Introduction: Chunky Pallet Bench Seat

About: Architect, Urban Designer, all-round tinkerer of odds and ends. Small solutions for big city living. Dreaming of lands faraway where garages are big enough to build a workshop in, or lakes are there for taking…

Here's how I made an industrial styled chunky bench seat (or is it a low stool?) for my patio, out of pallet wood and simple tools. It took under 2 hours to make, as I was designing as I went. But subsequent stools should be quite fast to build.

This is part of a complete patio set with 4 stools and a matching expandable pallet table. I'll showcase the table in another Instructable, as it is pretty complicated.

Step 1: Break Down the Pallets

I had seven salvaged pallets made out of cheap pine wood that I wanted to turn into a reclaimed wood patio dining set.

First I used my circular saw to cut off the pallet boards from the chunky pallet beams.

I used the back end of a hammer to prise out the remaining chunks of the pallet boards from the beams, and excised the nails.

The planks were used to create a chevron patterned table top (separate Instructable), while the 14 beams were used to create these seats.

Step 2: Cut List

For the seat:
The pine beams were about 75x100mm cross section (3x4") by 650mm long.

A typical seat width is between 450-500mm, so I cut the beams to 500mm length with a mitre saw. 3 beams side by side will yield a 320x500mm seat including some small gaps, which is a good size for a bench seat.

For the legs:
I used 1x2" hardwood strips to make a sturdy frame to support the chunky seat.

As my final seat height is going to be 500mm, I cut wood strips to make 2 frames each 320mm wide x 425mm tall, which will support the 75mm thick seat beams.

I also cut 2 stretchers at 410mm from the same 1x2" strips. I pre-painted all the 1x2" strips before cutting and drilling, in the hopes that this would reduce painting required on the finished bench.

Step 3: Build the Leg Assembly

I assembled the leg frames with a pockethole jig and self-drilling screws. This was my first time using a pockethole jig, and it took a couple of tries to get the join straight. A right angle clamp really helps.

Build two frames each 320x425mm, and join them with 2 stretchers at the middle of the top and bottom. The stretchers were joined with countersunk screws.

Cover all pocketholes and countersunk screw heads with putty, and let it dry. When dry, sand the putty smooth and paint with outdoor wood paint. I used black to simulate the look of industrial steel legs.

Step 4: Attach the Seat and Finish

I attached the seat beams to the frame with countersunk screws from below. each beam was attached with 2 screws on each end for stability.

I hammered on 4 plastic furniture feet (glides) on the bottom, to raise the wood frame off the ground by about 5 mm. This will avoid having the wood sit in a puddle of water in the patio.

The original pallet mark was branded into one of the pieces, which I kept as a design feature.

These beams will be lightly sanded on top, and coated with outdoor polyurethane varnish.

I'll make a full set of 4 bench seats with the wood that I have, which will complement the outdoor pallet table.

Thanks for reading!