Introduction: Pallet Wood Clog Work Boots (with a Wheel in the Heel!)

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

Available for a limited time only, I present to you the Carolina Clogs. The safest, most efficient, most stylish, and most eco-friendly work boots on the market today. You'll be the envy of everyone on the jobsite with these on your feet! I made these by recycling pallet wood into a giant block of wood including a bent lamination on the sole of the boots. The blocks of wood were carved down by hand using power carving attachments and a humble angle grinder. Then I added a wheel in the heel so I can get out my shop with efficiency and added an insole and laces to keep my foot in place and comfortable in my wooden shoes.

Step 1: Ladies...

Step 2: Materials & Tools

Notable Materials & Tools used on this build:


- Pallet wood

- Wood glue

- Super glue & activator

- Insoles

- Heelys wheels

- Kevlar laces

- Varnish

- Carolina socks


- Bluetooth hearing protection

- Chain saw

- Thickness planer

- Glue roller bottle

- Silicone glue mat

- Jaw horse

- Turbo plane

- Turbo shaft

- Laser

- Mini carver

- Ball gouge

- Power chisel

- Contour sander

- Wood burner:

Step 3: Preparing the Log

Now this project starts with a hard maple log, follow me closely though because I change direction pretty quick as you can expect from the title (and honestly you should expect it anyway from my project history). I've had these hard maple logs kicking around for about a year now and figured it was time to crack one open for a project so I pulled it out and split it in half with my chainsaw. After removing the pit of the avocado was when I realized that there was a lot of spalting (lines) in the wood grain, but I wanted a more uniform piece of wood for this project so I saved it aside and looked for a different material.

Step 4: Switching to Pallet Wood (of Coarse)

I ended up finding some super thick pallet boards (surprised? you shouldn't be) up in my racks that I had forgotten about, but they were the perfect size for this project. They got cut down to smaller lengths to remove most of the cracks and nail holes and also to make them a more manageable size since the shoes are only about 13" long anyways.

Each of the pieces is sent through the thickness planer until smooth to clean up both faces and the the edges are cleaned up by sending each side through the table saw. This also brings them all down to a uniform size to help out with the glue-up.

Glue is applied to each of the faces and the pieces are all clamped together. I leave glue out of the center joint though so that these pieces can be separated later into the 2 shoes. This sits for a few hours while I go and find some more pallet wood for the sole and then I take it out of the clamps and clean up the faces by sending each block through the thickness planer.

Step 5: Adding Some Oak Pallet Wood

While checking my "pallet lumber yard" I came across this beauty and knew it would come in handy some day soon, turns out some day is today. For this project I only need short pieces, so I break the pallet down simply by cutting along the nails in the runners so I can salvage all of the slats between them. I can already tell it's a nice mix of red/white oak in all of the pieces, can't let that rot away in the trash, I'd rather have it rot away in another useless Jackman project!

Each of the slats is sent through the thickness planer to smooth out both faces and bring them down to roughly the same thickness (this will be further refined later). The edges are cleaned up again on the table saw just by sending them through and nipping off the edge to give me a square surface to work with in the next step.

Step 6: Resawing the Pallet Slats

The slats are then resawed directly in half by running each edge over the table saw and leaving about a 1/2" of material to be cut on the bandsaw. This is the easiest way to get a nice and perfectly straight resaw cut on a wide board like this if you are too lazy to tune your bandsaw correctly like myself.

After splitting the boards in half the rest of the way on the bandsaw, my little drum sander helps out by smoothing out all of the faces and bringing the boards down to a final thickness of about 1/8".

Step 7: Preparing for the Glue-up

I found a 3 model of a clog on thingiverse and scaled that around the size of my foot, then took side, bottom, and front/rear profiles of it and printed them out to use as templates. I decide where the outsole of the shoe will be by scribing a line up off the bottom of the shoe and cut my template out there. That line is traced out and cut on the bandsaw to be the bottom of my shoe. After that, the bottom is sanded smooth on my disk sander and each of these blocks is ready it's close up!

These pallet wood veneers that I sawed aren't quite wide enough for the size of my shoes (~6" wide) so I cut down pairs of pieces that equal out to the width of my shoes in total. Each of these pairs is glued together with super glue and activator so they are instantly adhered, that way I can move quickly through all of the pieces and move on to the big glue up. Most of them are also instantly glued to my bench, but let's not worry about that, as they say 'once you fail, fail fail again' or something like that.

