Introduction: Pallet Desk/work Station
Between all my stuff on the kitchen table, and the large desk taking up all of the space in my sons room, my wife said it time for me to get to work. She said Its time to clear off the kitchen table to make room to eat, and give your son some more space in his room. To resolve these issues we came up with an idea of making a desk/work station made from used pallets that I had laying around and built it in the family room.
Step 1: Step One
Cutting your base for the top.
I used 3/8" OSB (chip board), you can use plywood or MDF if you prefer.
I purchased mine at Lowes Home Improvement Center, and had them cut it into two (2) pieces @ 21". Since the sheet is 4'x8'. When I got it home i cut off one piece @ 25 1/2". So with one piece at 8' and the other piece @25 1/5" it made my over all lenght 10' 5 1/2".
I cut mine to:
Length = 10' 5 1/2"
Depth = 21"
but you could make yours what ever lenght and depth you desire.
Step 2: Step Two
Dissasemble pallets by removing the wood slats from the runners.
You can accomplish this any way you prefer, there are many different ways you can do it.
Here are just a few ways you could do it:
Prybar and hammer-when off remove nails.
Sawzall-cut through nails, then use punch and hammer to knock out the nails fron the boards. (if you want then out)
Pallet slat removing tool. when off remove nails. You can either build your own tool, or you can buy one online.
I chose to use the Prybar and hammer method, as I am still in the process of making my own pallet slat removing tool.
Step 3: Step Three
Now that you have enough pallet slats removed you need to cut then to fit onto your Base board.
You can make what ever pattern you wish as long as you have enough slats.
Examples of patterns:
I chose to go with the Stagered Joint method.
With this method I had to cut some of the slats from thier normal length to approximately 8-10" this will help with the staggering process.
First row: need Long board, one short, long, short, .....
Second row: Short board, one long, short, long, ......
Third row: Long board, one short, long, short, ....
Fourth row: Short board, one long, short, long, ......
Continue this process if you need more rows.
Step 4: Step Four
This step is optional. If you choose not to do this step or you do not have a wood plainer you can SKIP THIS STEP AND GO TO STEP FIVE.
I chose to do this step only because I have a wood plainer, and I wanted a little smoother finish. If you choose to skip this step the wood will just be a little bit more Rustic looking.
Run each of the pallet slats through the plainer until you get the desired look, or thickness that you desire.
Step 5: Step Five
Here you will start to install the pallet slats onto the Baseboard.
Start by staging the slats the way you want them to be on the finished product.
Then one at a time secure the boards in place.
First: I used Wood Glue (Tight Bond lll) becuse its Waterproof and weatherproof. I put wood glue on the back side (side that is not going to be seen) and spresd it from end to end.
Second: I used a Brad Nailer (using 18 gauge 3/4" brads) to secure the pallet slats to the baseboard.
I did this to each pallet slat securing each piece one at a time, starting at one corner at one end and working my way to the other corner at the other end. I then moved to the next row and did the same thing. (keeping in mind to stagger the pallet slats) if your doing the stagger method.
Do the same thing for ALL rows that are needed.
Step 6: Step Six
I chose to cut pallet slats in half and use them for the trim.
(I used my Table Saw for this.)
You can use the full size pallet slat or what ever type of trim you want for your project.
Once I cut my slats in half, I measured the end of my desk top, after I got my measurment I cut it to length making a 45 degree angle on one end for the corner connection.
(I used my Miter Saw for these cuts). You could use a miter box, if you dont have an electeic Miter Saw.
The second measurment and cut I made was from the corner 45 degree cut I just made.
I made an opposite 45 degree angle cut from the fist cut that I made.
After I laid out the remaining straight pieces along the front edge of the desk, I only had to make one more cut.
The last cut I had to make was on the end that was going to flush to the wall, so I only had to make a straight 90 degree angle cut.
Once all my trim was cut to the correct lengths I started the process of securing it to the desk top.
First: I used my wood glue, and spread it onto the backside of one piece of trim, held it in position,
then I used my Brad Nailer (using 18 gauge 1 3/16" brads)
and nailed the trim to the edge of my desktop.
I just repeated these steps to complete the rest of the trim pieces.
Step 7: Step Seven
Sand down the entire desktop and trim to desired look. I sanded the entire top of the desktop to make it as smooth as possible. I started with 80 grit, and finished off with 220 grit. It was plenty smooth for what im doing.
Step 8: Step Eight
Installing your support brackets to hold your new Desktop/Workstation.
You can do this anyway you wish, using Metal Brackets, Wood Cantilevers, ect. or you can do what I had to do, and make my own supports since my desktop was so deep.
First: I used a STUD FINDER to locate all the STUDS in the wall that will be supporting my ledger board and marked where they are with a pencil.
Second: I cut a 2"x4" to a length that was the same as my desktop.
Third: I measured up the wall to the point where my ledger board would need to go, and marked it with a pencil. I did this at every stud along the length of the wall.
Fourth: With the assistance of my wife, we held the ledger board up into position, and marked the ledger board where I needed to Pre drill it for the screws to secure it to the wall.
Fifth: Pre drill the ledger board where all the screws will go. Once pre drilled, I help up one end and drove in one screw with my Impack Driver. (You can use a drill, a screw driver, or what ever tool you wish).
Once I had one end secured with at least one screw, (I used 3" wood screws for this). I placed a 6' level on top of the ledger board while I had my wife hold the other end in place making sure it was level before I started to secure the ledger board the rest of the way.
Sixth: I installed L-brackets (1 1/2" high x 1 1/2" deep x 3" long) onto the ledger board at every stud location along the wall. These are to secure Top securing brackets I made. These were made out of 2"x4"s cut to 19". The 19" Top securing board PLUS THE 1 1/2" thick ledger board equals 20 1/2" witch is the depth of my desktop. If you have a KREG JIG you could use that. At the time I did this I did not have one, But after I finished I went to the local home store and purchased one. Using a KREG jig makes everything way more secure.
Seventh: I cut the angle supports. I did this using 2"x3"s. I cut one end at a 36 degree angle and the other end at 50 degree angle. The length of the angle supports were cut to 31 1/2" from end to end. These angles were cut ro these angle in order to make the desktop level.
Eight: Next I pre drilled the cross supports for installation using a Pocket Hole Jig. Then screwed then into position using 1 5/8" wood screws.
Step 9: Last Step
I removed a couple of the support braces as it was just over braced, and it looks better. It now also has more desk chair room.
Attach the desktop to the securing support brackets. I used 2 5/8 wood screws to do this. I drove in the screws from the bottom through the 2x4" and into the desktop this way you cant see the screw heads in the desktop.
Im going to stain the top a natural color so all the cool wood grains standnout, and all the trim a dark stain like Maple. The support brackes will be a dark stain as well.
Staining is all done thanks to my wife helping me finish it.
Well thats it, step by step on how I made a desk/workstation. This was my first time making something like this, and also my first time doing a instructable. I hope this was clearly written and easy to follow. If it wasnt Im sorry, like I said it is my first time doing this. I hope this instructable helps you with your next project.
7 years ago
It looks lovely and I think your instructable is most detailed. I loved mostly how you offered several ways of completing some steps, like pulling apart the pallets. It helps for not so very handy people like me. :)
7 years ago
Great first instructable! The finished desk looks great. Thanks for sharing your project and knowledge!!
Reply 7 years ago
Thank you I appreciate your feedback.