Introduction: Palletable Workbench

I had a stack of pallets left over from laying sod this spring, and I've seen so many amazing things on Instructables built with them. So I figured "why not?" It would be my first pallet project and "it would be fun!" **

Tools Needed:

  • Hammer
  • Nail Setter
  • Vise-Grips
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper / Sander (100,150,220,400,800 grits)
  • Wood Clamps
  • Planer
  • Miter Saw
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Brackets
  • Semi-Gloss Finish
  • Circular Saw
  • Level / Straight Edge
  • Casters
  • Screws (1, 3 inch)

Time to build:

I stopped counting after about 15 hours. A little ridiculous, to say the least. There's a very valid reason for this that I'll explain later. But lets just say if I had taken up a part time job delivering pizzas and simply worked those same hours, I'm very confidant I could have bought a set of diamond earrings for my wife or a really bad-ass workbench.

Direct Costs:

  • Wood $0
  • Casters $30
  • Brackets $6
  • Screws $5
  • Glue $24
  • Semi-Gloss $16
  • 2" Bolts & Washers $5

total $86

Indirect Costs:

  • 2 Planer Blades $36
  • Circular Saw Blade $18
  • Miter Saw Blade $42
  • Insta-Care Copay $30

total $126

Lessons Learned about doing Pallet Projects $Priceless

Grand Total: $213 + taxes

Footnote:

** Although I have a fair amount of experience with woodworking, I remind you, this was my first time doing a pallet project, ever.

Step 1: Disassemble Pallets

At this point I wasn't sure yet what I was going to build, but they needed to pulled apart regardless and doing so give me some "think time" to get a few ideas.

I found the best way of doing this is with 2 hammers as shown in the pictures. I began using a nail puller but after trying a few different approaches I found the 2-hammer method to be the quickest and easiest.

Step 2: Pulling Out Nails

After all the boards are separated you'll spend a considerable amount of time getting out millions of nails. Literally MILLIONS.

This should have been the"Red Flag", setting off all sorts of alarms in my head telling me to stop and abandon ship. But no. I looked onward like a naive, virgin who just scored a date, unwittingly with a 10/10 on the Hot / Crazy Matrix.

These boards had very rough edges so I needed to get as many nails out as possible to get through a planer.

In the pictures above I show how I used a nail setter and vice grips to remove some of the nails that had been cut off due to their previous pallet lifestyle and being re-purposed multiple times.

Step 3: Barely Palletable (Pun)

After a couple hours of removing nails, I was still left with many many nails that were cut off and not protruding out anywhere making them extremely difficult to pull. So I begrudgingly decided to use the nail setter to set them below the surface clear from that path of the planer.

Notice that pile of boards in the picture above..? Each one of them has 12-14 nails on each side!

Do you understand my reluctance now..? But being a "nice guy," no longer being a virgin and feeling committed to my 10/10 Hot/Crazy date, I carried on.

I won't begin to tell you how long this took me. I don't know, it's all a haze to me. It has become a suppressed memory. When spoken of, my eyes tear up and I get lumps in my throat... We won't go there.

Step 4: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After getting out some nails, It's a good idea to sort out what pieces are usable and which ones are junk. I broke then down into 3 categories: The good, bad and ugly.

Step 5: Planing

At this point I was feeling very optimistic, thinking the worst was far behind me. But I wasn't in the clear yet. There's still a few more rounds to go before this fight is over. (Did you happen to notice the hospital copay listed under the Indirect costs section?)

I managed to square up the boards after several runs through the planer at 1/16 - 1/8 cut per run.

Despite all my efforts trying to clean these things up, I still managed to hit several nails, burning out the blade (Blade #1).

Step 6: Crowning

In this step I simply found the direction each board bowed in and set them all together. They're easier to work with later on if they are all bowing together in the same direction.

The best way to determine this is to use a straight edge like a level.

Step 7: Gluing

In order to fit the planer the boards need to be divided into groups. I have 4 groups with 9 boards each.

Keeping careful track of the direction they all bow in, I laid them out and spread a generous amount of glue all over them except for one (the end piece).

