The following will guide you through the process of creating your very own companion cube container. Combining two great things, pallets and video game culture, I have brought into this world an up-cycled cube. Depending on the scale that it is made into, it can serve many purposes. From office trash can to garden hose storage and even an outdoor planter. Of course this is only the tip of what you can use your companion cube container for.
This is more of a guide due to many of the steps are not exactly set in stone and can be adjusted to how you want your cube to come out.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- wood glue (if this will be outdoors, best to use an outdoor glue like Titebond II)
- small nails (optional: brads for nailer)
- spray adhesive or double stick tape
- table saw
- miter saw
- sandpaper (optional: 1" belt sander)
- hammer (optional: nailer)
- thickness planer (optional)
*Some cuts can be made by other means (jigsaw instead of miter saw or band saw, etc.). Do what you are comfortable with and with what you have.
Sketchup model and heart template PDF below.
Step 2: Acquire Pallet
The pallet is the big variable. The size, color, and thickness of each boards are completely up to you. This instructable will be an account for my choices. I can tell you one thing about picking out a pallet from what I have learned; the newer and lighter the color, generally the easier it is to dismantle. This does not always lead to the most interesting grain patterns and coloration.
My cube was made of one pallet consisting of 1" thick boards (the three thicker stretchers were not used), except for the circle with hearts. This was made from a darker colored pallet wood.
I will not cover the specifics in dismantling a pallet. There are many great instructables on various methods that can be used.
Step 3: Preparing Pallet Wood
I wanted a sooth, clean, yet not quite perfect look to my box. For this, I decided to plane my boards down to 3/4" thickness for the box construction and the 24 corner pieces on the outside.
**BE SURE ALL NAILS AND METAL ARE REMOVED FROM BOARD BEFORE RUNNING THROUGH PLANER OR CUTTING**
One board was planed down to 3/8" thickness for the center edge pieces, since these appear to be thinner on the game stills. The pieces for the heart cutouts were also planed to 3/8" thickness, but used boards from a pallet that were 5" wide. This allowed me to cut the hearts out without having to glue multiple pieces together.
Step 4: Construct the Box
After planing the boards down to 3/4", it is time to cut them down to size for the 5 panels (sides and bottom) that make the core structure of the box.
The edges of one board were then cut on the table saw down to 3". It was then cut into 3 pieces about 9" in length on the miter saw. The edges are glued and clamped into a panel. Once dried, the board is then cut to it's final size of 8 1/2" x 8 1/2". This will be the bottom panel.
The other boards are then treated the same, but instead cut down to 2 1/2" in width. These are then cut into about 9 1/2" length pieces. 16 of these will be needed altogether. 4 boards are glued together along the long edges, thus making 4 more panels that are 9 1/2" x 10". These are later cut into their final shape of 9 1/4" x 10" once the glue dries. This ensures all edges are straight and square. These 4 panels make the sides of the box.
Laying the bottom panel down, place a side panel against the side with the 10" length running top to bottom. One edge of the side panel should be flush with the side of the bottom panel, allowing 3/4" of the side panel to stick out past the bottom panel on the other side (see photo). Glue mating edge and nail into place.
The next side panel should be inset into the space created by the first panel sticking out and more glue applied to any touching surfaces and then nailed. The last two panels should follow the same procedure.
You should be left with a 10" x 10" x 10" box with an opening on top.
Step 5: Corner Blocks
Using two of the 3/4" thick boards, cut down to 3 1/2" width. One edge is to be cut with a 45 degree bevel. Then using the miter sled or a miter saw with the bevel adjusted to 45 degrees, cut 3 1/2" long pieces.
Due to the nature of the pallet boards, there will be cracks and knots that will sometimes cause the pieces to break. Do not worry, this is an easy fix. Apply wood glue to the broken piece and hold in place with masking tape. The masking tape will help to hold onto irregular shapes where clamps would not be ideal.
Step 6: Corner Blocks Continued...
