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Not a Bed Frame for the Faint of Heart

I recently ordered a Zinus Lorelei Platforma Twin Bed Frame to raise up an inflatable mattress I own. It looked pretty cool, quite sturdy (it’s made out of metal) and somewhat storable when not needed with a little dissassembly.

I was impressed when I opened the box it came in from Amazon. The parts were all neatly arranged and labeled. There were even tools (e.g., a small ratchet wrench) for putting it together. Plus a set of large, easy-to-read pictorial assembly instructions.

Unfortunately the actual assembly process was a pain in the ass.

The instructions have you screw various parts of the frame together. Here are the pictures, in the order defined by the assembly instructions:

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

A major problem appears at step 5. You are trying to slide a sidebar into a coupling mounted on the end of another sidebar, each half the length of a twin bed (call it 40 inches each). The coupling you’re sliding the second sidebar into is very tight; there’s very little gap into which the sidebar must fit. That’s a feature, not a flaw, because if the gap was wider the bedframe could easily make itself loose at the coupling point.

In practice, particularly given the (otherwise helpful) little numeric decals stuck onto the parts, there is no way to get that second sidebar to slide into the coupling. I tried everything I could think of: mallets, a small sledge hammer, gently prying open the coupling (or compressing the piece I was trying to push into the coupling with some pliers). But nothing worked.

What did work was to chuck the instructions and assemble the bed frame a different way:

  • Put the two sidebars together. Make sure the flanges that hold the cross pieces (from steps 6 and 7, not shown) are (a) on the inside edge of the sidebars and (b) oriented so the “cups” they form are facing up (because you ultimately want to be able to drop the cross-pieces in from above). I failed to to this originally and had to rebuild one of the sidebar assemblies.
    This essentially merges steps 4 and 5. Leave the bolts loose to provide play so the rest of the assembly works more smoothly. You’ll probably have to put a bolt through the coupling and the two sidebar pieces before you mount the foot piece (“E”) that covers and reinforces the coupling. That’s so you don’t push the coupling so far that you can’t line up the holes in it and each of the two sidebar pieces. You then remove the bolt, put the foot piece in place, and connect it to the sidebar with the provided bolts.
  • Mount the assembled sidebars onto the two end frames. Take care to ensure you orient the sidebars so the flanges which hold the cross-braces are, again, (a) on the inside of the the frame and (b) oriented so the “cups” face up.
  • Pop in the cross braces per steps 6 and 7 and voila! you’re done.

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