Introduction: Pallet Workbench

Picture of Pallet Workbench

As a tall fella, I’m fed up of breaking my back leaning over to reach tables built for ‘normal’ people. I decided for my back’s sake its time I built a workbench for me…or any other tall person.

Please bear with me on these instructions, I don’t know any technical terms and I’m sure there are better ways of accomplishing what I've done.

Step 1: Break Down the Pallets

Picture of Break Down the Pallets

To do this I basically used a crowbar and had about a 60% success rate in getting the boards off without them splitting. If anyone has a better technique then please let me know….it got me very angry very quickly. I broke down 2 large pallets to get the amount of wood I needed.

Step 2: Build the Frames

Picture of Build the Frames

As my workbench was going to be tall, I knew that it could potentially be unstable so I built two identical frames to wrap around the legs for extra support. These frames will be attached at the top and bottom to give strength and will also be the surface to attach the panels, which will create the worktop and bottom shelf.

Step 3: ​Preparing the Panels

Picture of ​Preparing the Panels

Before attaching the panels to the first frame to create the worktop, I planed off the edges to remove any nasty bits and sanded down the panels. I didn’t spend too much time on this, I quite liked the idea of my bench to be rough looking…at the end of the day, it’s going to get more than a few knocks and scratches in its lifetime.

Step 4: ​Creating the Worktop

Picture of ​Creating the Worktop

My frame was built to be the exact length of the panels to reduce cutting and to keep things easier. In reflection I wish I’d have made the frame slightly smaller to allow for a lip around the edge, rather than everything being flush. I didn't worry too much about each panel being completely flush against each other, but I did the best I can and I’m happy with the outcome. Once each panel is screwed into place it instantly gives the frame a solid stability.

Step 5: ​Putting It All Together

Picture of ​Putting It All Together

This is the fun bit. At this stage you should have one frame, with panels for your worktop, another frame without panels for bottom support and 4 legs (I used a good piece of wood that I cut into 4 that I salvaged whilst looking for pallets). Turn the worktop upside down and place each leg into each corner of the frame and screw into place. Once secure slide your bottom frame over the legs and screw in place, my advice is to keep it off the bottom and have it high enough so your feet can fit under the frame. Now the moment of truth, stand the workbench up on its feet and check for wobble….luckily for me everything was level.

Step 6: ​Bottom Panels

Picture of ​Bottom Panels

I decided for some extra shelving I would attach bottom panels to the bottom frame. This also creates a more ridged frame but at the same time provides me with some extra storage space.

Step 7: ​Finished

Picture of ​Finished

I’m really happy with how this project working with used pallets turned out, I've never done this before. Looking forward to starting on the next thing…whatever that might be. I hope this helps and I apologise if it’s quite basic, I didn't decide to do this until the end. Next time I’ll take more photos and notes of the build phase :)


MarcusA45 (author)2017-01-03

did you paint it

BFRM made it! (author)2016-12-21

Not exactly the same, but definitely inspired by yours. Next week I will build a second one, giving me a two meter bench that can be broken into 1 meter pieces for the times when I need to move them around.

Astridjay (author)2016-11-04

If you want a super easy way to take apart pallets and you have a little bit of cash to spend I recommend investing in a reciprocating saw. They come with blades to cut through metal and are simple to use. I am new to diy projects and had my pallets apart in no time. Use a chisel and hammer to make a gap between two boards before using the saw. I picked one up from Bunnings for $100 and haven't looked back.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-02-24

Hi, I've added your project to the "Make Your Own Workbench!" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

pallet nic (author)2016-02-21

you definitely need a 'Roughneck Demolition Bar as shown in the photo. They are readily available from Amazon for less than £20. The best money I have spent and enables me to break up a pallet within 5 mins pretty much with zero splitting. Nick.


ernie_ruben made it! (author)2016-02-16

I made this workbench, but customized it a bit. The area I need it in is very narrow, so I made it narrow and long. To cut the pallet I used a reciprocating saw. Just make sure your blades are long enough, or it will be very difficult to break down. I also saw someone using a circular saw, but you'll lose length on some of the boards. Great job on your bench! Thank you for the inspiration!

ttemple2 (author)2015-12-31

Did you ever mention how tall the bench is? I'm tall as well and would like to know. Thanks brother!

TomW46 (author)2015-10-01

As mentioned before, all pallets have different construction methods. The ones that I am currently breaking down seemed to have someone who really liked using the nail-gun.