I used the equivalent of three 16 oz. bottles. Granted, most of the glue gets pressed out then they're clamped together but I'd rather error on the safe side with a little extra than not enough. (Truthfully, after using 3/4 of this first bottle on the first group I just went out and bought a 1 gallon jug from Lowe's for $28 giving me plenty left over for the same price).

All my research lead me to conclude that Titebond Ultimate 3 is the best glue out there for this kind of project. It takes about 30 mins to setup which is nice when working with several pieces.

Once all glued, stack them back up and clamp them all up with tons of little clamps. Making sure the boards are aligned properly and starting in the middle lock each one in place, going back and re-tightening the others as you progress.

Add as many clamps as necessary, but I wouldn't do any less than 2 per foot. Personally, I prefer every 6-8 inches.

Each block should set for 24-48 hours before applying any loads.

Step 8: Planing Each Group

Feeding each bundle through the planer several times at 1/8 inch increments you'll eventually get to where they're all smooth and at a uniform thickness. You'll need to do each side but finish one side completely before switching. Also, start with the flattest side facing down. Doing this will help improve the squareness of the cuts.

Again, I ran into million of nails ending the life of my second blade. (Blade #2) It was at this point I sliced open my finger changing out the blade. Yes, I do have pictures and they are reserved for the very end.

Step 9: Chop Off the Ends

Square them up as best you can and cut off then ends. Technically you can wait to do this but I wanted to get some squareness going in order to gauge some of my other measurements.

More nails killed blade. (Blade #3)

Step 10: Tighten the Gap

The gaps between each block was a little off showing that me edges weren't quite square enough. So I had to improvise with a makeshift track saw using a circular saw ans a straight edge. It was a little finicky but I was able to shave off the edges and make a pretty square edge. Although a hassle and not always perfect, I was quite impressed with the results. You can see from the pictures above how tight the gaps are.

Idealy a table saw, track saw, or jointer would be the best tool for this job (all of which are $300 and up).

Needless to say, I really killed the blade on this one. At this point, I was cutting through so many nails my wife came out to the garage to see what all the smoke was about! (Blade #4)

Step 11: Gluing the Blocks Together

The best clamps for this are pipe clamps. They are stronger and don't flex as easily. The clamps I used are from Harbor Freight for $10 each. You'll still need 3/4" pipes at whatever length. Mine are 48".

Position the blocks on the clamps and stand them on edge for gluing. By standing them up, the glue will stay put on the surface and won't run off while you're prepping the next block.

Once done, lay them down and firmly clamp them together beginning in the middle. It's best to alternate the sides each clamp is on ensuring more even pressure throughout. As you can see from my pictures I didn't do this properly.

This should set for 24-48 hours before applying any load.

Step 12: Building the Legs

I used a combination of glue and screws to secure the boards together. Then I used more clamps to form a tight connection of their surfaces since each board had some warping and didn't flush up well.

Step 13: Forming the Stand

After cutting the legs to size, I began forming the stand for the bench top.

Best way to do this is to:

  • Match up the 4 corners as flush as you can.
  • Put only once screw per corner.
  • Measure each diagonal, and adjust.
  • When diagonal lengths are the same set the remaining 4 screws.

Setting only 1 screw in each corner allows the wood to pivot enough to square up your diagonals. Then setting the remaining 4 screws secures the frame in a square position.

After completing this for both sides you'll do the exact same thing in flushing the corners with 1 screw initially then securing them with the rest of the screws after squareness is obtained.

Use clamps and levels to help hold boards in position while doing this. It'll help keep things still while you're moving around.

Step 14: Mounting the Casters

The best place to position the casters is directly under the legs. This transfers all of the load and/or forces directly through and reducing any internal stresses on the frame.

I wanted a little more substance to bolt into so I added an additional board. It adds some height to the table but I already accounted for this in my designs.

With this wood I've been pre-drilling all my holes just to avoid any splitting.

I set them with 2" x 1/4" Bolts with washers & lock washers.

Step 15: Squaring Up the Top

I used a large T-Square to get a straight line that's square to the other sides.

Here again I used the improvised "Track Saw" method, demonstrated in step 10, to get a nice edge on the table.

Step 16: Securing Top to Bottom

After measuring the overhang on each side and satisfied that it's positioned evenly, I again clamped the top to bottom to assure no movement while attaching the brackets.

