Pallet Wood Counter Space




Introduction: Pallet Wood Counter Space

I recently moved into a new apartment with very little kitchen storage space. The constant shuffling of things around the counters quickly led to the need for more space... so I made some. The table/counter space was custom sized to fit the space I had; final size is 30" long, 17.5" wide, and 35.5" tall.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

The apartment I am renting has no garage, storage space, or outside work area and all my power tools were left in storage about a three hour drive from my new job/apartment (definitely not ideal for a maker like myself). So... my choice in tools was extremely limited. This entire project was built with hand tools only with the only power tool being a cordless drill.


measuring tape & pencil


nail punch

hand saw w/ miter box

drill/drill bits/drivers

pocket hole jig


approx. 2 pallets

(2) 1"x2"x8' boards

(2) 2"x2"x8' boards

1/2" black iron pipe & fittings


Step 2: Find & Dismantle Pallets

I found my pallets from a big box store. Most stores have them and are fine with you taking them if you ask the manager first.

This entire table was built with (1) full size pallet and (4) quarter sized pallets (i.e. 2 pallets total), with a good amount of leftover boards.

After picking up the pallets I spent a couple hours at the park with a hammer and pounded all the pieces apart into usable boards. This step could be made easier with a circular saw and by cutting off the end few inches on each side of the pallet (this inch or two of lost length will not matter for this project); however, I did not have my circ. saw with me when I started this project.

Once taken apart, I used a nail set to punch out the remaining broken off nails from the boards.

Step 3: Structural Bits

I was worried about the joint strength of the pallet wood since I didn't really have much of a plan going into this project so I used some 2x2 boards for the inside pieces of the legs. These were cut to 34" using the hand saw and miter box on the living room floor. I figured the added strength would be nice and 2x2s are cheap so I wasn't worried about it.

I also cut some 1x2 boards to 16" lengths (5 pieces are needed). These will function as a subframe for the top. More on that later.

Step 4: Legs and Base Frame

With the 2x2 legs cut to length, I glued the pallet boards to the 2x2s. I cut 2 pallet boards to length for each leg after they were glued; 2 pallet boards per leg. My table was 35.5" tall and I used 34" legs. I glued the pallet boards to the 2x2 to act as face boards, just for looks, rather than for strength.

I then cut a few pallet boards to the preferred length and width of the table. These would become the frame pieces to hold the legs together. I used a pocket hole jig and a few clamps and screwed the frame together with the legs of the table.

Step 5: Table Top

For the top I went with a simple pattern. I just alternated the pallet wood colors, sizes, etc. as best I could with the pieces I had to make it look nice. The long boards were cut to 14" and the short were 7". I used five (5) 1x2 pieces placed under the ends of the boards and glued the pallet wood to the 1x2 to make to top pattern. I cut the assembled top to final width once it was assembled using the hand saw and a straight edge. Then it was on to the face frame bits. The frame was cut to size and screwed on to the 1x2 boards to hold it all together.

At this point the top was not attached to the base at all, it only sat on top and around the outside of the table frame. It was a pretty tight fit and felt pretty sturdy so I left it at that.

Step 6: Finished Table

I added a 1/2" black iron pipe towel bar to one side and that's it! The counter space/table is finished. I am planning to add a drawer to the front of it for a junk drawer or utensils or whatever, but it's functional as is and gave me much more usable counter space.

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    You could never go wrong with extra storage space regardless of where it is to be placed at. The counter space could also double up as a serving table should surprise guests come over to visit.


    3 years ago

    You did a fantastic job, and it really looks nice!******* I do have to be a spoiler, though (there's one in every bunch) and caution everyone using pallet wood for anything: Be advised that pallets are often made with wood that contains preservatives to keep insects and rot away, because pallets were meant to last and be reused - as pallets. Many times these preservatives contain poisonous chemicals that are dangerous to humans and/or animals, so be careful when using pallet-wood things in a food, pet or child environment. Also, be extra cautious of the sawdust created when finishing pallet-made items.
    Preaching over. :-)


    Reply 3 years ago

    All pallets have letters stamped on them indicating how they've been treated. You want pallets that have HT on it, for heat treated. Those are safe to use. But you're right, some pallets are chemically treated and you don't want to use them, DEFINITELY don't burn them. I've been lucky with the pallets i get from a beer distributor, they're all HT and usually newly made. They've even got the manufacture date stamped on them. has lots of info and a free downloadable pdf of what the different stamps stand for.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Did not know that! Thanks - always learning!


    Reply 3 years ago

    *Some* are treated chemically (almost exclusively Methyl Bromide (MB), not *often*, *most* pallets are heat treated (HT) and pallets are required to be marked as such.

    Even in the case where they are chemically treated (MB), the treatment involves applying a gas (fumigating) in an enclosed space, once done the residue "gasses" off and quickly leaves the site - by the time a pallet gets to you any MB is long gone. Whilst MB is toxic, the danger is in it's initial application, not it's residue.

    Other products that you use that are also treated in the same way include:

    Bamboo/Bamboo products
    Dried Fruit
    Dry Foodstuffs
    Fresh Fruit/Vegetables
    Furniture/Personal effects
    Hand tools
    Steel/Steel scrap/Steel components
    Wood Packaging

    Why this alarmist nonsense regarding pallet use is rife on the internet is beyond me.


    Quarantine and Pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide2013-2016 and the potential for its replacement.

    Kink Jarfold
    Kink Jarfold

    3 years ago on Step 6

    I really like projects that are built out of necessity like yours. And I'm a big fan of pallet wood, too. Nicely done. KJ

    Well Done.png

    Answer 3 years ago

    Thanks. I did not sand it; I left it with that "natural" rustic pallet wood look.

    Moats Custom Woodworking
    Moats Custom Woodworking

    Reply 3 years ago

    Ok. I personally like to sand everything, (Even though I hate sanding) just so it looks more smooth and so my siblings don't get splinters. Anyhow, very nice


    Reply 3 years ago

    I agree. I did spot sand a few of the splintery looking bits, but if I had any children that would be around this (and access to all of my tools as I was making it) I probably would have planed it and sanded it all smoother.