With the corner block pieces placed on a work surface, make sure the side that shows a single bevel is facing up and to the right. Mark the bottom edge with an X. This is the edge that will be cut next with another bevel.
On the miter sled, line up the edge of the piece with the kerf in the miter sled with the X. Be sure to use a scrap piece of wood to hold the piece in place to keep your fingers away from the blade since these are small pieces.
At this stage, all 24 pieces should look like 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares with 2 bevels on opposite faces that meet at opposite corners.
Step 7: Corner Blocks and Center Blocks
With the corner block beveled on all sides, it is time to add an arc. On the two edges on the top face that meet the bevel faces, draw marks at the middle point (see photo). The marks should be 1 3/8" from the outside edges.
Using a round object that has approximately a 4" radius, connect the marks to create an arc. The corner will be cut off beyond this arc.
Tilting the band saw table to 45 degrees, carefully cut the corner off, staying just next to the line. For me, it was difficult to create a perfect arc, but I knew I would be cleaning it up by sanding, so it wasn't a big deal.
On a 1" benchtop belt sander, the table also was tilted 45 degrees and the vertical plate behind the belt was removed to make the belt give more when sanding. I turned the corner pieces upside down and gently moved the piece back and forth to even out the arc.
Repeat for all remaining 23 pieces.
Unfortunately I do not have process photos of the center pieces, but the method is relatively the same. A 3/8" thick board was used and cut down to 1 1/4" wide pieces with a 45 degree bevel along one edge. These are then cut into 24 pieces, each 3" long with square sides.
The same round object is then used to draw an arc from corner to corner on the edge opposite the bevel, but the same face as the bevel (hopefully that makes sense). Since this pieces is too small for me to comfortably cut on the bandsaw with it tilted and there is not much material being removed, I found it easiest to just sand away the material on the belt sander. With the table still tilted on the sander, place the piece flat on the table with the drawn arc side up. Slowly sand away the material until you get back to the line. Sand the tips off each of the pointed corners that are left behind after making the arc. Photos that show the finished center piece are shown on step 9.
Step 8: Circle Hearts
Using the template provided (coming soon), print at 100%. Cut most of the paper off around the circle. Using spray adhesive, lay out template on a 3/8" thick board. Start by cutting out the circle, staying just outside the line. The inside is cut out by cutting along the grain into the middle of the heart. Remove as much material in the middle while staying away from the line that makes up the inner heart. This makes cutting the heart easier and more accurate. Make many relief cuts to the line (see photo) in order to make cutting the tight curves easier and not bind up the blade.
Once this is done, take it over to the belt sander and clean up the circle and interior of the heart. Sand down to the line to make nice smooth curves. Once smooth, use this as a template and trace 3 more on the board. Follow same steps to complete the other three hearts.
Lastly, add glue to the seam that was made to cut the interior of the heart and then clamp shut. This will make the cut nearly invisible.
Step 9: Assembly
Now the fun part where you get to see all the hard work come together and construct your cube.
Start with the corner blocks and glue the backs of them before placing in corners. Be sure to line up the inside of the mitered edges with the edges of the box (see photo). Add a couple od brad nails to hold in place while the glue dries. Continue around the box while gluing the blocks to the box and each other. Add brads to the corners to attach two together.
Next, glue and nail the center blocks between the center blocks along each edge. The inside edge of the miter should be aligned with the edge of the box.
Finally add the circle heart to the center of all 4 sides, doing as best you can to visually center it and have the heart in the proper orientation.
I added Danish oil to the finalized piece to protect it from every day use and to bring out the grain a bit. If using outdoors, you can use an outdoor polyurethane or deck finish to protect it from the weather. If using as a planter or most anything out doors, it is best to add a few drainage holes to the bottom. Four 1/4" holes drilled near each corner should do the trick.
Now you are the proud owner of a companion cube container!
If you enjoyed this instructable, be sure to vote for me in the pallet or glue contests! Thanks