Step 17: Sand

Even with all the planing the joints between each block didn't quite line up, so I used a belt sander (only in the direction of the grain) 100 grit sandpaper to work down some of these edges. Then you can use a random-orbital sander with a 220 grit to smooth things down a bit.

When you're all done sanding use a damp cloth or air compressor to blow off all the dust.

Step 18: Semi-Gloss

Apply a generous coat of semi-gloss, allowing an extra little bit to seep into the cracks and holes. Give about 24-48 hours to dry. Then use a 400 grit to de-nib the surface. Give it a second coat and de-nib with an 800 grit paper and you're done!

Step 19: Final Product

Step 20: Insta-Care Visit

I got this while changing the planer blade for the second time. I was trying to rush things and got careless... 4 stitches later I was back on track. I was just going to superglue it closed but this was to the bone so I'm glad I when in.

Comments

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Yonatan24 (author)2017-01-18

Best Instructable ever!

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DaveH127 (author)2016-11-09

Also make sure you're up-to-date with your tetanus shots

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DaveH127 (author)2016-11-09

I found the best way to get the nails out is to burn the wood in my stove, then screen the ashes and then use a magnet on the screened ashes. After that I use a magnet again to make sure I get the rest of them. Sometimes I use the ashes on the driveway instead of salt. My mechanic is the final nail remover, when he repairs my tires after getting a nail in them.

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HeatherT4 (author)2016-02-01

incredible sir!

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tpagels (author)2016-01-28

I've honestly found it's just not worth the time to harvest the stretchers from most pallets. As you found they have far too many nails and if the pallet was used for anything that is wet the nails bust off. I harvest the slats for projects and use the stretchers in my fire pit or if I ever get it done a wood stove in my garage. You can use a magnet on the ashes to recover the metal and recycle.

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pcgirl (author)2015-11-16

Excellent truthful tut. I'm totally not going to make one now LOL - but love the one you did. ;)

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LyleB3 (author)2015-08-28

you should never hit two hammers together as they are hardened surface and can shatter and become flying shrapnel

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vulcan74 (author)LyleB32015-11-15

It's not likely to happen as you need to make contact with an absurd amount of force...Thank you Mythbusters, they demonstrated that you are more likely to break the handles (depending on the material) However It's not the way to treat your tools...the right tool for the job gets it done right!!

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LarryW3 (author)2015-01-22

Well done! I'm in the process of gathering material/tools for pallet projects and value even the "oops" moments of your build. A couple of things have become very clear to me during my prep stage: makeshift disassembling devices only work well on hardwood pallets (harder and harder to find); an inexpensive metal detector is an absolute "gotta have" if one is serious about doing this on any scale at all; and, patience is paramount.

Again, well done. The pre-weathered look makes it all worthwhile.

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borism-25 (author)LarryW32015-08-12

instead of ripping the blades :) just buy a magnet from the old speakers, you will fill the nails if they are in the wood. If you have smaller magnet you can hang them on the rope and slide over the board if stop you will know what to do.

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esl401k (author)2015-07-03

Love it - nice work sir. Thanks for sharing!

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allenpeter (author)2015-06-20

Great Job Mate

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Basement_Craftsman (author)2015-04-29

Don't you hate it when the superglue gets inside the cut. Then you gotta tear it out after you thought it heals...or is it just me.

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So far I've yet to have that happen. Usually after a few days the glue just falls off. Sounds painful though!

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reclaimedjunkie (author)2015-04-21

Great idea! Love the way it turned out. There's a website that curates a lot of pallet and reclaimed wood items from Etsy called Buy Pallet Furniture (www.buypalletfurniture.com) that has a lot of this kind of thing from artisans around the US. Great job!

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k10hill (author)2015-04-06

OH, a question for you - I saw a pic of outdoor seating area made from pallets (but they were all left intact, not torn apart)....I was going to do project for sister-in-law's porch - anything off the top of your head I should know before she goes out and finds a bunch of pallets? I can send picture of project if it would help

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tlp801 (author)k10hill2015-04-06

If I were to do it all again I would have not used a planner and would have left all the nails in, keeping a rough appearance. Instead, I would have used a thick layer of an epoxy resin to give it a "glass-like" finish. Although, if you're going to put this outside you may consider giving it a rough sanding after, to help reduce the glare it would produce.

