Simple Pallet Wood Crates





Introduction: Simple Pallet Wood Crates

About: I just like creating stuff. Mostly recreational woodworking and diy projects. Please consider following me. It will fuel me to create more instructables. :-)

I love pallet wood. I had a request to make a couple of pallet wood crates for my brothers kids - this is how I made them. They are going to be used to store toys. They are easy to make and also function as a small stool (on the side).

To make these I use pallet wood, miter saw, drill, bandsaw/jigsaw, sanding paper, wood glue, nails, screws and some varnish.

The first step is to select some pallet wood (and as you can see they are in different sizes/thickness). I was going for the rustic look, so this is no problem.

Oh! There is also a small movie if you rather view the steps in motion.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood Pieces

I want to keep the rustic look of the pallet wood, but I dont want any splinters or burr. So first I use the electrical hand planer, on all sides of each piece. This cleans the most wood. Then I sand the wood pieces with a 60 grit paper. On all sides. Oh - I'm making two crates. There is a lot of pieces... I dont mind. I like pallet wood.

After the planing and sanding I cut one end of each piece (to have one straight end).

Step 2: The Sides and the Corners

I layout the pallet wood on the work table. Just to select which pieces fits togehter nicely. I hade to split some to get the right heigth on all sides.

I did the splitting on the bandsaw, but you can you use a jigsaw, tablesaw or ordinary hand saw.

The last picture is the wooden strips that I will use on the inside for the corner "joints". They only have three sides, so the inside of the crate wont have any sharp corners.

Step 3: Assembly of the Crates

I use a clamp to hold the sides togheter. Then I glue the wooden (three sides) strips on each end. I use a nailgun.

I made the wood strips by squaring strips of wood on the bandsaw. Then I tilted the band saw table to 45 degrees and ran the strips trough again. You can also buy three sided wood strips.

Also - you dont really have to use a nailgun. I just use a nailgun to speed up the process. If I didnt use nails I had to wait until the glue sets. With a nailgun I can just continue with the next process promptly. A real time saver.

After one side is done, I put on the next. The glue is on the wooden strips and not the end grain.

I check with a square to see that everything is good, before I let the glue dry over night.

Step 4: The Screw Up

After the glue is set I use a countersink and drill bit to make pilot holes on each side. Then I put in wood screws all around on each side.

Step 5: The Bottom

The bottom/floor of the crates is made of plywood. I choose plywood because of strength and future movement in the wood. Also because of the lower weight.

I put my pallet crate on top of the plywood and trace a line. Then cut with a circular saw/jigsaw. Sanding the sides before gluing the bottom to the crate.

I use a persuader (...hammer) to make the bottom fit snug. Also here I put in some wood screws to make this crate more rigid.

Step 6: Some More Sanding

I just sand all the sharp corners round with a 120 grit sandpaper.

Step 7: Handle This

I made a template in masonite, so I can copy the shape of my handle on all the sides on both crates. I measure the center and trace around the template with a pen.

Then I drill a pilot hole so that the jigsaw blade can fit and cut the handles on two sides on each crate.

Step 8: Final Steps

I go over the handles with a rasp/wooden file to make the handle smooth to the touch. These crates will be visible and a part of the room decoration, so I paint them with white stained panel varnish. This makes them bright and look nice. Also they protect the wood and also protects from splinters.

TI'm really happy with the result. They are a bit wider on purpose - the wider base makes them much harder for a toddler to tip over. They are just over 45 cm wide, so they are a perfect sitting height if they are put on a side.

They are a bit heavy, but can store a lot of toys! :-)

The kids loved them (because of the size I think) and its really easy for mom and dad to put away all the toys. Another function, that I didnt think of, was that when they were flipped over (up-side-down) they had a small table that they can play on (just happy that I choose plywood for a flat surface).

Please comment or follow me here for more pallet adventures!

I entered the Design for Kids Contest with this project so, if you find this simple pallet project useful, please consider giving me a vote. Thanks! :-)



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    15 Discussions

    Nice job.

    One suggestion would be to run a housing trench around the bottom of each side before assembly so that the bottom plywood is included at the assembly stage (and ensures the box is square) You would lose your flat table top (which you could keep with a rebate rather than a trench)

    If you want feet and stacking ability (also trading your completely flat top), it would be easier to just glue in some feet in the corners

    1 reply

    Thank you for you comment and for your tip! Yes a rebate or "trench" is a good improvement. I use it sometimes in other box builds. Even if I did as you suggest in this build, I would still have a small countersink/indent as I have now too. The bottom isnt completly flat. The plywood is in contact to the supporting corner wood strips. Thank you very much again - with all the suggestions I'm eager to do some more boxes soon. ;-)

    You staggered the sides and fronts so they would be a little off and give it more strength when you secured them. I see what you did there. Good work, man. thanks for sharing. You know seeing your shop made me happy because you're productive and can create something great yet your shop looks as bad as mine!

    1 reply

    I greatly appreciate your kind words. Thank you for your comment! About the workshop. You know what they say, dont you? Its a representation of your mind. Everything is in a mess, cramped, lots of on-going or just started projects, dull tools, loose screws but mostly just a huge amount of saw dust. :-)

    I dont post many comments, but i had to tell you I really enjoyed the video music as much as the video. Great Job!

    1 reply

    Why thank you! I'm very happy that you liked it. One of the downsides working with power tools is that you cant hear any music while working. :-) I try to find good music (Guitars by Admiral Bob), and I felt it suited this project somehow. Thanks again - take care!

    Nice job on the boxes and on the Instructable. One suggestion -- if you make triangular holes on the bottom of the box in the corners and slide the corner braces down about 1/2" to 1" you can put feet on the boxes and foot-pockets at the top for secure stacking.

    2 replies

    Thank you very much! Great suggestion and good thinking! I will consider this for my next batch of boxes. Tip of the hat to you! Cheers!

    I like your crates and will be making a few as well. I like the look of old "used" crates, so I will create some "antique" logos to dress them up, by using an "ink transfer to wood" process (there are many).

    1 reply

    Thank you very much! I have never tried the ink-transfer myself, but I totally agree with you that it looks awesome. I will put that on my "must try list for future projects"! Thanks again!

    I made a similar box but joined planks and assembled parts using a pocket hole jig.If it is necessary to drill the box from the outside, you can fill the holes with dowels and then sand them flat.

    1 reply

    Good point and that would look really nice! I went back and forth on how to join these boxes (box joints would be best I guess). But this time I chose this way with visible screws - for the more garage-style/rustic look. :-) Thanks for commenting! Cheers!

    Nice. I was about to make a load of boxes for the workshop. This is the sort of design I was looking to do, but will just make them a bit smaller. I'm about to make a massive racking and wanted storage for everything :) thanks for sharing

    1 reply

    Thanks for commenting and your kind words! Please post pictures of your boxes if you make them. I would love to see how they turn out - especially if you make them from pallet wood :-). Thanks again! I see that you have many interesting projects that I will keep en eye on in the future.