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I was assembling an IKEA bookshelf, and one of the most important steps to ensure safety is the installation of the L-bracket to secure the bookshelf to the wall. All the parts, including the bracket and the screw for attachment onto the shelf, are included (see below). To my disappointment, however, the long mounting screw for attachment to the wall is evidently missing. So now, I find myself unable to complete the project due to the missing mounting screws.

I don't think this is a special case for the bookshelf or for IKEA. Why don't furniture manufacturers include wall mounting screws in the package for convenience?

Assemby Instructions for IKEA bookshelf

Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/assembly_instructions/billy-height-extension-unit__AA-982217-8_pub.pdf

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    I have a screws box which has a variety of screws and other fixings for use in situations like this - a few drywall, plastic rawlplugs for concrete in various sizes etc - a good addition if you plan to do projects as safety is paramount. – Solar Mike Mar 29 at 6:30
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    Many of them DO come with such screws, though rarely ones suitable for all possible situations... – Mike Brockington Mar 29 at 10:55
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    @MikeBrockington The last IKEA piece I bought did come with one pair of screws, and 3 different kinds of wall anchors (for wood, drywall, and concrete). Mind you I didn't use any of them because the furniture in question is a 3' high clothes dresser - nearly impossible to tip over unless you're really trying to. It even has warnings to open only one drawer at a time to avoid tipping - I could open all 3 drawers while they're loaded with lead bricks and that thing still wouldn't tip, methinks they might be a tad over-cautious about this sort of thing. – Darrel Hoffman Mar 29 at 13:58
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    @DarrelHoffman They might be "over-cautious" because they settled a $46 million lawsuit resulting from a tipped-over Ikea dresser (probably not loaded with bricks) crushing a child to death. – Dan C Mar 29 at 16:16
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    @DarrelHoffman There were actually 2 child deaths from Ikea dressers, one from a 30" tall dresser and one from a 48" tall dresser. – Dan C Mar 29 at 17:20
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From the linked assembly instructions:

Screw(s) and plug(s) for the wall are not included. Assess the suitability of the wall to ensure that it will withstand the forces generated. Use screw(s) and plug(s) suitable for your walls and the intended load. If you are uncertain, seek professional advice. Read and follow each step of the instruction carefully

If they included default hardware, customers would use it without thinking even in cases where it was not appropriate for their wall construction, presumably leading to a potential liability for Ikea. By not including any hardware for wall attachment, they put the liability on someone else to get the right kind of hardware for however the customer's wall is built.

This is some speculation about Ikea's reasons based on their instructions. I imagine the situation is similar for other furniture retailers.

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    Agreed, but it's also heavily a cost saving measure. Plenty of other wall-mounted products (ie: VESA mounts, etc) will come with hardware suitable for a number of common wall constructions and directions for each. Adding the extra hardware is just a cost. Liability is just a cost. Not including these ostensibly for liability reasons is really just another way of cutting costs and making things simpler for the manufacturer. – J... Mar 29 at 12:02
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    Ikea also recently came out of a $46M lawsuit and recall that prompted the addition of these wall-mount brackets to all of their dressers and drawers. Given that these were not part of the original furniture design and had to be added in afterwards we can also guess that Ikea did the minimum necessary to comply with whatever the courts ordered. – J... Mar 29 at 12:04
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    Guys, I'm sure it's NOT a cost saving measure. It would be an unmeasurably low cost to have the line add in a couple of screws or fasteners. – Fattie Mar 29 at 21:40
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    @Fattie It's not just the fasteners - it's the liability(ie: design and sign phase). I'd actually be curious to see if new (post-lawsuit) Ikea designs contain wall fasteners and whether all the back catalog just got brackets thrown in as as backpatch. Ikea is also the one-mouse-button of the DIY world, and wall fasteners need at least a stud finder, and maybe a masonry bit and hammer drill...and maybe that's just too scary for an Ikea instruction booklet with no words...designed for people who own no tools. – J... Mar 30 at 0:42
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    Though, if I understand the way these brackets work correctly, not much strength is needed - they keep the piece of furniture from ever being in a position where its weight could lever the anchors out of the wall .... – rackandboneman Mar 31 at 4:18
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While they are 100% sure what type and size of fastener is required for assembling the product, they have no control over the type of wall/support you are installing/fastening the product to (concrete, masonry, wood..etc). It may have recommendation in the instruction sheet, with the type and size indicated for varies types of support medium, and indicating whether they are included in the package or not. But, usually the furnished parts are list on the inventory sheet enclosed with the package. From that, you can tell if a part is to be provided but missing.

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The obvious answer is that they sometimes don't include them by default because not everybody needs them, so omitting them would reduce cost (and waste).

The premise of "why don't they come with wall mounting screws included?" isn't true; sometimes they do. If they don't, you can ask IKEA for wall mounting screws, which they will provide for free.

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Ikea, and other providers, have no clue as to what wall their bookcases (and other furniture) might be destined for. Several different constructions come to mind, each needing a different screw/fixing for the bracket. They could furnish all kinds of fixings, but then some customers would use an inappropriate one, and there could be legals involved. Much better to leave that to the customer!

Imagine the situation where a bookcase was placed needing one bracket into a wooden doorframe, the other into plasterboard, or brick. Potential for all kinds of diy mistakes!

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