Take some time to explore Instructables.com, there are thousands of creative projects to help inspire you're imagination!!

Despite the blood sweat and tears I put into my project, I am very happy with the results and get compliments on it all the time! My initial intention was to use it as a work bench but because of how it turned out I'm probably going to convert it into a coffee table or something...

Here's a link to a good Epoxy resin.

Hopefully this helps, good luck!!

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k10hill (author)tlp8012015-04-06

Thanks for the suggestion on treating the wood! I had not even thought about that! Maybe the instructions to make it include it, but if it doesn't, then we would have missed it. \

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k10hill (author)2015-04-06

really glad to know others start projects and then once committed, think 'hmmm, maybe this wasn't my best idea'.... And thanks for sharing the fails and struggles and honest timeline assessment. Again, just lets me know I'm okay after all.... and that even you guys have your difficult projects. Of course, all of mine are difficult to me because I pick something I've never done, never seen done, and typically have no idea what I'm doing or how to go about it. (which is why I'm browsing this website now). But you know, once I finish something, despite the cussing, the injuries, and usually a tear or two, I am usually inordinately proud that I figured it out (probably not the 'right' way... but I get it done, eventually) :). I just finished putting in shelving and used rebar poles to hang stuff from in the garage. I would show a pic but its all messy right now and I need to switch out one pole for a larger diameter one. I'm quite proud of my little space saver area that is also used for all the garden tools and equipment storage. I have about 15 extension cords, 3-5 water hoses, and 6-8 air hoses that are always in the way. I wanted to find a better way to store them and came up with idea using closet shelf & POLE brackets - then use rebar as the pole and got two sizes of s-style hooks to hang them all from. Which works and looks like a closet does almost... the rebar is small enough to allow the hooks to pivot slightly to the side so the cords/hoses lay pancaked together like the clothes in a closet and they take up very little space this way.

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tlp801 (author)k10hill2015-04-06

Thanks!! It's always fun to expand horizons and streatch to new limits. The great thing about this site is being able to share & discuss ideas!! :)

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felipegogu made it! (author)2015-03-24

I did it!

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tlp801 (author)felipegogu2015-03-30

Wow, that looks really nice. Great job!!

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Vyger (author)2015-01-22

And by the way in a Mythbusters episode they debunked the idea that it was dangerous to hit 2 hammers together. They did it to an extreme and had no problem.

Episode 75

REVISITED: If two hammers strike each other, at least one hammer will completely shatter with lethal force. (From episode 67)

re-busted

First, the Build Team properly heated two
modern hammers to the transition point and quenched them, making them as
brittle as possible. The two hammers simply snapped at the necks when
struck. Then they tested older steel hammers (predating World War II).
Though the heads began to chip when struck, one of them ultimately
snapped at the neck as well.

SPINOFF: If a hammer strikes hard against an anvil, the hammer will completely shatter with lethal force. (From episode 67)

re-busted

For this re-test, they used a genuine steel
anvil and used a rig that would make the hammer strike against the top
of the anvil. The pre-WW2 steel hammer suffered cracks and chips from
first a human then a superhuman strike, but it did not shatter.

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bondy134 (author)Vyger2015-02-18

Hi, Not sure about the Myth Buster episode - I am a tradesman and as an apprentice was removing iron sheets (with Nails) from an old roof - to get under the nails I used 2 hammers as the above guide shows, One cheap hammer and one Estwing (top quality $100) , the cheap one exploded - All I felt at the time was as if someone had given me a quick punch to the face and a small trickle of blood from my eyebrow. No big deal I said - wiped if off and continued - the next morning my whole face had blown up and with subseqent xrays it was determined that a piece of the hammer was lodged in my brow - the risks to remove were to high so to this day it remains in my eyebrow with a 1 inch scar. Had it hit me in the eye I would have been blinded.

I highly suggest NOT to strike two hammers together.

In this case Mythbusters have got it wrong!

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fzumrk (author)Vyger2015-01-27

I did look that up before posting about this. While the mythbusters did not find a problem, the guys at finewoodworking had an awful lot of anecdotes about injuries or near injuries from this happening.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/17562/reader-s...

