This is mi first Inst. so please be nice :)
After watching a lot of different instructables on fire pits and recicled pallets it came to me an idea. To combine the too things into an outdoor project. Adding two challenges, first I wouldn´t expend any money (well, not a lot, you now what I mean) second I´ll do it with my kids (16, 12 and 2).
After a lot of thinking (I´m a somewhat doutfull person) I decided to reuse a garden fire pit I´ve bought last year and was kind of forgotten in the yard and a bunch of free pallets I can take home from work.
Step 1: Building a pallet tool
I got my friendly smith to make me this tool. I got the measures and design form different instructables ( isn´t this site great?) Took home 3 pallet from a big pile, trying to pick different sizes and tipes because I wanted a "real look", in this case a "recycled look".
Step 2: Tearing down the house !!!
Well, the pallets. This was, by far, the best part for my kids. It was a beatiful and sunny saturday afternoon. We took the pallet tool, crawbar and hammer and got down to it. After a couple of hours we have dismantled entirely 3 pallets and took off half a bucket of nails.
Lessons in life: I told my kids that everithing in this world wants to stay the same. The rock wants to be a rock, the cougar wants to be a cougar. In order to change things you have to excert force, and this force always encounters resistance. No matter how bad something is, it wants to stay that way and it would resist change. Force, Drive and Patience are needed to change. In this case, the nails were the agents of UNChange and we were fighting them. The pallet wants to be a pallet, we want it to became a table and so the sweat was the result of the pallets resistance to change..... too far fetched??
Step 1: Step 3: Inventory
Well, maybe you can skip this step but It helped me a lot.
Once I had all the wood out we sorted it in different categories. Measured and counted the counted so we know were we where.
I´ve learned from past experience that it´s much better to work with what you have than to work with what you think you have.
All the wood that werent up to the task, cracked or too weak we discarded and left for the next BBQ.
Step 2: Step 4: Legs
The wood we choose for the legs was solid and very nice but it wasnt stong enogh to hold to entire table on it´s own. We cut it in 8 piedces of 50 cm in lenght as we had decided that to be the height of the table. We measured one we liked from a friend and went with it.
We glued and screwed both 8 lengths so we could make 4 legs (dhuu)
The trickiest part is that we tried to achieve a certain look and have all the screws and nails hidden form sight. To achieve that most of the time we had to work "upside down" or at least taking that into consideration.
The lenght unitying the legs are 1 meter long and were screwed and glued living 2 "easels"
Step 3: Step 5: Structure
Using the easel as base we mounted another 2 boards so to make a square.
Using the mitre saw we had 4 boards cut diagonnaly to make a square, this one 10 cm bigger than the other. The point is this: doing that we made room for the rest of the table top to be leveled and attached from below.
Step 4: Step 6: Table Top Beginnig
With a little patience and mathematics we found the middle of the table and set the pit in it. We then added 5 boards, 2 on one side and 3 on the other. That was just enough to hold the pit in place.
We secured the legs with more screws.
Step 5: Step 7: More Structure
With the previous steps we had acomplished a "table" but it was too jiggly. So we added a few more boards.
Opposite from the first ones, and this time we used nails wich was a huge improvement in time and effort.
Both boards were able to hold the pit and added structure.
We then added 2 more boards that we nailed to the legs to add extra support. We "hide" them by nailing them to the inside of the table and they are "invisible"
The next step is doing the finishing touches.
Step 6: Step 8: Filling in the Blanks
As you can see in the pictures all we needed was to fill the blanks.
To give a more "recicled" look we used boards of different withds and "shades".
Thats a farilly easy step. We measured the distance between the frame and the pit and cutted the board, just enough to fill the blank. Remember this short ones do not add to the structure they just made the rest of the table top.
Once we had all of them, we glued them, removed the pit and turned que hole thing upside down once again. We nailed this new ones from below to keep our "promise"
Step 7: Step 9: Rust Off
As you can see the pit was very rusty. I set a wire scrub on the drill and it was my second son's job to scrub it all off. He did a pretty good job.
His brother took upon himself to do the paint. We bought a can of black heat resistant paint and did the whole thing front and back.
Step 8: Step 10: PARTY!!!
With the finished thing we only did a little sanding of the rough edges and waited for the sun!!.
A couple of days later we were lighting the fire and enjoying a few sausages and beers by the fire.
The smoke was a little annoying but the overall experience was great!!
Good luck and BUILD ON!!!!