Thanks to Jay for sending in today’s guest post:
by Jay Bates
Jay’s Custom Creations
Reuse, reclaim, re-purpose are all high on my project inspiration list. At first it was out of necessity and now because it’s a rewarding and powerful experience. Being able to create a great final project is only half the fun. Letting your creative mind free to explore on the front end is the other half.
I have made many recycled projects over the past few years. This one in particular is a little special to me. It was made for the Mississippi Modern Homestead Center. A business founded on the ideas of re-purposing and getting back to the basics in life. I was asked to make a 4′ picnic table for their children’s activity room and shot them this idea instead; A pallet utility table with hidden storage in the middle complete with 3 benches.
In order to get usable wood out of pallets you obviously have to do a little bit of work. I find the easiest and quickest way to yield the most usable wood from pallets is with a reciprocating saw, hammer, and a nail punch. Use the reciprocating saw in between the slats and structural members to cut the nails.
After that, turn the slats over and use the hammer and nail punch to drive the nail heads out. This method will allow you to save as much slat wood as possible without the usual threat of slat breakage. The only downside to this method is that you leave the remaining part of the nail in the structural member of the pallet. For me this is OK as typically the only cut I make on these parts is cutting them to length. For that I can kind of cut I can pick where I want to cut so nails are not a problem.
The build process was pretty straight forward as far as the table and benches go but I did want to add a few personal touches. For the legs I used my old dining table legs. About 6 months prior to this build I built a new dining table and saved the old dining table legs for a future project. I figured this would be a great time to dust them off and put them to good use. I also added a simple tray in the middle for the children to store crayons, markers, or whatever else they may be using. I got the idea for the center tray by looking at pallet projects on the Internet. I find the two greatest sources for re-purpose projects are the Internet and the dumpster. The Internet doesn’t smell as bad though.
For a finish, some old paint that needed to be used up came in handy. A little bit of belt sanding on the top to remove the roughness and I was good to go. I sealed the paint with brush on polyurethane. In the end the project turned out great and was a blast to make.
It is so rewarding to see the transformation from something that would otherwise rot away in a landfill to something that will get good quality use. Although pallet projects seem to be “in style” let’s not forget that there are all sorts of other great sources for reclaimed materials. I have used old entertainment centers, sofa frames, bed frames, headboards, and a myriad of other “trash” to create some pretty nice projects. You would be pleasantly surprised at the hardwoods hiding under fabric in an old torn-up sofa. Then again you could be a “normal” consumer. Buy what you need at the moment and throw away what you get tired of. I say be creative. Reuse, recycle, and reclaim.
Don’t be “normal”. Normal is such an insult.
To see the in complete pallet table build go to: http://jayscustomcreations.com/
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