I would still avoid doing that, especially on a job like disassembling pallets, where you are going to be hitting the hammers together frequently and with high force. It is probably a good idea just from a tool-care standpoint as well.

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gearup500 (author)Vyger2015-01-24

I remember that episode. And I thought that the hammers wood shatter simultaneously(I was so wrong).

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Tanzer26 (author)Vyger2015-01-22

I've never heard of the idea that hammers will explode if hit together. But they are hardened steel and very prone to chipping as noted. And the flying chips can be very dangerous to your, or any bystanders, eyes. AFAIK, that's why the warning labels.

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John L (author)2015-01-22

I can see a few problems, up front, that made your life harder than it needed be. First, as you mentioned earlier, no good table saw. A good used belt driven table saw is worth its weight in "you know what". My 34 year old Craftsman 10" belt drive was converted early on to 220V and is chugging along like when it was new. You need to invest in something like that, and also a compressor. Those are the two most important big tools in your shop, bar none.

Also, you didn't have a special pallet tool, such as my Pallet Paw. It certainly would have made life easier. Also, why don't you own a couple of Wonder Bars? They are cheap and beat a second hammer any day.

As for nails, a simple compass, or magnet direction finder would be able to tell you where there may be remaining nails. If you have a good stud finder,......maybe: I never had much success.

I went back and looked at those pallets. First, they are made up of boards that all look to be 1.5" thick, which is unusual. Most relatively new pallets have thinner slats, held together by the 1.5" wood like you have. Also, all of them look to be very old and used over and over in pallet rebuilding. When they are used for new pallets, the builders use a saws-all to just cut through the nails, leaving folks such as yourself with many times more nails that necessary. When you see old reused pallet boards like that, beware. Red flags went up in my mind the instant I looked closely. Looks like you got the old "throw away" products.

One other thing. You were running a board through your planer. If you had a table saw, you could have done that much easier, and the carbide blade teeth would have suffered less damage. You also wrote that you were making 1/8" passes with those blocks of boards. Again, a No-No. You should only be making 1/16" or less, perhaps 1/32" per pass. 1/8" per pass of that volume is begging for trouble. Your older Ridgid planer only has two blades, and not three like the new models, and those blades can be turned around should they become damaged or dull. A dull table saw blade is less expensive than replacing those blades.

But take heart, you're learning valuable experience, believe me you are. But you really do need a table saw. If you have to get a direct drive, ok, but look for a belt drive first. And check Craigs List for a good used one. If it has been switched over to 220V, odds are the motor will outlive you. 220V is the key. And if you don't have an extra 220V outlet in the Shop, you can always add a circuit breaker and run a line to where the saw is to be located. Its quite easy to accomplish, with just a little know-how. So think positive, you're doing fine. Learning the hard way is always the experience you never forget. I once got in a fight with a joiner-planer, and lost, of course. I have never forgotten that loss of part of my ring finger. LOL!

Oh, and never do like the fellow earlier recommend about using a saws-all to break up the pallet. You have just doubled your nails and made them almost impossible to remove. Get yourself a special pallet tool. I chose a Pallet Paw because it looked like it has the best mechanical advantage and didn't break/crack the boards like some others do. I love it, but I only wish I had bought the double ended one, that handles 2X4s and 4X4, all in one.

Good luck in the future. You'll do alright partner.

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tlp801 (author)John L2015-01-23

Thank you for your comments and insight! And by the way you are correct on every point you mentioned. I should clarify the the real challenge wasn't pulling the pallets apart or even pulling the nails that were readily accessible, but it was dealing with the millions of nails that were cut off from being on multiple other pallets. I also agree that if your goal is to remove the nails you shouldn't cut them. This was the direct cause of so much headache.

So the question remains; what's the best way of removing lots of nails that are cut off and are flush or below the surface of the wood..? I didn't want to ruin the wood by digging each one out. Besides that would've been even more time consuming! Keep in mind that these nails had a twist to them and barbs attached. Pulling them out was like ripping out a fishing hook. After LOTS of thought I concluded that the best way for me to continue is to sink the nails below the surface and pray the planer doesn't get any. Needless so say I took the gamble and lost. Certainly a lesson learned.

