Kitchen Table (2x4 & Recycled Pallets)




Introduction: Kitchen Table (2x4 & Recycled Pallets)

About: I have a creative nature, whether through my work as a software developer or at home, working on one of my "projects". With three kids and a house under renovation, there's always something going on around h...

Having seen the cost of solid wood furniture in places like IKEA; I searched and found a really great guide for building benches over at Jay's Custom Creations and took the inspiration from there to build a kitchen table.

If you like the design and the Instructable, I would appreciate your vote in the "2x4" competition (click the 'vote' option; or the award cup at the top of the page).

Thanks for taking the time to view.

Step 1: Inspiration & Getting Started

The materials for the build consist of 2x4's, reclaimed pallets and a sheet of 12mm ply

Step 2: Reclaiming Pallets for the Decorative Insert

I stripped down a pile of pallets (and some other reclaimed materials from my garage), making sure they were free of nails and avoiding any particular bad sections.

I ran everything through a thickness planer, brining all the material down to around 10mm thick and then ripped everything on the table saw to 30mm wide

Step 3: Table Structure

Enlarging the basic style for the benches (from Jay's site) I made the framework for the table and added a few extra bracing pieces under the table to give additional support to the centre area and provide some additional strength. The pictures don't quite show; but from each cross-brace on the legs, runs a single 2x4 at around 45' to the centre of the table, where it joins a central strut across the table.

The sheet of 12mm ply is located in a dado near the bottom of the 2x4 and held with glue and screws

Step 4: Filling In

With the main structure built, the top was laid with a picture frame style, mitred corners and held with glue/screws.

Between the two top frames, is a row of 3 lengths from the reclaimed pallets; glued and clamped for several hours

Step 5: Filling

With the two frames in place, it was then a case of gluing in many strips of reclaimed pallets; clamping after every few rows

Step 6: Decorative Corners

Because my mitre saw wasn't set accurately, I ended up with a small gap that I wasn't happy about.

I inserted a small filler piece and used a router to cut the diamond shapes and insert a matching diamond cut from some scarp wood (used to be a fireplace in my house).

Step 7: Finishing

With some very small gaps here and there between the pallets, I bought and used 300g of clear epoxy filler, applied to the top as directed, which was then sanded to a smooth finish.

Finally, 7 coats of a natural Danish oil with a light sand between each coat.

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    24 Discussions

    Nice! :{)

    Sean_Anderson, great job on the table. Your instructions and pictures will make it easy for anyone to build a table top. Any tips on maintenance of the boards used? Good luck in the contest.

    2 replies

    It's not really been built long enough for me to worry too much about the maintenance, but considering the solid construction; I would assume an annual light sand followed by a few coats of Danish oil will be more than enough.

    My real concern is that the central material could crack over time. Hindsight would suggest that maybe the central section should have been made from thinner strips of the pallet material, glued to a sheet of thick plywood. The visual from the surface would have been exactly the same, but only time will tell.

    Nice work!

    Danish oil is a great finish to use on any wood. You can mix it 33% with 33% white spirit and 33% yacht varnish for a more permanent finish as I did for one of my instructables. Lets the wood speak for itself.


    2 years ago

    Beautiful work!

    The top looks nice, but I didn't see much on how the underside of the table was constructed. Could it be possible to go into more detail on that?

    2 replies

    I'll try to add some more details later, but the basics are that the underside of the tabletop is a sheet of ply sitting in a rabbit on the surround (not too dissimilar to a picture frame construction)

    The legs at each end are constructed in the same style as the benches which I referenced; each with a (approximately) 45' brace leading up to an additional cross brace that's notched into the legs. Admittedly, the legs could have been more 'elegant', but I wanted to match the style of the benches (I may change these in the future)


    Man this is truly one of the nicest tables I've ever seen. The perfect table to sit at and play some monopoly. I'll no doubt make something similar when I get the chance. I think not staining it was a brilliant decision. I like stain but the natural color of wood (especially different kinds together) is awesome.
    You said you applied some epoxy. And then applied the oil. Wouldn't the epoxy act as a barrier between the wood and oil? Or did you just use the epoxy to fill a few small gaps?

    2 replies

    Yes, epoxy was just to fill the gaps. The top was thoroughly sanded to make sure there wasn't any left on there

    very nice indeed! One word of caution though: reclaimed wood from (industrial) pallets might be contaminated with chemicals. They are re used many times and you never rrally know where it has been and what was on it (and what might have leaked) ... although not allowed in europe anymore (afaik) don't use pallets with blue/yellow paint.. there's heavy metal (lead) in the paint. Also stay away from apallets with traces of any spillage... besides that, i love working with pallet wood myself :)

    1 reply

    I second that, and to add, I just use pallets clearly marked with HT which means they are heat treated and not treated with pestisides or other chemicals to kill fungus and insects on international trips.

    This is a good idea however I would be concerned with the longevity of the table as it would probably tend to warp in many unexpected directions . Did you make provisions to prevent that?

    1 reply

    Understandable with crossing grains and different species, that there's a risk of uneven warp and expansion, but I did make a kitchen worktop in a similar way some years ago and that's held up very well. This has 2x4 braces underneath, which should help to prevent any major movement.

    Just be careful with pallets (and some reclaimed woods) as some may be contaminated with toxic materials. A little caution goes a long way in being safe.

    That said, nicely done.

    Good job! Reclaimed wood can really look nice, as you demonstrate. The table must be very sturdy, I'd guess. The finish really sets it off nicely.

    looks great, love the picture frame frame inlaid

    Beautiful job. I love working with pallets... It's so fun when you can turn this ugly wood into something beautiful. Great job