One of our more agonizing decisions in our kitchen-dining room conversion was settling on a dining table.
We had wandered around various furniture establishments with a sample of the wood grain top to be used on the dining area cupboards, which was a relatively light oak. Anything too yellow would clash. A twin puzzle was the colour of chair seat material, which we didn’t want clashing with the Oxford blue of our island unit which would be nearby.
Enter Ercol Romana, first spotted in Furniture Village and subsequently seen at Lucas in Aylesbury. Francine immediately fondled its smooth light oak wood lovingly. The example in the Lucas showroom seemed to match our light oak sample perfectly. Furthermore, there was a blue seating material option that proved a very good match to our other sample of Oxford Blue. Ignoring the Ercol price tags as much as we could, this had to be it – it was our little extravagance [as if the whole project wasn’t extravagance enough].
Ercol this may be but this is modern, sexy Ercol; Romana is built in Italy so I assume was designed in Italy, too. It took the usual 8-12 weeks but eventually “was in the country” and available. Lucas was happy to store it until our darn floor was sorted but once that was organized, Francine arranged for delivery on 12th October.
I wasn’t really expecting an Ercol table to be assembled on site. It wasn’t “flat pack” as such but the two pairs of legs were married to the table top in our dining area by the Lucas delivery chaps using a modestly sized Allen key. I suppose International transportation of a fully assembled table would take more space, be more expensive and more prone to damage.
And so to the motion. [Lose 10 points for starting a paragraph with a conjunction – I’m picking up bad BBC News habits.] Once the delivery team had left us to admire our new table, we naturally started fiddling with it. It was very tight to pull apart and extend but that’ll probably loosen up with use. More worrying was the movement induced by our leaning on the two ends, unextended. Rather than being solid, as I expected, they flexed up and down, rather like a leaf spring. The movement on one end was about 5mm, the other about 4mm.
I could imagine diners attempting to saw through a traditionally ropey British steak and seeing it retreat as pressure was applied, only to have it spring back in their face once pressure was released. Whilst this might conjure up amusing mental images, a table top that moves while you’re eating your meal is clearly unacceptable.
As a reality check, I drove over to Lucas to compare the example in the showroom. It was the baby brother but was Romana and sure enough, the table top was rock solid. I explained and voiced our concerns to the sales folks who entered our dissatisfaction into their customer service system. Customer services would get back to us with a date for a Lucas technician to visit.
They did: the technician wasn’t going to visit until November 10th. WHAT!? Four bloody weeks? There must be an awful lot of business being done generating an awful lot of issues to be sorted out. Alternatively, of course, we’re once again falling into the standard Covid-19 trap; 2020’s excuse of choice. Our biggest concern was that this would leave us dangerously close to the 30-day time period when consumers are able to say, “it’s not good enough, take it back”.
Today I got to wondering if there was anything in the way the leg pairs had been attached. One leg in particular looked as if it was a little low compared to the side rails and to its three companions, which looked perfectly flush.
Each leg is fastened with three hex bolts so I grabbed the Allen key that came with it and set about fiddling. As I loosened the third bolt of the potentially offending leg there was an audible clunk as the table top settled slightly. The leg now looked a bit too high but I managed to align the leg with the side rail using my right hand whilst tightening the bolts with my left. It looked much better. Just because I could, I repeated my exercise on the three remaining legs though not to the accompaniment of any further clunks.
I applied my weight to the table ends. Wha’d’ya know, a spring-free table. It should now be safe to saw away at the most demanding of steaks without risking a rib in the eye. [Francine didn’t get that.]
I think we can now get over our disappointment and set about loving our extravagant table and chairs. We haven’t cancelled the technician yet, though.
Someone needs to be told that this was an issue with how the assembly on site had been done.