I must say, though I was a bit dramatic in my outline (mostly for entertainment value), I'm very happy with the finished product. I learned a lot from doing it, and that will stay with me forever! Plus I'll have this cool new scar I can brag about for the rest of my life! :)

As a side note, I'll need your help in convincing my wife about getting a table saw. I've been trying to talk her into it for a few months now with no luck!

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bri.m.waller (author)tlp8012015-01-28

I happened to be at Lowe's one day and caught a really good sale on a Skil Table saw. When I brought it home, my husband asked when I thought I was going to use it. My response was "When I build your casket." (jokingly) He walked away and hasn't said anything else about the saw. Remember, it's always better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission!.

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tlp801 (author)bri.m.waller2015-01-28

I like the way you think. :)

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John L (author)tlp8012015-01-28

Oh, I forgot to mention something else. You can also make life easier on nail removal, if you just obtain a strong magnet and tie it to a string. Move the magnet all along the wooden lumber, and it will find the hidden nails for you. You don't need a big magnet, but the stronger the better.

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John L (author)tlp8012015-01-28

Travis, I'm not sure I can help you with convincing your wife on the table saw, but went down to the basement shop, and took a few pics of the old girl. Here's one of them. Pardon the mess, but I haven't done my regular cleaning:

I purchased the 10" Craftsman table saw in 1981, when I went out on my own. So the saw is 34 years old, and in great shape. Within the first year I did some major modifications. The sawdust was bad, so I added a dust collection system, and its hooked up to an 18 gallon vac. Its connected to the bottom of the saw body, and to the rip guard. The damned thing really works as long as you aren't tilting the arbor. Then I have to remove the little plexiglass shield I custom cut for the back of the saw where the motor is located. I also have the front slot where the wheel tilt is located, and it really does suck up the sawdust. I also have a 20 fan hanging right above the top of the flexible hose. It has a hepa filter attached, which tends to get rid of the real small particles.

The saw is setting on a wheeled attachment which allows me to move the saw around. I upgraded the rip fence system with a deluxe AccuraRip. And I also made a custom router table platform for the right saw extension. I think I got the idea from WoodWorkers Journal a long time ago. I just attach the extension fence w/vac outlet to the saw fence, and I'm ready to route.

My air compressor is also 34 years old, bought at the same time. I simply couldn't live without it. I keep it behind my large sheets of plywood, and you can hardly hear it when it cranks up: the wood acts as a silencer. And unless you looked behind the wood frame, you wouldn't know there was a compressor around. If you look at the folded up batter powered lawn mower you can see the yellow hose attached next to the door. Anytime you get dirt, or sawdust, all over yourself, just go outside, take the air blower and blow yourself clean. The misses will simply learn to LOVE that air compressor for that one thing alone. No dirty hubby.

Both of these tools are a Must Have. But when you get them, there is one thing you Must also do. You need to convert them to 220V. This is another Must Do. Double the voltage, and that leaves only half the amperage requirement. Amperage is more important than voltage. Its the traffic on the voltage highway. Increase the highway to an interstate, and the traffic can move faster and easier. Motors running on 220V tend to outlive the owner. And it is very easy to add 220v to your circuit breaker box. My table say, and the compressor are hooked up up to their own circuit breaker, so there is never any problems when the compressor cranks up unannounced.

I have compressor lines running in the ceiling of the rest of my shop, where I can use my air tool, and I have a few. Air tools tend to be less expensive than the electric ones, and they are also more heavy duty too. And I keep a 3 gallon portable compressor for installations that need stapling and nailing.

Anyway, I hope this helps with the misses.

table saw resized.jpgAir compressor resized.jpgAir compressor hidden.jpg
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_soapy_ (author)tlp8012015-01-26

Good 'ible.

What I'd have done? Forget the thicknesser - I don't have one and they really don't like nails. If I was stuck using bad firewood grade pallets, I'd saw them off and tidy them up then glue them together with Gorilla Glue (incredibly strong and fills the gaps), clamp it up, aligning them on a good flat bit of floor, & use the bottom face as your table surface. (Just don't glue it *to* the floor! ) Once set I'd go at it with the sander. Use a good belt sander and a good large grit belt and it'll easily eat any nails that are sticking up.

That gives you your big and quite flat bit for the top. Now you can finish, sand and finish until you are happy with it.

