Saturday, 26 July 2014

How to build a coffee table out of pallets

Alan read this post on The Wonder Forest and decided to make the same style of coffee table for our flat, to replace our $15 coffee table. The above is the result of two weekends of hard work and we think it's pretty great.

Alan did most of the work, but I helped by inspecting, carrying, shopping and varnishing.

This project can be completed by people with minimal wood work experience
Alan's only wood work experience was his year 9 pencil case project. My only wood work experience was....nothing. I did make a tooth brush holder out of plastic in year 8 though.

Here's our experience of making the pallet coffee table as mentioned on The Wonder Forest

Gathering pallets
There are a lot of pallets out there when you actually look for them.

You will need to find non-coloured pallets in good condition. Instead of just taking them from the back of a shop, it's probably best to ask first. Alan asked a building supply shop if he could help himself to some pallets and they were more than happy to give them away. Free-ness!

The following tools were purchased: crow bars, drill, screws, sander, sand paper for the sander, timber stain in maple, varnish, paint brushes, gloves, ear muffs, dust mask, safety glasses/goggles, gloves.

You will also need a tape measure or ruler.

Ensure you work safely with the wood and tools. Wear gloves, eye and ear protection and a dust mask (for sanding). Wear old clothes because they will become dirty and smelly.

Step 1 - Dismantle the pallets
Alan spent a whole day dismantling pallets. He figured if our neighbour can play Bon Jovi up loud over and over, then he can smash up pallets all day.

The_hard thing about taking the top slats of the 'frame' was the fact that the nails had screw bits on them and they were pushed into the wood really well. A crow bar and mallet was used to get the bits apart.

Therefore, if you undertake a project like this, your dismantling experience may differ depending on how your pallet was put together.

My_dad (an avid pallet wood work man) uses pallets from his work which aren't screwed together too tightly. This mean he can pull them apart by cutting the screws using a thin saw.

Step 2 - Sand the pallets
The wood was then sanded three times. This was VERY messy and there was dust everywhere.

The below was the set up. The work bench was the outdoor table and to make it higher, pallets were stacked on it. Bricks were used to hold the wood in place for sanding.

Step 3 - Stain the wood
The wood was stained using a water based timber stain in 'maple' colour. As the wood was untreated, the stain soaked in quite fast. According to our internet research, stain can turn out darker than expected when using untreated wood.

Step 4 - Cut the legs and assemble the table
I wasn't home when this was done, so I don't have too much to say..... Read up on this step on The Wonder Forest. Basically, you just want to make two identical halves which you will place together to make the table. In order to attach the two halves together, metal strips/brackets with holes in them (for screws) were used.

Step 5 - Varnish
We took a short cut here. The instructions on the varnish can said to mix some other stuff into it blah blah...too hard. We simply stirred the varnish for 5 minutes, painted it onto the table and then let it dry for 24 hours. This process was repeated three times.

The table then looked like this:

Step 6 - Use the coffee table!

Place the coffee table inside and be amazed at how big it is and how many cups of tea you can fit on it! Be amazed at the storage space, in which you can store you chess and 3D connect four sets!

1 comment:

  1. So, every man and his dog can have one.
    I'll have to get some P.P.E. to start making mine.
    Congrates on a great job, I notice no wheels, was that to stop it moving so much?