Saturday, October 5, 2013

Project #3 Pallet Project

"My first Pallet Project" 

While surfing around on Pinterest the past month, I kept coming across what were called "pallet projects" or basically projects that people were making from wood taken from old pallets.  They seemed fun enough and easy enough to I 'tried' it out.

Choosing the Project

For my project, I decided to start with something easy.  It would have been awesome to build a sweet hide out, but seeing that I live in the apartments of P-town, there would be no where for me to put it.  I also thought about making a large grow box, but again- P-town problems.  Instead I went with a simple wooden box that I decided to make for our kitchen table that could have growing plants and fruits.  The idea came while reminiscing on my childhood home in St. George.  My mom aways had fresh mums in the center of the dinner table.  I loved the vibrant colors that changed week to week and the fragrance of the flowers and fresh feel each time I came home.  I figured imitating this same feel would be a great idea for my apartment filled with 3 young men.

Step One Breaking Down the Pallet

I had no idea going into this project that breaking down a pallet would be so difficult.  I found two big pallets (they each weighed about 80 pounds total) on the side of the road and carried them home.  Using a hammer, I literally beat the nails out of the wood because they had been nailed so deeply into the wood.  I had to sacrifice a few long boards, but I found that taking a screw driver and using it to push the nails back through the wood and then pulling them out with a hammer was most effective.

There is also another type of pallet, not as durable as the heavy pallets that I used, but definitely easier to take apart.  Using the same screw driver, I wedged it down the end of the long boards, just to the side s of the nails between the board and the risers (the 2x4ish boards that made the gap in-between the longer boards) to pull out the nails.  This was SO much faster and I had plenty of boards in no time.

Step Two Sanding the Boards

I used the same power sander that I used for my picture frame (Black and Decker baby!) and 60 grained paper.  I would recommend having ear phones in while sanding so you don't go deaf too.  I sanded one side of the board, the side that others would be seeing and feeling, really well so that it took out the stress marks and unwanted paint marks.  I also found that sanding the top and bottom of the boards was helpful to avoid slivers.

Step Three Measure Twice- Cut Once

For those who actually do read this blog, most likely my mom and professor, you most likely live in a large home with a gigantic dining table.  In my small apartment, our humble table is about big enough to fit one person with a small bowl of cereal.  Because of the size of our table, my box that I made wasn't intended to be anything big or spectacular.  I wanted it to be big enough for its function, but small enough to look good.  The length was 2 feet and and I could to do the width the same as one of the normal boards.  Super fancy right?

Step Four Nails

The wood used for pallets is pretty thin which means nails can possibly split the wood if you aren't careful.  This can be prevented if you nail the board while it is lying on flat cement and then, once the nail has almost penetrated through the first piece of wood, place it on the other piece of wood and then finish penetrating.  I  used a total of 8 nails; 4 for the bottom and 2 for each side.

Step Five Stain

Putting finish on your project is completely up to you.  I made a total of four boxes so that I could experiment with all the stains and without stains.  The stain can give it a beautiful look which you may want.  I would recommend going to the Home Depot (please bless I can register for my wedding there...please bless) and find a stain that matches your cupboards and other wood work in your home.  However, I discovered that I loved the natural look and smell of the sanded wood, wiped with a damp rag, for the finished look.

What I wish I would have known 

I found it helpful to listen to classical music while completing this project.  My patience at different various times quickly ran out, especially while trying to take out the boards from the pallets.  There is something about classical music, Bach, Vivaldi, Chopan and Debussy that helps calm my nerves.  It was also helpful to use smaller nails (3/5) that were skinnier to help avoid cracking the wood.  Comment if you have any tips or things you found helpful or if you want to know when I'm getting married!


  1. Love this -- It turned out gorgeous!! I will be in Provo in November if you would like to sell me one of these! :)

    And I would love to hear about the wedding plans!

    1. Heidi! I have to say how happy I was to see a comment on my blog!!! Don't really get anything like that :) I will gladly make you one if you would like, free of charge of course. When are you going to be coming?

  2. Totally love this bro. Looks so neat!