Introduction: 5 Pallets, 3 Projects
So this all started because I really needed a coffee table for my living room. I always wanted to make something with pallets and I my work throws out pallets all the time if they aren't our standard size. So I thought, "Perfect! Free materials." Well, I got more pallets than I needed since they were free and had left over after I did the table. The other two projects weren't originally going to be made with pallets, but since I had the material, why not?
- Pallet Coffee Table
- TV/Entertainment Shelf
- Patio Deck Extension
- $0.... Pallets are free and the rest was scrap material from other projects.
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Step 1: Break Down the Pallets
There are lots of places where you can get free pallets, and there are several kinds you can choose from (some are better/safer than others depending on your use). Since there are already a ton of great Instructables on this site all about this I won't go into it. Just look it up on the search and you'll find them.
So the pallets I got were random sizes that didn't all match. I decided to break them all down and base the dimensions of my final pieces off of the materials I had on hand. I ended up breaking all of them down carefully which took forever.... There are fast ways of doing this by cutting down the sides and only having to pull the nails from the middle, but I wanted to keep as much of the natural character as I could. I pried all of the nails out of the pallets with a combination of the a nail puller, crowbar, screwdrivers, rubber mallet, and a hammer. Use whatever technique will work best in your final product. I wanted all the nail holes and the naturally weathered edges for my table, this is why I did it the hard way.
If you can get some help, this would be an awesome idea... my little helper/daughter was very eager, but didn't quite have the strength to be effective. It's still the thought that counts right? She's my "Little Maker in the Making".
NEXT... The Pallet Coffee Table...
Step 2: Easy Pallet Coffee Table
So this was the easiest of the 3 projects. I had a rough idea of how big I wanted the table for my living room and the slats on one of the pallets happened to be just about perfect. I didn't have to cut any of the slats and was able to preserve that naturally aged edges. I chose the pieces that had some great character and gave me some color variation for the top. I laid them out on the ground as I wanted to assemble them and wiped all the pieces down with a wet rag to get most of the surface dirt off.
Next, I cut the 2x4 pieces of the pallet down to the size that matched up to the slats I laid out. Since I did this while watching a movie and wasn't in my shop, I decided to cut the pieces with a hand saw. I quickly remembered how much we take power tools for granted and appreciated my grandpa cutting most of his wood by hand back in the day. Either way you get the same result. I cut 3 supports all the same size, 2 for the ends and 1 for a center support.
After the pieces were cut, I screwed the top slats into the 2x4 pieces. I used the same holes where the nails were as much as I could to keep the look somewhat rustic without making the new hardware obvious. The top slats were butted up right next to each other to have a nice table top. The bottom was left more spaced out and created a shelf space under the table.
For the legs, you can use a large variety of different styles, but I was lucky enough to have some old steel hairpin legs that I inherited out of my grandpa's garage. I don't know how old these are, but they were rusted over. I used a wire brush attachment on my drill press and got all of the rust off. To add a pop of color I spray painted these with a teal paint that was left over from a prior project. It also helped protect them from rusting anymore. Attach the legs on the bottom as you see fit, just measure so that they are all approximately in the same position in the 4 corners.
The table looked good enough with the raw natural finish, but I wanted to make the color of the wood and natural aged details pop more. I had some coconut oil that my wife bought as a moisturizer, but then decided she didn't like it. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that you could use it on wood somewhere, so I decided to try it out. It really brought out the details and color in the wood and made the whole house smell like coconut for a few days. It actually works pretty good several months later to keep any spilled drinks or food items from absorbing into the wood. You can always use a good clear coat or other finishing oils on it, but that is up to you.
NEXT... The TV/Entertainment Shelf....
Step 3: TV/Entertainment Shelf
So this project was to go under my TV. I needed something to hold the Xbox and our Modem for the internet, plus some extra space for the few DVD's, games and such we have. I did some rough sizing and sketched out a design. The design ended up changing as I started building. The nicer graphic shows the final construction.
I started by laying out the pieces I wanted for the top and sides, cut them to size, and secured them together with the the strips in the middle. I used glue and nails to attach everything. See the graphic for more detail.
Most of this project was made out of Pallets. I had a scrap piece of OSB that I used for the back panel. The pallets were old and tended to crack easily. I wanted a solid board for the back since I was just going to screw it directly into the wall for mounting. In hindsight, I wish I inset the back wall a bit and added a french cleat or something to make mounting easier, but it ended up working out okay like this.
I decided to add some sliding doors on the front. I had some left over 1/8" Bending Birch from a job at work, so I cut two panels with a slight overlap in the center. I drilled a hole in each panel so I could make opening and closing it a little bit easier. There are 3 things to remember when adding sliding doors like this. First, you need to make sure the grooves for the pieces to slide in are wide enough to slide smoothly, but not too big that it ends up sloppy. Second, remember to slide them in before attaching the final side. Luckily my pieces were flexible so I could bend them, slide them into place, and let them pop back to straight. And Third, make sure that your boards that have the tracks in them are straight. I didn't realize that the top one was warped and the tracks started to be misaligned as the doors slid. I did some minor tweaks and they mostly slide straight now.
The after thought of how I was going to do the wiring ended up working out pretty well. I drilled a hole on the bottom and ran a white (to blend with the wall) extension cord to a power strip on the interior. That way I could power the Xbox and the Router from the inside. Make sure to use some wire management to keep it looking clean along the wall and inside the shelf.
Mounting to the wall...Like I mentioned earlier, a better way to do it would be to plan it with a French Cleat on the back for a stronger connection to the wall. I screwed straight through the back OSB panel into the wall and found the studs. Since this unit was fairly small and the items inside it are fairly light, this worked out fine.
There are lots of ways to finish the wood, but I liked the raw, natural look of the wood on this one.
NEXT... The Patio Deck Extension....
Step 4: The Patio Deck Extension
So I have a decent sized fenced in area at my place, but the concrete slab area was less than half of it. Our apartment had lots of the same plants and it was pretty drab. We had lots of potted plants, but they took up most of our concrete slab and we didn't have much usable space as you can see from the first picture. I came up with the idea of creating a mini deck with the left over pallets. There are basically some support slats running perpendicular to the deck that are hidden. They are used to space the main slats at the same height as the slab as well as a way of connecting all the horizontal slats together. I just mixed and matched the slats I had left to fit the width needed, and to go around 1 sprinkler that was in the way. I wasn't worried about the outer edges of the slats lining up perfectly because I knew they wouldn't be visible once all the potted plants were on there. You can certainly cut them all to size to make a clean edge. This final project probably only took about 30-45 minutes to complete since all the wood was already there and ready to go. The main time was just figuring out which slat to put where.
Easy quick project to get your mind going... and yes, I know this wood isn't the best for outdoor use like this, but it is a temporary solution while I live here. If you want a long term solution, you could always replace it every few years since the material is free, otherwise just use the appropriate materials for long term exterior use.
NEXT... The Conclusion...
Step 5: The Conclusion!
So that's it! 3 projects, all fairly easy... and all made for $0. I hope you enjoyed this, make sure you click up top to
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Thanks for reading my Instructable with many more to come. For project updates or other things that I do, check out my website at www.StudioDarose.com or follow me on Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter @StudioDarose
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