Check out this Instructable and Youtube Video about how to make a Herring Bone Patterned bench from pallet wood!
This project is easy and only requires a few tools: a circular saw, drill, chalk line, and nailgun.
You can make many different patterns on the top of the bench, the design I chose was the Herring bone or fish bone style pattern. This chevron pattern has the top pallet board slats angled at 45 degrees and it then patterned on the remaining length of the bench.
The bench is constructed from 2x4's with mitered ends at 45 degrees, 4x4 legs and then pallet slats nailed to the top and then trimmed flush. You can also add trim around the edges of the bench to hide the cut pallet edges and wrap the bench nicely.
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Step 1: Building the Frame
The frame for this bench consists of 2x4's cut to 8 foot lengths with mitered 45 degree ends on the corners. I used 3" screws to attach the corners together. It may be helpful to use clamps to hold the corner stable when putting the screws in.
I then attached a stringer down the center of the bench frame to support the pallet slats that will sit on top to give me something to nail to.
Step 2: Attaching the Legs
The legs for this bench are made from 4x4 lumber. They were cut down to length on my miter saw to be 28" tall. Don't forget to account for the height on the pallet slats that will sit on top of the frame if you are measuring for an overall specific bench height.
The end of the leg was installed flush with the top of the frame by using my garage floor as a reference point when attaching them. I used 4 3" screws on each side of the bench frame corner to screw the leg in, making sure it was straight when installed.
Step 3: Nailing the Pallet Slats
I cut down a bunch of pallets with my circular saw to get a bunch of blanks approximately 24" long. You want to ensure that the first row of slats start at exactly 45 degrees and in the center on the stringer. If you mess this up in the beginning the pattern may be offset for the rest of the bench!
I used 18 gauge nails, putting two in on each end and moving my way down the length of the bench, ensuring to stay centered as I worked.
Step 4: Flush Cutting the Top
The easiest way to get a flush edge with this herring bone pattern is to just attach the pallet slats in the last step, and then cut the ends off to get a straight flush edge.
I used a chalk line to mark my cut line to follow for my circular saw and then just followed the line being careful not to dig the blade into the 2x4 underneath.
Step 5: Sanding and Finish
You can also use a planer to get all of the pallet slats to the same height so that the bench surface does not have high and low spots in the slats. For this one, I just attached them as is and used a sander to round over some of the edges of the pallet slats because they were not all the same height.
The center picture shows the bench with some edge trimming nailed on as well, this is a nice touch to wrap up the bench design!
For finish I have used poly, stain, and paint. I have also left a few just rough without a finish, let you imagination run wild on this!
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