I've found that using an axe and a lump hammer to get the boards a little bit apart, then use a hacksaw blade to get in and saw the nails off. Of course I could use a reciprocating saw/sawzall but I have limited funds.

Another thing to remember is that these pallets have had a hell of a rough life and the slats may be split before you attempt to take them apart.

LondonTiger (author)2015-04-04

No 2 pallets are built the same. Some of them are bloody hard to take apart. I used 1 pallet that had 10+ nails on one joint and I spent a lot of time and energy trying to take it up and no matter how much I tried I couldn't get the planks off without breaking it.

LondonTiger (author)2015-04-04

I took inspiration for this design and built my own. The only thing I changed was the gaps on the bottom shelf - you will undoubtedly have small stuff roll into the hole and end up losing them. To cover the holes I have nailed cleats onto the leg which allowed me to cover the gap with shorter pieces of wood.

rswain3 (author)2015-03-30

Use a Sawzall and cut the nails in between the top 1x6 and the frame of the pallet. It works so much better and you salvage all the wood.

baecker03 (author)2014-08-28

you can buy a punch and knock the nails out from the opposite side, also can grind the heads off

BH92 (author)baecker032015-03-02

you can't drive the nails back, the nails has barbs on them and if you would try to hammer them back out from the opposit side the EjjiFM will fold out and tare the wood even more, so i would rather cut the nails with a metal saw blade...

morganin (author)2015-01-16

I found a youtube video today that showed me how to dismantle pallets with a rubber mallet and a block of wood. Flip the pallet upside down and prop it up. Bang the wood block into the slats right next to the support beams. They came apart fast and in tact. I plan to build 2 of these and mod it into a kitchen island.

ClenseYourPallet (author)2015-01-14

Great job!

bcktrayn (author)2014-09-13

Great looking workbench!

bcktrayn (author)bcktrayn2014-09-27

I tweaked your design a bit, but still used salvaged material, besides the legs.

DrewM1 (author)bcktrayn2015-01-03

Holy crap that looks good.
What stains/oils did you use?

Good mod/colour scheme!

bcktrayn (author)DrewM12015-01-03

I didn't stain it. I used a 10' piece of red cedar for the legs. The rest of the bench is made from a composite wood that was taken out of a dressing room from a hockey arena.

DrewM1 (author)bcktrayn2015-01-03

Well hats off to you anyways,

Great job (and inspiration).

ckeaton (author)2014-11-22

You can take a block and place it underneath the slat you're trying to remove (close to the series of nails to be loosened) make sure the bottom of the block is on the ground. Then take a small sledge hammer and hit the cross board.

fstop570 (author)2014-11-05

How many pallets did you use for this?

carlh86 (author)fstop5702014-11-08

If i remember, I used 2 large pallets and a smaller one. But i did break a lot of the boards breaking them apart, so i bet two large pallets would be enough.

Fafhrd (author)2014-09-04

Well done. I may use the basic design fo rmy next work bench

Shawn Lane (author)2014-09-01

I love things made with pallets, and yours looks great!

nikbgs217 (author)2014-08-31

I have used a regular screw flat head driver, then hammer in between the boards just to make enough room to get the nail out with the end of the hammer! But in some cases it will leave a mark on the boards, but it's not destroying the board! But if the board is weak anyway, it will split no matter what! Those boards are not strong enough, to hold heavy items, cause how it was made or the weather the pallet saw!

jwalters5 (author)2014-08-31

breakdown pallets quicker with a sawzall, get the blade going between the boards and it cuts the nails. with practice u wont cut much wood. do a whole pallet in under a minute.

Figtree (author)2014-08-30

Marvelous, I think I'll try it. It's a handsome and yet rustic looking shelf. I may take your design, shorten the legs, varnish it and make a coffee table. Thank you so much.

mtairymd (author)2014-08-29

It looks really good. Nice job!

CapnChkn (author)2014-08-28

Bearded Countryman (author)2014-08-28

I bought a pallet pry bar from amazon and it works great. Quite costly but well worth it.
Roughneck 64640 Demolition And Lifting Bar

savagegirl (author)2014-08-28

I have been thinking about how to add another surface to my little wood shop for shoemaking on the cheap. This is brilliant, but at 4' 11", I'll be reducing some height. Really nice, well thought out project, and yay for customizing! You should be really proud of this!

seamster (author)2014-08-28

That's a great looking workbench. And your documentation was very good too! Thanks for sharing this, can't wait to see what you make next!

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