We need a cabinet to hold a mixer and a few other miscellaneous cooking items. We wanted two shelves and a border on the top so nothing would fall off the back or sides.
Step 1: Preparing Wood
firstly it is a good idea to clean and dry pallets, I have shown how this is done in my other instructable.
Cutting 4x supports to make the frame. This was done with a jigsaw (not recommended). Remember safety first!
This should include:
- Shoes (a case of don't do, as I do).
Step 2: Making Solid Frame
Adding in multiple supports will give your project strength and stability.
Step 3: Planing Wood
Make sure if you do decide to plane the wood, make sure the plane is very sharp. pallets are made from hardwoods and this does look very nice once it is planed.
To hone your plane you will need a set of diamond sharpeners (approx. $13 Aus) and a wet or oil stone. The one I have is an oil stone. Steps of how to sharpen planes/ knife/ chisels are all over you tube, the principles are all the same. start on the diamond sharpening stones starting from course moving on to very fine. Then progress on to the sharpening stones course to fine.
Planing will true edges and allow for boards
to sit flush together. One technique I watched from YouTube suggested planing the two edges at the same time to get an identical fit. I found this did not work and in fact made them worst not better.
Step 4: Assembly
We used self drilling phillips heads screws, these are meant to not split the wood but they did. I recommend are drilling holes and counter sinking then for a flush finish.
It is also recommend using some heavy duty wood glue in the pilot holes you have just drilled as this will:
-add to the strength of the project.
-reduce risk of screw pull outs.
Step 5: Adding Shelves
For the bottom shelf we used an internal support to screw the shelves onto. We also used wood glue to make it a bit stronger.
For the top shelf we did the same, only we made it a smaller support to hide it a bit.
Step 6: Planning
We wanted the top at least to be planed. the lid of the project had to be smooth and level. This requires a sharp plane bevel. This makes life easier if you learn how to do this correctly.
Having hidden nails in your boards or screws that have come through will take nicks out of your plane and give you a terrible cut e.g photo 1. Make sure to sort them out before beginning.
Step 7: Wood Putty and Sanding
Before beginning the massive job of sanding you may want to with hide you screws or have a completely flush look. This is achieved by using wood putty.
Sanding is the most tedious job of any wood work job. So we bought an electric 1/3 RYOBI, with dust collection filter. It works well and the sanding pads are velcro which I find last longer than the clamp down variety. The good thing with our RYOBI is it has both of these attachments.
We used a combination of 40 grit sandpaper for course removal of wood and 240 grit for a smoother finish.
Always remember to sand with the grain.
Step 8: Full Assemble Using Kreg Jig Screws
We stained the cabinet and unfortunately turned out a horrid yellow colour. If we could have been bothered we would have changed it to a light brown, but unfortunately after making this cabinet we moved house and this was left with friends.
About the cabinet, it is the strongest and heaviest piece of "furniture" I have ever seen. It has so much pallet wood that I had difficulty lifting it on my own, I would have felt quite safe standing on top of it with no fear of it crushing. It was a great build though, learnt many lessons and purchased many new tools in order to build.
Things I would do next time:
- Purchase a thickness planer, so that all the boards are same instead of the "rustic look".
- Purchase a drop saw.
Step 9: The Cabinet in Action
This project took a few months to complete mainly finding the time and researching as I went a long. I was thoroughly enjoying the build as it kept me occupied and learning all the way.
Next time I would want to do a wood finishing course.
Any questions or comments let me know. Be gentle, I know it looks rough but was first of its kind.
P.S For video of the cabinet in action see my you tube channel at