This began as an off-handed remark from my wife about making a coffin for our graveyard at Halloween. We make something every year for Halloween, so this seemed like as good a project as any.
My son, who has been sick since last Christmas liked the idea and wanted to build it together. This would be the first project that he could "work" instead of "just "help".
That led us to try to reclaim wood instead of buying new material.
It took us four afternoons to build. Saturday: after lunch to supper time. Sunday and two weekdays for about three hours. We could have finished quicker, but I had to force him to take breaks. I feigned being tired, or he would literally have worked until he had trouble walking or moving his arms. It could probably be built in a weekend if you had everything you need, and don't have to stop and go to a store.
The only thing I bought specifically for the project was an 18 gauge nail gun ($20) and nails. The other tools, I already had.
Step 1: Supplies and Pallets
Four or five pallets
Air nailer (we used a 18 gauge nailer/stapler)
Air compressor with hose
1 3/4" 18 gauge nails
Reciprocating saw (Sawsall)
Pliers (to pull misguided nails)
Palm sander (if you want to clean the slats)
Nail punch set
Ear muffs (son didn't like the air compressor or nailer noise)
We got a bunch of pallets from a trucking company. They were in good shape for the most part, but they were dirty.