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gjhoser (author)2015-01-28

I just procured a bunch pallets. Care to come up to Vermont to guide me? Great guide. Thanks. G. Hogan

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dsantil71 (author)2015-01-27

I think you just got a batch of pallets this time around. Hopefully you'll have better luck next time. Even though Harbor Freight sells one for $160 you wouldn't have learned anything buying it. If your able to find a belt driven table saw on Craig's list in your price range would be great. If not direct drives are good for other reasons too they are accurate just like belt drives but are also lighter & portable. We had 220v-110v transformers when we lived Italy for 4 yrs. I don't know if it would be easier or cheaper to buy one of those. Just a thought. For having a 220v tool. I was wondering why you used L brackets to attach the top? I've never seen them used that way.

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RobertA2 (author)2015-01-22

Nice job and now the BUT. Harbor Freight has a wooden workbench w/4drawers for $160. Now stitches and other possible dangerous injuries.

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dsantil71 (author)RobertA22015-01-27

I've seen it on sale for $130!

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CementTruck (author)2015-01-27

I really enjoy seeing projects like these.

You have to invest in/or build a pallet buster https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Prybar-for-pallets/ if you'll be using pallets for a lot of builds.

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Vyger (author)2015-01-22

About the nails -- During a slow period a company I used to work for had us do some pallet repair. The wood was hard dry oak. We used nails made for concrete. They were hardened steel and would not bend. Just for fun we pounded some into the joint cracks in the concrete floor. They went all the way in. So many of the nails in pallets are not your normal soft steel. They destroy carbide tipped blades.

As for the finger --- I have a philosaphy that has been pretty accurate over the years: "A project is not finished until it draws blood".

author
_soapy_ (author)Vyger2015-01-26

I have seen all sorts of wood and wonderful nails in pallets. Everything from air nailed ones a millimetre wide and stupidly long, and staples to match, through annular nails that grip so hard they seem glued in, to ancient seemingly hand forged rectangular nails like we see in period oak beams. Even screws occasionally, where people have repaired them.

Hence a belt sander being a better option than a thicknesser!

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mimaki cg60 (author)Vyger2015-01-23

Boy I've lived with that philosophy myself for quite some years too. I guess it tends to happen more often when I'm working on some unusual project. While dealing with some previously unmet setback, I tend to use stupid ideas on account of too little patience.

author
Vyger (author)mimaki cg602015-01-23

Its often a learning experience. "OK, well I won't do it that way again"

I think the author will not use the same method for changing blades again. What is really nice is when you have someone who has done it the hard way and they mention "hey, I wouldn't do that like that". Its just to bad that those people are in short supply.

In my early days of chainsawing I had a very near miss. What caught my attention after being first annoyed that I just buried the bar tip in the ground was the fact that the chain was 1/2 from my crotch. OK, won't do it that way again.

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seamster (author)2015-01-20

Very nicely done! I enjoyed seeing the transformation from pallets to table.

I could have done without the last step of course, but hey, it serves as a good warning to people... Mind your digits!!

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tlp801 (author)seamster2015-01-20

I debated posting these pictures but finally concluded that this story would truly be incomplete without them!

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paularellano12 (author)tlp8012015-01-25

very good intractable! travis is my neighbor and he's a very talented guy !

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Mwes202 (author)2015-01-25

By far my favorite instructible so far! Thanks for the entertaining read and revealing the hidden costs of working with pallets... I always hesitated using free pallet wood and now I know why.

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bpark1000 (author)2015-01-23

Another caution: never hit the head of one hammer with another as shown in the picture. The heads are hardened, and are designed to hit softer substances, such as nails. When 2 heats hit, they can shatter or chip, sending off small pieces of steel at high velocity. Put something softer between, such as an aluminum plate.

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tjdux (author)bpark10002015-01-24

Food for thought. There is a Mythbusters segment that tests this theory. They found it close to impossible to cause danger hitting two hammers together. I do understand the risk though.

author
dave.chambers.562 (author)2015-01-22

Time consuming project, but came out nice. One word of caution on pallet disassembly though, use safety glasses if

you strike two hammers together. Metal bits of the hammer face can chip off and fly into your eyes. I worked in the construction trades and I purchased what is commonly known as a "rocker bar" to pry apart board safely. Photo of bar included..

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