Step 8: Gluing Up the Shoe Blanks and Bent Lamination

The veneers are split into 2 stacks, one for each shoe, and then we can start this beast of a glue-up. I spread glue onto every sheet as quickly as possible using my glue spreader bottle so I can get the clamps on before it starts to dry.

I clamp down every square inch of the flat spot of the shoe because I want to make sure that all the layers lay flat while I clamp down the curved portion.

Now we get to do the tricky part. I'm legit sweating at this point after the workout of applying approximately 338,838 screw clamps. I first tried to pull these pieces down to the curve with some more screw clamps but that wasn't going to happen, so I had to pull out the big guns. My pipe clamps are about 6' long, but they pull off this job with ease. As they say 'if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with' or something like that. Anyway, I tighten the clamps until all of the seams are pulled tight and let this one set over night just to be safe.

Step 9: Cleaning Up the Blanks and Tracing Out the Shape

I carefully remove all 338,841 clamps from each boat and then start to clean them up so we can get these boats on my feet some time soon hopefully.

One face is smoothed out on the disk sander and then the most uneven face is saved for the thickness planer and is run through there to even everything up. The pallet wood bent lamination turned out beautiful and this definitely isn't the last time you'll be seeing this in a build from you, I actually already have an idea for the next one!

The rest of the side profile of the shoe is traced out onto each of the blocks and is cut to rough size on the bandsaw. Then the bottom profile of the shoe is traced onto each one to give me some guidelines for my power carving.

Step 10: Power Carving the Outside

I use the Arbortech Turbo Plane carving disk in my angle grinder to shape the entire outside of the shoes. First I start by bringing each side down to my guidelines that I traced out on the bottom of the shoe earlier. This gives me a blocky version of the clogs, but enough of an idea of the shape to carve the rest out freehand.

One last thing I can do to define the shape is pull out my Carolina insoles and use the size of those to help define the inside cavity in the clog. I trace the back side of the insole out to define the inside of the back of the shoe and then use my front/rear paper template to define the outside of the back of the shoe.

Now I can complete the freehand shaping, using these lines as guidelines while I roundover all of the corners of the clogs. The 3D model that I mentioned earlier also helps me a bit as I bounce back to it to reference the visual and refresh it in my head.

Step 11: Power Carving the Inside

With the outside shaped to satisfaction (my satisfaction, it's the only one that matters) I can work on hollowing out the inside of the clog with the Arbortech Turbo Shaft attachment (my turbo shaft, it's the only turbo shaft that matters). The stop collar on it helps me to create a flat bottom hole while I plunge in and it is really easy to control in order to create a hole that is square with the top of the shoe.

I continue to carve away with that and with my Mini Caver (the one in the back with the long neck that looks like a dinosaur that didn't go extinct when god sent the giant snowstorm that killed every animal except the pairs that were safe on Noah's giant snowmobile). I inevitably reach a point where I can't carve any deeper due to my limited length. Luckily I anticipated this because this is a problem that I have encountered before, so I decided to slice the shoe in half to help me carve out the inside and then glue it together again when I'm done like a bandsaw box. This will also help me with adding the wheels, more details on that later.

Step 12: Splitting the Shoes in Half

Because of the curved surface, I have made it impossible for myself to draw a straight line on the clogs now, so I whip out my laser line and use that to sketch a straight line bisecting each shoe. Each of them is then carefully split down the middle using the bandsaw.

To determine the shape of the rest of the inside cavity of the the, I use my template AKA my own foot. This same line is sketched on either half to give myself a rough guideline of what materiel to carve out and I will further refine this later.

Step 13: Finishing Hollowing Out the Inside

I use my Mini Carver to carve out the majority of the material now since it can reach the rest of it. Then to further clean things up I use the Turbo Shaft again since it takes smaller and cleaner bites.

At this point, the connecting face between the 2 halves is as small as it's going to be so I color it with marker and flatten it out. I flatten it on my disk sander and I know when I've hit the entire surface when the black marks are entirely removed.

