Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I made a pallet chair and a fence deck

Myself and a few friends have been getting interested in pallet furniture lately and I've been wanting to try my hand at it.

 Pallet chair, surfboard table, and my snazzy new deck.

I figured I need something better than just a pallet out of my back door, so I was thinking of making a deck with pallet slats for decking. Then I realized that I had a whole panel and a half of privacy fence leftover from working around the house as well as some 4x4s scrounged up from work, so I made myself a quick and dirty back deck by levelling up four 4x4s and laying the fence panel over it. Saved a lot of time and effort vs breaking down several pallets for decking and it's pretty much the same wood only it's pressure treated too.

As one project begets another though, As soon as I was done with the deck, I realized I don't have any good outdoor chairs for it, so I went to and used Matt Wandel's lawn chair plan with some minor modifications to use pallet wood for it's construction. Unfortunately when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, and when all you have (at the house) is a reciprocating saw (harbor freight Sawzall) every board looks like a ragged mess when you cut it. Oh well, it was pallet wood before anyway. After adapting the plans and converting everything to inches (don't have a metric tape measure, keep meaning to get one) I got to work. A couple hours, a few broken boards, and some minor wood shaping with an axe and here's the result:

Next I took it up to JaxHax and sanded and stained it. Now I just need one or two more to set on the deck and wait for the heat to subside. In the meantime here's my suggestions for breaking down pallets:
It can also be a hat.

* Newer looking pallets are easier to break down, and generally split less.
* Lots of knots in the wood usually mean the wood's very weak and easy to break, or at least very dense and hard to pull nails from.
* You can break down pallets for either denailed runners or slats and runners with nails in them, not both.
*If you're wanting nail-free runners, pull up the slats with a crowbar. Chances are they'll break but occasionally you'll get lucky, then pull any nails that are stuck in the runners.
* Use a sawzall or similar tool to cut the nails off between the slats and runner beams. That's how professional pallet builders do it, and with good reason, you get the most lumber out of the pallet with the least chance of splitting the wood. Use a blade rated for steel and wood.
* Pallets are like thumbs, they don't like being hit with hammers and it hurts them when you do.
* Use a scrap block of wood to spread the blow if you're trying to knock slats off the pallet

* Learn to identify the kind of wood in your pallet. If the pallet weighs a ton and the sawing hasn't left a lot of furry looking wood sticking up it's probably hardwood like oak. If so this pallet's gonna be hell to pull nails out of, best to use a sawzall.
* Use a nail or punch to knock cutoff nails out of their holes in the slats, learn to live with the nail shanks stuck in the runners.

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