the past, so I'm sure it's an isolated problem, but it's still a problem. So two stars it is.
I think next time I'll opt for a more expensive brand.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
It only took me 20-minutes to assemble the bookcase. Instead of the included allen wrench, I used a 5/32 allen-head adapter on my screwdriver, which made assembly much easier and quicker. I only used the included allen wrench to install the top because my screwdriver wouldn't fit between the slats.
The illustrated directions are extremely easy to follow. Assembly was easily done alone because the sides of the shelves and slats rested on the floor as I tightened the screws---a definite plus that I've rarely encountered with items that require assembly. The bookcase was well-packaged, and all pieces were included and in excellent condition.
During assembly I added a little wood glue into the holes for the slat pegs for some additional support. After the bookcase was assembled and standing upright I made sure that each screw was tight before installing the hole plugs (I used a rubber mallet to make sure they were seated well). The unit appears to be sturdy, with no wobble or sagging.
I'm not thrilled with the color. It's a little more orange than I expected, although other reviewers mentioned the same thing. Other than the color, I have no complaints about this bookcase. It's a great value and the size is perfect for my needs. It is going in a corner in my living room and will hold the cable box, a DVD player, and a few other knick-knacks. I didn't want a media-center that can overwhelm the room, just a small shelving unit that gets the job done without screaming "look at me."