Introduction: Coffee Table Out of Pallets

Since the industrial revolution, we have witnessed the economy work under a linear system in which products are comprised of the earth's valuable resources which include coal and rare earth metals such as neodymium. Products that are made from these resources are then thrown away which pollutes the ocean as landfills are dumped into them and harmful toxic gasses are released into the atmosphere throughout this process. In the Pacific Ocean, there is an isolated island called the Plastic Island which is twice the size of Texas. The linear economy is an economic model in which the consumer buys a product for a short period of time as he/she will discard it once they stop using it. This is a problem due to the fact that humans have a set amount of resources that are bound to end and despite this prevalent issue, the world has 6.6 billion electronic mobile phones with the average upgrade time being 18 months in the USA alone despite it still functioning properly. We can now see that our consumption and disposal of products are extremely ineffective. For example, the US’s landfills alone contain 36% paper and cardboard which is mostly recyclable and it has been estimated that the UK will run out of space for landfills in a mere 8 years time. Therefore this path in which we consume lots of unnecessary resources and dispose of them in an ineffective manner must come to an abrupt halt as it comes with detrimental impacts on the environment and the economy.

This product is a coffee table which is made entirely out of pallets. By repurposing pallets, I am reusing items and this is project is something which I strongly encourage all of you to undertake.

Step 1: Remove Pieces From Pallet

Using the face of the hammer remove the long pieces of wood from the pallet. After removing all the pieces of wood, place each piece of wood on a table with the nails outside of the table. Also using a hammer hit the nails until it comes out of the wood a bit and then turn the piece of pallet over and use the claw to remove the nails. Do this for all the parts for the two pallets.

Step 2: Cut Pieces to Size of Top Part

Accurately place the pieces of pallets which you have just removed adjacent to each other until it is 1000mm wide. Begin to accurately mark 600mm in length using a pencil. Then using a tri-square make a straight line at that point to then cut later on. Then using the gear saw, cut the pieces of pallet at 600mm. (teacher Assisted) Subsequent to this you should be able to have a 600 by 1000mm table top that is comprised of many pieces of pallet.

Step 3: Step 3

Put glue on every side that connects to another part and attach it to each other. Ensure not to put too much glue and also not too put too little. Clamp it together and let it rest overnight so that you can have your table top ready for the next day.

Step 4: Step 4

For reasons outlined in the changes made section, I have decided to change the size of my product to be much smaller. To solve this issue we will remove the pieces of pallet which we attached overnight. This will be done by forcefully battering the 600by 1000mm part with a hammer until it separates into separate pieces. After removing each piece, measure and mark 410 mm in height. Using the tri-square make a clear line across each piece which will then be cut with the compound mitre saw. (Teacher Assisted). After having combined pallets equalling 410 by 410 mm, attach them using wood glue and clamp them together. Then cut more pieces into 410 of height using the compound mitre saw again. Then remove the clamp and attach the pieces of pallet which are of identical height over where the pieces of pallets attach. Over where they attach, another similar piece will be placed to add durability. This will give you a tabletop made up of two layers. The bottom layer’s top side will be coated in wood glue as well as the top parts underside. Then clamp both layers together to have a table top that consists of two layers of pallets. After gluing them together, place this part in a vice and use the plane saw to have one straight side. Then mark a straight line at 400mm on each side. Using this straight side, place it in the bandsaw against the resaw fence and cut along the line. This will make your product cut to exact size of 400 by 400mm.

Step 5: Step 5

Place the pallet on the table and cut out the wood from the pallet using a jig saw. Cut at 4 different location within each plank of wood. This will give you two shorter pieces of wood. Place your hands firmly on the jig saw and ensure that the pallet is kept in place, push forward with the jigsaw until the wood is cut. Repeat this for every plank of wood remaining in the two pallets.

Step 6: Step 6

Using a ruler measure and mark 450mm in height. Then make a line across the wood using a tri-square. Ensure that the line is visible to be able to see it when cutting. Then measure the width of each wooden piece that you have removed from the pallet and calculate how many will be needed to have 400mm in width. If the width of the pallets exceed 400mm in width than alter this with the bandsaw by using a ruler to mark 400mm in width. To cut the height, use a compound mitre saw and cut at every line which has been measured at 450mm in height.

Step 7: Step 7

Measure and mark at 50mm, 200mm, and 300mm for each piece of wood. Then using a tri-square make a line at this point across the width of each piece which will be attached to another piece. Then draw a dot in the middle of this line by using a ruler. Place this piece in a vise which you will place on the table in the drill press. Then open the chuck using the chuck key and place the 10mm drill bit in it and securely fasten it in the chuck using the chuck key again. The table height will have to be adjusted as each piece has a different width. Then drill holes at each of the 3 places on each wooden piece. This will give you two holes opposite each other which the dow will be placed to keep it together. Then measure and mark at every 30mm of the 10mm dow. Using the push stick and band saw, cut at these marks. If the dow does not fit perfectly then place it in a vice and use a coping saw to alter its length until it fits perfectly. Then place glue on the dow and the pieces and begin to attach the parts together until you have two separate parts. Each should be 450mm in height and 400mm in width while the thickness of the wood must be 20mm. After placing the glue, clamp the two separate parts together and leave it to rest for a few hours. Before the glue dries, use a block of wood to remove any wood that might have gotten onto the wood as this will prevent it from drying on the wood.

Step 8: Step 8

Mark at 150mm wide and 171mm (Thickness of wood 20mm) at the bottom of the part. Then draw a line from both points (150 and 171mm) up until 200mm high which should be half of each part's height. Repeat this on both parts until you have a rectangle that is 200mm by 20mm by 20mm. Then cut each line with a bandsaw. Then using a mallet and chisel, carefully place the chisel along the 20mm line and hit the mallet against it until you have a slot in each part that fit into each other.

Step 9: Step 9

In the cube part which was removed from the pallet, make two lines which will be 20mm apart and be the height of the whole cube. Then mark a line at 40mm for the depth of the slot which will be cut out. Then open the lock knob on the bandsaw and use the guide post elevating handwheel to increase the height of the upper bearing guides. Cut each line until the maximum depth and then use a mallet and chisel to remove the rest. Place the chisel accurately at 40mm deep and use the mallet to make the slot. Repeat this step for 4 different cubes. This is important as the pallets are every narrow and would easily fall over if they were to be the base of the product. Therefore with this cube, it makes the product much sturdier.

Step 10: Step 10

To accomplish this you must draw the design you wish to cut out on each part. However, you must draw the design on the end furthest away from the slot for the cross halving joint. After drawing the designs place each part in the scrolling saw and slowly cut along the line which you drew. Do this for each part and then you will have your bottom bases which will be significantly more appealing.

Step 11: Step 11

Add more glue to the top part and clamp it together again to close any gaps. This will ensure that the top part is firmly attached and will allow the client to have a functional product. Also, fill in the gaps with sawdust and glue rather than sanding it as it will cause the product to lose its rustic and natural feel which makes it unique. Also, do not use paint as it contains water based chemicals which are not environmentally friendly and will cause the product to not seem elegant.