Introduction: IKEA Hack/pallet Table
So here we have a gnarly looking pallet table, with an iPad shelf and a built in power supply with usbs.
Step 1: Take an Old IKEA Stool
So here's the first part of of the raw materials... An old IKEA stool. We had four of them knocking about, as they were handy when the kids were little.
Step 2: Flip It Over
Flip it over and unscrew the legs.
Step 3: Cantilever Legs
We're going to make two cantilever legs out of the four stool legs.
I've seen some designs where folks go for a simple butt joint, as shown in the first pic...
But I wanted a cleaner joint, so wanted the legs flush, as shown in the second pic...
Step 4: Joining the Leg Pieces
If you're going for the flush joint, use a chop saw to trim off the long end of the leg tat is rounded, to make it a straight cut.
Then drill an 8mm hole in the centre to take your Wooden dowels. Tip! You can get little plastic jigs to help drill square and true.
Then glue up the joints, and lay them on a dead flat surface. Then cut some little reinforcing panels too, and glue and pin these in place.
Step 5: Grab a Pallet
As you can see the quality of many pallets here in the uk is pretty shoddy...
I left it intact to begin with, which made it easier to give it a first sanding using 80 grit paper on my sander.
Step 6: Rough Cut Boards
Dismantling the pallet For this small table is easy. Simply cut through the boards well away from any nails, then loose lay them to play around with different grain patterns etc. You may also find that some boards a slightly tapered at one end, so offset these to keep things square.
Step 7: Glue Up Boards
For a big coffee table you might want to biscuit joint the boards, but as this is a small side table, I just glued and clamped them. Tip! If, like mine, your boards vary in thickness, flip them face down, glue them up, and gently clamp. You might also put some tins of paint etc to weigh them down. By doing it this way, the table will be flat on the top face. Leave it dry completely. Ideally overnight.
Most people simply glue and screw the boards straight to a frame, and uneven boards mean the top is uneven, requiring a ton of sanding.
I didn't want to sand the boards so much that they looked like new wood.... I wanted to leave some staining, some machine marks and character.
Step 8: Table Top... Next Steps
Cut your table top dead square to the size you want. Mine was 315mm (just over 12"). Then cut a couple of side rails about an inch thick, and glue & pin your table top to it.
Step 9: Assembly
Once the glue on all your parts is totally set, you can assemble. Just put the table top face down on your bench, glue the SHORT end of the leg in place, and screw through the side rails into it, clamping in place if required. Depending on how stable the whole thing feels, you may wish to add cross braces on the legs... I added two, one near the bottom for stability, and one near the top to carry power.... More about that later!
Oh, and as a last minute brainwave, I added a piece of 1/4" ply as an under shelf, complete with half moon cutout, so my IPad can live there.
Step 10: Apply Chosen Finish
At this stage I must say a huge hats off to beyondthepicketfence, whose pallet work inspired this, and some of the colours used.... It also goes perfectly in my man cave which has putty coloured walls and a deep red feature wall. Give the table top a further Sand with a finer grit paper, like a 240. Then get water based paint... Sample pots, leftovers, whatever, and apply using a dry brush technique. You want to still see some bare wood, some grain, some dings etc. I used a deep red, a dull cream, and a brown. Then let it dry completely... Water based will be dry enough in an hour or so.
Step 11: Sealing
Now get your fine sandpaper again, and go over the painted wood. This reveals a touch more of the bare pallet wood, knocks off any globs of paint, and generally adds to the distressed effect. Then give it a light coat of satin varnish... I used an aerosol for speed. Then when that's dry, get an abrasive pad or some wire wool, and apply furniture wax to the wood. Buff off immediately. What you're left with is an incredible finish, which looks rough and distressed and gnarly, but feels silky smooth.
Step 12: Adding Power
I got hold of a very handy extension cable. It has four ordinary power sockets and two USBs... Great for charging things like Bluetooth speakers without tying up your PC. I simply put a couple of short wood screws into my cross brace, leaving a few millimetres sticking out, and the power unit just clicks onto them.
Step 13: Would I Do Anything Different Next Time?
The table top with its pallet construction and distressed paint finish doesn't totally go with the modern IKEA legs... That's why I painted them satin black.
I think it would look even better with retro metal legs as in the photo above (that's just from a random web search). But a haven't had to buy a thing for this... It was all recycled, so effectively free!