Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pallets with a Purpose

I have recently had this infatuation with re-purposing pallets. Not because I have millions of them laying around my house. Honestly my parents would kill me if I had one laying around! lol. But because its just neat. Pallets are a super easy resource to come by and they are often times cheap or free; and who can beat free! I was able to swipe a few from my job, but if you can't do that, find a store near by that gets in large shipments and see if you can buy or have the unwanted pallets. Most of the time they are willing to oblige. Make sure to ask before taking any pallets, as that often companies send the used pallets back for a cash deposit, and its stealing if you don't. For this project I am making Planter Boxes for my Earth Boxes. Earth Boxes are not the most beautiful thing to see at your house. They are also unsturdy, and tend to fall over when tomato plants get tall and heavy. All in all I two boxes (which turned out pretty AWESOME!) each taking about 3hrs to make and 1 pallet that I deconstructed.

I drew up a REALLY quick plan of what I wanted the boxes to look like when I was all said and done. The dimensions were_____________
Okay, So here we go. Obviously safety is our #1 goal. So be sure to have a pair of safety goggles on. We have to make sure we are safe since we will be using saws, drills and such. Glass eyeballs are not a good thing to have!
Starting off you will need to deconstruct the pallet of your choice. This can be challenging since the nails they use makes you wonder if these are supposed to be deconstructed. They made them like they weren't supposed to be! WHAT!?! Here I have all the pieces that I will be using. With the 3 really study "legs" of the pallet, cut those into  2 - 31" legs and 2 - 16" legs. as seen in the picture on the right.

With the slats from the top and bottom of the pallet, cut them into 11.5" section. These will be used as the sides of our box.
Following the picture on the left. Place the legs in a rectangle, with the smaller of the legs on the inside and the larger legs on the outside. Next, nail them together. I used 3" wood nails. Sorry I don't have a picture of them. I threw the box away! :( Repeat this two times so as to make a top and bottom "lid" (pictures on right)

Tip to top section of your box onto its side and align the 11.5" planks up against the top. So that they are flush with the outside edge... This part is kinda like a jigsaw puzzle, because you'll need to select the boards that fit best. With mine I didn't need to do any extra cutting to make them fit. Maybe I was lucky... :-) Screw the tops of the boards in with two screws per board.
Now You will need attach the bottom part. The inside of the planks should be 6.5" long; as seen in the 1st picture. You will need to keep measuring this over and over and over again as you screw your boards in, because they will shift. continue screwing 2 screws into each board.
For a majority of the project I was using 2" Phillips Wood screws. I did find some problems with the screws stripping. I believe its because the pallets are made from hard oaks and other hard woods. So if you can find some screws that are meant for hard wood use...DO IT! I was trying to make this for free, and I had these laying around.
Now flip it over and do the exact same this to the rest of the sides of the box. I did the two longer sections first and saved the smaller sections for last. That is up to you. It was a personal preference for me.
Now for the finishing effects. Just to give it a more polished look I screwed some planks onto the top. Mine were 2 inches longer than the box to give it a small overhang....and VIOLA we are done!
So I made two of them and will make two more, since I have four earth boxes. You can see one of the earth boxes in the far one. Now I am going to paint them white to match the house. However I really like them as is. It gives them a really great rustic look, and then  you can still see that they were made from pallets! If you were to leave them as is, make sure to coat them with a wood varnish so that they stay looking fresher longer. No point in making your hard earned work rot! 
Well I hope you all enjoyed this little tutorial, Feel free to leave any questions you might have for me. I think these boxes turned out great and surprisingly didn't take long at all to make. I'll put pictures up of them once they are painted, but it is still too cold to be painting now :(


wow-warlock said...

Looks interesting, I think you did a really good job.

Green Lizard said...

Excellent planters. You should put this on instructables.

Zach said...

@ Green Lizard
Good idea! I didn't think about that, I will need to measure the exact measurements because I Don't think I wrote them on the blog.

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