Introduction: The First Honest DIY Pallet Project on the Internet
Welcome to the first honest pallet project on the internet.
Here’s how you can make sure your DIY pallet project doesn’t end up looking like a monkey with a saw and nail gun made it.
I know better than to get between a pinner and the inspiration found on Pinterest for the many uses of pallets to makeover your home and garden. For all their merits, the pallet projects have a charming rustic look, are eco-friendly by being reclaimed, and can be easy to build… sometimes. But like any DIY project, you need to know a few things about the material before you get started. We aren’t holding anything back as we are sharing what may be ‘the first honest pallet project on the Internet.’
Step 1: Our Goals:
1) Design a pallet project that makes sense for our real life.
2) Build the project with tools that make the project DIY friendly. You might want to watch the video before diving into the details below, as most of us DIYers like to skip directions and just see how it’s put together in the real world.
Step 2: Pallet Problems.
I am also not making this up: As a carpenter I was disturbed by how many times I had to say, “It doesn’t matter, it’s a pallet” every time something didn’t line up—which was every time! So, after I forced myself to un-learn good carpentry, I was able to continue.
But therein, I suppose, is the beauty. Who cares if it’s a little off. It’s supposed to be! Still, pallets are far from Lego-tastic blocks of DIY stack-N-pack done-ness. The challenges are many, after the project makes the hyperspace leap from your computer screen into your driveway. This all stems from this simple, incredibly boring fact: Pallets are made for industry, not your patio. Trucking, chemical, manufacturing, international trade. And even though your sod might have come on it, before that pallet could have been underneath a load of used restaurant grease or who-knows-what. In addition to that…
13 pallet challenges for DIYers
- Pallets can be hard to find.
- Pallets are heavy.
- Every pallet is a different size than every other one so that perfect looking chair or bunk bed you saw on Pinterest probably took some finagling they didn’t tell you about.
- Pallets are usually made from hard or medium-density wood like red oak or poplar which makes fastening into them a screw-stripping, pilot-hole-drilling, broken bit fury-fest just begging to let the smoke out of your cordless drill.
- Or, they’re slammed together with deck boards and plywood scraps that looks a monkey with a saw and nail gun made it.
- Pallets are often broken. Hardly a pallet I slogged through wasn’t smashed, gouged, or damaged in some significant way. I chose the least screwed-up ones for this pallet project. And even they are riddled with sharp pieces, slivers, and a million bent-over nail heads
- Pallets are different colors.
- The slat spacing is different.If you can find pallets, they’re usually piled up. The pile I got mine from was a borderline deathtrap.
- And if one is heavy, two are heavier. Like more than 100-pounds heavy.You need extra wood to patch pallets together if you cut them, so you still have to use other wood.
- You don’t know where any pallet has really been. Chemical plant, underneath barrels of restaurant grease, paint store, factory.
- If you do find a manufacturer in your area (there probably is one), they might not sell to you. Or, they’ll only sell you fifty. In which case, you might want to become a DIY distributor.
Step 3: Make It Your Own
Once you figure out how to work with pallets, the project can be simple and fun. We ended up loving our outdoor seating!
Check out the video of how we did it :)