We moved a few months ago and I noticed behind the new Taekwondo school that I was going too that there were a bunch of pallets. I asked if I could have some, and they said I could have as many as I wanted. Since then I've been building stuff out of pallets left and right.
This is a little guide showing all the stuff I made out of those pallets and some of the tricks I've learned taking them apart, preparing, and finishing them.
Each step is a different pallet project with the exception of the first 3. All the projects have the general dimensions of them with the exception of the coffee table which has the specific dimensions of the wood, incase you want to build it. Also, let me know if you want specific dimensions of other projects.
Thank you to all the people who voted for this project in the Manly Crafts and the Workshop contest.
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Step 1: Taking Apart Pallets
- (picture 1) The tools I used were a hammer, a sledgehammer, a mallet, and something called the wonderbar (a small crowbar).
- (picture 2) I picked the side of the pallet that had the least or junkiest boards to pry up.
- (picture 3) I wore safety glasses (as everybody should) and I also wore hearing protection because I was working in my garage which made the pounding vary loud.
- (picture 4-8) For the prying part I used the mallet and the wonderbar. I hammered underneath the board at the end which seems to work best. I pried up only a little bit at a time where each board was nailed down to keep the board from splitting as little as possible. I repeated the process until all the boards on one side were off.(pictures 9&10)
- (pictures 11&12) I slid two 2x4s underneath the pallet so that the 2x4s attached to the pallet could rest on them.
- (pictures 13-21) I proceded to pound/hammer the boards out with the mallet/sledgehammer (depending on the condition of the board) moving the 2x4 back after each board was pounded out until all the boards were pounded out.
- Next, I pounded and then pried the nails out.
Step 2: Preparing Pallet Wood
I found that the best way to prepare pallet wood is to power wash it, especially if you don't plan on sanding the wood. The power washer sometimes takes the paint of the wood too.
When power washing, spray the wood with the nozzle about 3 to 4 inches away. Don't spray to close or you will take to much off and end up with a bunch of lines in your wood.
Make sure to let the wood dry for a couple of days especially the 2x4s which tend to take longer to dry.
Step 3: Finishing
For most of my projects I usually put two coats of polyurethane on with a light sand using a sanding block in between the coats. The polyurethane I usually use is satin.
I usually don't sand the wood after power washing it (with the exception of the coffee table). I like the natural texture to the wood better. If your not going to sand the wood I recommend that you brush it of with a wire brush to get some of the loose splinters off.
Step 4: Corner Table
Going back, there are things I would have done differently on the corner table, but overall I like the way it turned out.
I got the metal bars from the wardrobe boxes left over from are last move. I had to cut of the ends of four of them off and them bolt them together so that it would be long enough in the front.
General dimensions: 37 3/4" wide, 26 3/4" deep, 24" tall
Step 5: Magazine Holder
The magazine rack was one my first projects, so it's not as precise. That's also when I discovered that wood screws don't work to well. They tend to split the wood even with pilot holes.
I decided to leave the wood natural on this project to give it a more rustic look. The bar going across is from a wardrobe box. I plan on buying a big dowel to screw underneath the bar to give it more comfort.
General dimensions: 24 1/4" long, 10 3/4" wide, 11 1/2" tall
Step 6: End Tables
This is my version of MidnightMaker'sRecycled Potted Plant Table. I made two of them to use as end tables, and they work great! They is no difference in dimensions between mine and his. The only difference is that I used screws instead of nails. I also power washed it and put two coats of polyurethane on.
Step 7: Bench
The bench was kind of a complicated project. The main reason being that I didn't have any pallet 2x4s long enough. I did figure out a solution though as you can see.
I took two 2x4s and clamped them in a pipe clamp. Then I screwed a board into both 2x4s (pictures 12-14). I then screwed in two 3" screws at angles, one on the bottom (picture 19), and one on the top (picture 20).
I also tried something different. I decided to put a coat of stain on the top. In my opinion I like the look of polyurethane better, but the stain still looks pretty nice.
General dimensions: 47" long, 16" wide, 18 3/4" tall.
Step 8: Little Table/Stool
We had an old folding chair that had disintegrated, so I decided to use the frame to build this little table/stool. All the screws I used for this project were 2 in. screws.
I ripped a 10" 2x4 in half, giving me two pieces which I screwed into from the underside (picture 4). Two of the holes in the chair frame were already the perfect size,(picture 5) but the the other two were to big, so I used washers (picture 6). Next I cut three 10" boards for the top. I had to slightly rip one of the boards to get it to fit.
Step 9: Coffee Table
The boards I used were thicker than normal being almost an inch thick! The whole thing has two coats of satin polyurethane with the exception of the top, which has one coat of satin and two coat of semi gloss.
If you want to build it, make sure to look at the image notes. They tell which boards are which, and they also give the length of the screws.
General dimensions: 48" long, 27 1/2" wide, 22" tall
- top boards a. - 4 boards = 48"x 3 1/2" (picture 19)
- top boards b. - 4 boards = 48"x 3 1/8" (picture 19)
- legs - 4 2x4s = 21"x 2 7/8" (picture 7)
- support boards a. - 2 boards = 40"x 3 1/2" with a 45 degree angle cut at both ends (picture 9).
- support boards b. - 2 boards = 20"x 3 1/2" with a 45 degree angle cut at both ends (picture 10).
- middle support board - 1 board = 22 3/16" x no more than 3 1/2" (pictures 14&15).
- corner blocks - 4 2x4s = 5 7/8"x 3 1/2" with a 45 degree angle cut at both ends (pictures 16, 17, 18).
- the overhang lengthwise (at each end) = 1 3/4"
- the overhang widthwise (on the sides) = 1 7/8"
Step 10: Cat Stuff
The Cat House.
Our old cat house was too big, too heavy, and too ugly. So with some of the scrap pieces of pallet wood I decided to build a new one. I designed it to fit in one of the corners in our house so it would take up as little space as possible. I put a coat of camo-green paint to cover up some of defects in the wood.
General dimensions: 35" wide, 24 1/2" deep, 36 3/4" tall
Pretty self explanatory. Just a bed for our cats. I went old-fashion on this project using nails instead of screws. I left the wood natural as well.
General dimensions: 20" long, 13 1/2" wide, 4 1/4" tall
Step 11: The End
Goodbye for now and thanks for looking at my guide. Make sure to check back now and then to see if there's something new because I will continue to add to this guide.