Step 14: Refining the Shape to Fit My Foot

I use a clamp to hold the 2 halves together and do my first Cinderella fitting with my foot inside, except unlike Cinderella I'm going to carve out the shoe until it fits, that prince is mine!! By taking a few steps in my clogs you'll able to feel the pressure points like I did here. I used this test to mark the points that still needed to be refined further.

The Ball Gouge is used to further shape the inside and give a bit more room for my toes and the side of my foot where I felt pressure from the test fit. After a few more test fits and further refinements, the shoe is fitting perfectly like a glove... or actually more like a shoe glove. Now I sand the inside with the sanding attachment in the Mini Carver to bring everything down smooth so my toes don't get a splinter.

Do they fit? Yep, looks good to me. But wait, we can't glue them together yet!

Step 15: Adding the Wheel

Here's the other reason that I split the clogs in half the way that I did, the wheel in the heel. There's not other way to make clogs (or my patented cargo shorts) more fashionable then to make them into Heelys, so that's exactly what we're going to do. I sketch out the hole on either side and drill it out with a forstner bit at a slightly larger diameter then the wheel. The bottom edge of the hole is then squared up with a chisel.

The hole for the axle is drilled out in either side as well. I make sure that this hole is undersized compared to the diameter of the axle so that there is plenty of friction to hold the wheels in later for when I'm doing sweet tricks. I then square of the hole to create a notch that continues all the way to the bottom of the glue.

First test fit shows that I'm equally as awesome as everyone thinks I am because they don't quite fit. I refine the slot by widening it out slightly with some sandpaper until the friction is just enough that I can just barely pull the wheel out of the shoe. Now the 2 halves can be glued together as promised.

Step 16: Sanding and Tracing Out the Detail Lines

With the glue dried, the outside of the clogs can finally be sanded smooth. They're first rough sanded with the mini carver and then final sanded with the random orbit sander.

Now the fun part starts! Oh, you were having fun before? Well stop it because the fun didn't start up until this point because I'm turning my clogs into work boots. I pick out a model shoe from Carolina Shoe that I feel best fits the aesthetic of a clog. I print out the bottom of the shoe and trace it out using carbon paper on the bottom of each shoe.

I also freehand sketch on the layers of the leather on each of the clogs which I will carve down later to make it look like the wood shoe is made of dead animals rather than dead trees.

Step 17: Power Chiseling

The power chisel is used to carve out the tread on the bottom of the shoes. I use a combination of a steep round gouge and a v-gouge to make this happen. The nice part about this tool is that it carves almost as easily in the direction of the grain, or perpendicular too it, especially useful in this application.

The same is done for the leather seem lines on the shoes. I use a small v-gouge for this part. This does a really great job at defining these layer lines.

Step 18: Making It Look Like a Boot! Shaping and Adding Laces

Then to complete the shaping, I use some super rough sand paper to feather down the lower leather surfaces to make it look like one layer of wood is bending down and passing under the next one. I then sand up through the grits again to smooth these surfaces out on what is now my new work boots.

Now it's not a work boot without laces, and we'll want to laces these bad boys up if we're going to be rolling around anyway. I drill out the holes using a drill bit at an angle and then laces up my work boots with some super heavy duty Kevlar laces.

Step 19: Adding Wood Burning Features

Then it's not a proper boot without the proper branding so I add the Jackman Works logo on the bottom using toner transfer and add the Carolina logo on the side using a branding iron. The excess burnt material on the surface is just sanded away.

And the last detail to add is just the stitching that is holding all of my layers of wood together. I do this with a small flat bit in a wood burner and then just stamp out each of the stitches on the shoe, using the real boot as a model.

Step 20: Finishing

And finally, the last step is to add some finish. I decided on some really heavy duty boat varnish this time since I figured this project in particular is going to be put through it's paces... pun intended.

Now you can pick up a pair of work boot clogs for yourself!! Get the safety, most efficient, and most eco-friendly work boots on the market today by a mile. Then you can walk a mile in my shoes. It's just one really complicated payment away. Also, who makes their plants hard to reach anyway? Hopefully they'll come up with a product before you shrivel up and die, think like a cactus.

Step 21: Glamour Shots

Thanks for checking out this build, and you're welcome for making you the envy of everyone else on the job site just like myself. Also, for the full Jackman experience as always, click on the YouTube video:


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