Introduction: Pallet Wood TV Cabinet
Second Prize in the
After seeing my pallet wood window seat my father gently hinted that he would love something made from pallet wood that he could use as a TV stand. As he 'hinted' so nicely I decided to see what I could come up with.
Step 1: Gather Your Equipment
You will need to make some decisions on how big you want the unit to be. I based mine off the height of my current TV stand and length of boards I had available. The following materials list is based on my unit which measures: 1350 long x 800 high x 500 mm deep.
Lots of pallet wood. I used the thicker pieces for the frame and spacers and the planks to line to frame
Drawers and Door
12 mm Plywood was used for quick construction and to make sure it was square and ran smoothly on the drawer slides
3 mm Plywood
I applied 2 coats of Stain (Walnut) and 4 coats of Gloss Polyurethane.
Small nails for holding the boards in place
Pocket hole screws (I used 1-1/2) (Alternatively you could use dowel joints or screw in from the ends as the frames will be covered in the planks)
Soft close hinges
Circular Saw or Jig Saw
Router with flush cut bit
Pocket Hole Jig
Drop Saw/Hand Saw
Step 2: Collect and Prepare Your Wood
Note: As always, make sure you do your own research on pallet wood so that you know what to look for when picking pallets to ensure you are getting 'safe' timber. I always check for HT (heat treated) markings, ensure I cant see any chemical spills (yes some/most chemicals are clear) and collect them from companies that deal in dry goods (reduce risk of spills). Don't forget to ware PPE gear including a dust mask when dealing with saw dust.
There are many ways you can pull a pallet apart, pine wood pallets seem to pull apart with very little splitting but hardwood pallets have threaded nails that are a pain to remove and therefore split very easily. My preferred method for reclaiming the most timber in the shortest time is to use a circular saw to cut through the ends of the planks and remove the side pieces. I remove the planks from the center piece by using a Multi Tool to cut the nails flush with the center piece. As the center piece is now full of nails it is safer to throw it away then run the risk of putting it through any of your tools. I use a crowbar to remove the nails from the side pieces, the longer the better as it provides more leverage. If you have a stubborn nail or one of the heads breaks off I have found that it helps to drill a 3 mm hole beside the nail and use pincers to pull the nail towards the hole and it comes out easy.
Finally I separate all the pieces looking for the straightest boards and clean up the thin sides with an electric planer. You could also run them through a thicknesser to clean up the width of the boards if you have on or use a belt sander to clean them up, however this gets extremely dusty (ware a mask!)
Step 3: Build the Frame
Now that you have the timber prepared its time to build 3 identical frames. Cut the three long pieces and 2 ends to required length. When laying out the boards consider which edges may be the the front and decide if you want the existing nail holes to be visible or hidden.
I used pocket hole screws to join these together but you could use dowel or lap joints or screw in from the sides. If screwing from the sides consider where the screw will be seen from and adjust the layout accordingly as you may be able to hide the screws using the planks on the sides. Try to assemble these on a flat surface and check the pieces of timber are not too warped. You want a nice flat surface for the bottom so it wont rock on the floor.
Assemble the larger body using 2 of the frames and 8 spacers. I clamped it all into place and glued and screwed in from the top and bottom to save on pocket screws. These will be hidden once the planks are added.
Step 4: Lay the Base Boards
Use the electric planer to clean up the edges of the planks. Be careful not to remove too much and end up tapering the plank. My planks ended up between 80-85 mm thick depending on how much I had to remove. I also ran mine through the thicknesser to clean them up and save a lot of sanding.
Start laying out the planks on the bottom frame and rearrange the pieces of timber until you are happy with the way it looks. Trim the boards so they are just a bit longer then the frame using a saw. Glue the planks into place by applying glue to the frame and edges of the planks and nail them onto the frame. You will have to cut the pieces to fit around the spacers.
Step 5: Finish the Frame
Using the same method as the last step dividers were added for the DVD shelf and then boards were glued and nailed on the top. I used a trim router bit to trim all the boards flush with the frame before I placed the top on to ensure there was enough room for the router to fit. The router was unable to reach some of the boards due to the dividers so a multi tool was used to cut them flush. The top was then screwed on and boards were laid on the top and sides and cut flush with the router bit.
Use a nail punch to push the nails into the timber and putty all the nail holes. You may want to skip this step to add to the look but I didn't like the shiny nail heads which would stand out even more once the unit was stained. Once the putty is dry use a belt sander to clean the top and a disc sander to sand it smooth.
Step 6: Add Casters
The unit is quite heavy at this stage and due to my small workshop I decided to add the casters now rather then at the end so I could easily move it around.
Step 7: Add the Drawers
Note: some of the images were taken after the unit was finished due to some of the photos not turning out.
Using 12 mm Plywood I constructed 4 drawers and a face which the pallet wood can be glued to.
First install the drawer runners as per the instructions they come with. I then measured the distance between them to determine the drawer width. I used my circular saw to cut the plywood into strips for all the drawers then used the drop saw to cut them to length. The drawers were then glued and nailed together.
I took advantage of all the pallet wood off cuts I had to add a pattern to the front of the drawers. I made sure each was cut square and to various lengths. These were then glued to the drawer fronts and I placed some weights on top to clamp them down so no nails were needed.
When drawer fronts were dry I screwed them to the front of the drawer and added the handles.
Step 8: Add the Door
Note: these images were taken after the unit was finished due to some of the photos not turning out.
I made the door the same way I made the drawer fronts. I cut pallet wood off cuts to various lengths making sure each was cut square. These were then glued to the door and I placed some weights on top to clamp the boards down so no nails were needed.
I used soft close hinges as I like the way they are hidden and they feel a lot nicer to use.
Using a scrap piece of wood drill holes for shelf pins at desired spacing. Use this piece as a guide to drill holes in the frame for the shelf pins. Measure the width and depth of the cupboard area and cut a piece of plywood to fit.
Step 9: Add Finish and Backing Boards
Cut pieces of 3 mm ply wood to fit the back of the unit. For the DVD compartment add holes for the cords and using screws to hold them on will allow for easy removal should you need to adjust the size latter.
Stain and poly the frame, drawers, door and backing boards. I used 2 coats of varnish and 4 coats of poly.
Once the coats are dry attach the backing boards to the frame and add the drawers and door.
Step 10: Finished Product
All that is left now is to bring it inside and enjoy!
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