I have seen a lot of great pallet ideas on here. So, I decided to make an end table, with a secret storage compartment. This instructable can be made as just an end table, or you can finish it out with the hidden shelf. I made this to put beside the bed and have my personal items close, but hidden as well. It can also be used outside to place drinks or food on. Put lighters, matches etc. in the hidden shelf. Replace the light clip with a bottle opener.
I began by using one of the pallets that I had obtained. There are several instructables for how to take one apart. Just realize, it will take a little work. Depending on how well you get it apart, determines the size of your table.
hinges (hidden shelf)
thin wood sheet (hidden shelf)
Step 1: Determine Your Size
Once you have taken the pallet apart, you can determine the size that you will be able to make. With the general size in mind, begin making your cuts. Cut the runner boards to the height you want. I then cut the top boards to the length I needed, for a top and bottom shelf. I then cut cross pieces to fix the legs together. Note, that if you are going to make a hidden shelf, notch one of the top boards to allow more space. If not, cut them all the same. Attach the support boards to the legs with screws. Since pallet wood is usually cured out pretty well, predrill the holes to help prevent splitting.
Once the legs are put together, begin placing the boards on the top and bottom. I put two screws in each board, on each end. If you are going to just make a table, you can skip the next step. If you want the hidden shelf, continue on.
Step 2: Prepare for the Hidden Shelf
Cut four boards for your table band. I cut the front and back boards to extend past the end to cover the side boards, and the hidden door. Measure down to the bottom of the band board and mark it on all four legs. Then make a dado cut from the line up. Make the cut a little wider than the thickness of the board that will be used for the hidden shelf. If you know you will be making the hidden shelf, it's easier to make these cuts before you put the legs together. I have the saw that made it easy.
Once the groove is cut, cut the shelf so that is wider than the side opening, but only by about an inch. This way, it stays hidden from the front view. I also put a little wood glue in the groove to hold the shelf in place.
Now that the hidden shelf is in place, begin attaching the bands with screws. I put the front and back pieces in place first, then the far side piece.
Step 3: Hidden Door
When trying to decide how to attach the hidden door, I experimented with different ways. I first tried to hold it in place with magnets, but couldn't get the right hold that I wanted. So, I went to a proven method using hinges. I marked, predrilled and attached the hinges to the door first. Then, I attached the door to the table. Since I am going to use the table next to the bed, I also attached a spring clip to hold a flashlight. Should the power go out, and I need to investigate, I have light on hand as well. Now, I place the hidden door next the bed and I have my personal items close at hand, and out of sight. If you want to use this outside, you can place other personal items or tools in the hidden shelf, i.e. lighters, matches, etc. You could replace the light clip with a bottle opener. The ideas are endless.