EDIT: In the end I did get some pool fencing glass, which was significantly cheaper than buying custom glass. If you look at the photos it is a perfect fit! :) Originally when I looked at the pool glass it was 16mm thick, which I thought was too thick for the table. The custom glass I was looking at was 10mm thick. What swung me to the pool glass was that Bunnings in Australia got in some new stuff that was 12mm thick... and pretty much the price difference was to significant to ignore. Custom quotes were around the $400 mark, while this pool fencing glass was only $70 :)
I was mulling over some ideas for a pallet table. While walking around a large hardware shop, the idea finally came to full formulation. It was only last weekend over beers that a friend told me of this website. Unfortunately, this website now has me mulling over building a bench seat and table for my apartment, ha, more work :)
Note: Sorry, I don’t know how advanced you might be in wood working. But I wrote these instructions so even the most basic skilled person could make the coffee table. They are long and comprehensive. If you don’t own tools, your family and friends might be able to help and save you cash! But for the basic ones out there, if I can do it, so can you :)
First what are you going to need?
Stuff to build with...
- 3 euro pallets (as they create a nice 80x120cm coffee table). Try source the ones with full pine centre blocks, as most of their heat marks are half imprinted or quite burnt into the blocks itself. This will certainly give the finished table a more industrial look about it. Whereas chip board ones I personally feel will give it a too "perfect" look about it. Also, go down slightly to read about how I picked my pallets.
- 4 of the largest running threads you want. I used 5/8 inch threads. Make sure they are zinc coated, so you don't get oxidation (rust). But if you can get bigger and drill bits to fit, then sure go for it!
- 8 washers to fit the 5/8 inch threads
- 8 massive nuts to fit the 5/8 inch threads
- A pencil.
- A ruler
- Caster wheels. I picked load bearing of 55kg for each wheel. So total weight bearing from the table wheels will be 220kg. Personally, pick the ones you feel would best fit your table. Remember though, larger wheels mean a higher table top and so large will give disproportions! Also, good idea to grab 2 wheels with stoppers on them, so you can clamp the wheel and stop the table from moving around when it’s done.
- Screws with a large enough head to fit the caster wheel holes. I just used wafer head screws.
- 2 large screws to brace a loose board at the bottom (come to that later)
- 3 small nails/screws to brace that same loose board.
- Wood glue, the cheap quick dry stuff to stop major cracks.
- A can of Polyester or whatever coat or oil your might want to give your table.
What tools will you need?
- Brace and bit tool. This is a hand crank drill, grab the 5/8 drill bit to drill in that 5/8th hole into your pallets!
- Hole saw drill kit. There are cheap ones and awesomely good ones. I just used a cheap one and it did the job perfectly.
- Jigsaw. Alternatively, a circular saw or even a hand saw.
- A power drill. Hand held or wall powered, both will chew through this soft wood!
- An angle grinder.
- A set of screw drivers.
- A small chisel.
- A small and short cold chisel, only if you have one, or a screwdriver will suffice.
- A hammer.
- A nail puller. If you don't know what one is, go to your local hardware store. A cheap carbon steel grade nail puller is about 10-20 bucks and will do and easily survive the job.
- A sander, I used an orbital, and also a cork block and sand paper. As for the sand paper selection, I used 80 grit and then 120 grit in some sections.
What pallet should you pick?
Firstly, I've never used a pallet for the creation of anything, and some of the reading over the internet freaked me out when I first got mine. Should I bleach them? Should I buy them new? Can I use them inside? In the end, I waited over 2 month to source each pallet as clean as it looked, and figured after a bunch of sanding and a coat of polyester, nothing’s going to get out of that. The pallets I got, were fortunately only used once, and quite clean. I grabbed 2 that looked aesthetically pleasing enough and then one which was some cool and very different characteristics for my top piece.
Ok, you have your pallets, are you ready!?
Put all the pallets on top of each other. Line them up as best as possible. None of the pallets are going to exactly match up, but the euro pallets are pretty good. Remember, it is going to be an industrial design, so a bit of character is a good thing. Now grab your brace and drill bit, mark your spots and drill down.
Note: Using a brace drill will actually help drill straight holes down each pallet. A power drill will kick and you will have to drill pretty darn straight to get some good holes. This is because when holding the top of the brace all the direction is downwards, whereas using a power drill it can be slightly to the side as well and then you might get misaligned holes.
Hint: To grab 4 washers and mark out where your holes are going to be, as you’ll need to cut a hole for the washer and you cannot have a nail in the way. So use the washer as a marker and then give an extra 1-2mm for some give.
Hint: Once marked, grab that ruler and mark each other pallet. This will help you figure out if your 5/8 drill bit will hit any nails on the underside. I just hit the side of one and it slightly blunted my drill bit. If you are not feeling any give you have hit a nail, just retract, don’t throw out that drill bit, you can sharpen it with a metal file.