A DIY Project for a Rainy Day

Since my pergola was finished at the end of the autumn I have been looking around for some garden furniture. Eventually I would like a dining table and chairs but most sets that I’ve seen have large tables and six or more chairs. I don’t need that many and I don’t want the whole space taken up with furniture. I decided to buy what is known as a “Jack and Jill” chair, two timber chairs with a small table between them. That will be fine for my needs for now.

After a lot of hunting around and comparing prices I decided that I’d  get the best deal online so I ordered them and a week later they were delivered to my local post office where a friend collected them for me. As I expected the chairs were a flat pack and had to be put together.

My new garden furniture arrives, in pieces.
My new garden furniture arrives, in pieces.

I was relieved to see that an Allen key or hex key to use its other name was all that was required in the way of tools. When I worked for the railways one of my jobs was to replace damaged seats on the suburban rail cars so although I’m not the most handy person I did learn how to use an Allen key. I was less happy that the instructions were in the form of a diagram. I am happier when instruction sheets include step by step written instructions as well as pictures.  However, as these things are often written in “Chinglish” they are not always helpful anyway although they can be an entertaining read.

The instructions, just a diagram.
The instructions, just a diagram.

The weather was very bad and I didn’t want to drag all the heavy pieces out to the shed so construction took place mainly in the kitchen and finally in the sun room. I started as I always do by identifying all the pieces and found that I was one bolt short but as the instructions were not entirely clear about where it was supposed to go I decided to go ahead and start anyway hoping it would become clearer whether it was a vital part later.

Working out how it goes together.
Working out how it goes together.

The first part went together without any trouble, the hardest part being getting the seat back at the right angle.

One chair completed.
One chair completed.

When I came to the second half  I struck a few problems. It was not clear to me which way round the seat back had to go, they had little metal plaques on them and I couldn’t decide if these were meant to be at the back or the front. In the end I decided that I didn’t care as long as they fit into the correct slots and now have one facing the front and one the back. Well I never said I was Scott Cam. When I came to attach the table I discovered that  I had put the wrong piece on one of the chairs, two of them had little holes for the bolts for the table but it was very hard to see this on the diagram. Luckily it is not hard to undo bolts with an Allen key as long as you have not over tightened them.  I could have  got mad at this point but I didn’t, I decided to leave it for the day and come back fresh to finish it. Once I attached the table I discovered what the smallest bolts were for and then realised that although it was not shown on the diagram they were also supposed to be used on the inside of the seat back, except of course that I was one short. I went back and redid the seat backs and despite being a bolt short it seemed good and sturdy and took my weight when I sat in it.

As it had stopped raining by this time I dragged the whole thing outside and into the pergola and here is the result.

And Finally...
And Finally…
The chairs in place.
The chairs in place.

Not bad if I do say so myself.


I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. My current housemates are Cindy, my 14-year-old Staffy-Lab X dog and Polly the world's most unsociable cat who is seven.

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