In this category I will share my pallet wood creations. I have only recently got into this recycling wooden pallets and creating something useful out of something that would otherwise be destined to be burnt! I have no formal woodworking skills and rely largely on my imagination and the wonderful University that is Youtube.
We have been working on some palletwood block tealight holders and have regularly shared pictures of the progress on Instagram.
Well now now we can share some completed examples. They started out as pallet blocks. Nails that couldn’t be removed were hammered deeper below the surface.
I cleaned up the end grain on the table saw and then gave them an all over light sanding. The holes for the tealight were cut and the edges were given a round over. Next, my favourite part, all were burnt using the Shou Sugi Ban technique. Then it was over to colour master Shalini for colouring. Finally they were finished with Tung Oil.
These examples and more are available in our online shop and also at our stockists in Stamford and Spalding.
A friend recently asked me if I could make an Auricula Theatre for her Mum’s birthday, I said “sure, if I knew what it was”. Turns out it’s like a bookshelf for the garden that houses a plant named the Primula Auricula instead of books! It is painted black on the inside to really showcase the colour of the Primulas when they are in bloom.
So now we know what we are talking about let’s have a look at how it came together and the late addition to the roof. Yes this, I would guess is the only Auricula Theatre complete with semi detached Blue Tit nesting boxes.
Once we had the approximate dimensions I was able to start things moving, first job was to make the back panel. This consisted of a number of pallet planks set side by side with three more planks set at right angles. One at the top, one in the middle and the other at the bottom, the reason for these was to add strength at the area were it would be fixed to the wall. So with the planks laid out and three cross members in place everything was glued and then screwed together.
The sides are made of two planks on each side, screwed into the back panel along the longest edge on each side. Then 6 pieces of thicker pallet wood was secured to the back as supports for the three shelves, these were cut to a length almost equivalent to the width of two planks laid side by side. These thicker pieces also served as strengtheners for the side panels to be screwed into as well.
Next it was time to cut and fit the shelves, these were made of pallet planks again, two planks per shelf. Once fitted these shelves really “stiffened” the whole structure up nicely, at last it was starting to look like something!
It was around this point in the build that I realised that the planks I had used for the sides of the Auricula Theatre were bowed at one end, fortunately this was at the the top were the roof would fit. Take a close look at the picture above where the clamps are and you can clearly see just how bowed the wood is. I thought of many different ways to try and get rid of this “bowing”, looking back all very complex and unnecessary! In the end I decided to make the roof “removable” and to a width that was just enough to bring that bowing true when the roof was fitted. And because the rood is a tight fit over the tops of the sides it holds the roof securely in place. If you look at picture below of the roof structure, you will notice a piece of wood at each side on the bottom of the roof these will butt up up against the sides. It is these that pull the bowing of the sides true and because its a tight fit the roof isn’t going anywhere.
Adding Semi Detached Blue Tit Nesting Boxes
When the roof was being built I saw the potential for making two nesting boxes, one either side of the apex support. In fact we referred to these as “Semi Detached Blue Tit Nesting Boxes”. So I explained this to my friends Mum and she loved the idea . So a quick visit to the RSPB web site to find out what diameter the holes should be for Blue Tits. The two holes were drilled and I used a short length of dowel, one beneath each hole to server as a perch.
The paint was provided so three coats were applied and the back of the structure had a three coats of wood preservative that I had. The colour on the back didn’t matter because it wouldn’t be seen! Then the final job was to fit some felt onto the roof to make it water tight as one day their could be a couple of Blue Tit families in residence.
A few days after completing the Auricula Theatre we took it to it’s new home and mounted it on the wall. I am really pleased with how it turned out, but not nearly as pleased as the new owner was with her new addition to her garden.
One of the big requirements in building this Auricula Theatre was that as much of the material used should be upcycled. I am pleased to say that all of the wood used came from upcycled pallets apart from the two small bits of dowel for the two perches.
We took too many pictures during the build to be included in this post so we have created an image gallery here: Auricula Theatre Gallery
This pallet wood under bench storage cupboard was built back in April of this year to go under one of Shalini’s workbenches. The criteria was that it should be on castors so it could easily be moved about, fit comfortably under her workbench and have two doors.
I had never tackled anything this ambitious before so it was a learning project, a sort of leap into the dark and see what transpires. Like most things I do, there is no set plan or set dimensions, stuff sort of just evolves from an idea in my mind as was the case with this piece.
The first job was to select the planks from the de-nailed pallet wood I had to hand, fortunately I had a decent selection of similar sizes. Once these were collected together they needed to be sanded, in my case this was with a belt sander and a dust mask. This was a long and messy task but work doing looking at the finished result.
Initial thoughts were to make the base first and then let the whole thing sort of grow from the ground up so to speak. So that’s what I did, cut two long and 3 shorter pieces to make the base, then go those all screwed together. Then cut and fitted the planks for the floor of the cabinet, the back, sides and top followed quite quickly after that. Making alterations and allowances as I went along so everything fitted reasonably snugly together.
Doors for the under bench storage cupboard
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for me was the making and fitting of the doors, this provoked much head scratching for me as I hadn’t done anything like this before! I had the dimensions of the hole that had to fit into so I built a frame and then offered it up to the cabinet to ensure it would fill that whole reasonably well, fortunately it did.
The next job was to cut pieces of pallet wood to fit into the frame, these would go between the longer pieces and be glued in vertically. So after having done this I was now left with one big panel that would fit the hole at the front of the cabinet.
At this point I formulated my devious plan of how to end with two reasonably fitting doors that didn’t have a huge gap between them when closed! This involved first fitting the hinges to the big panel I had and then fitting that panel to the cabinet. Yes I know the doors won’t open at this point but I did it like this so I could make off were I wanted to cut the panel in half vertically thus giving me two good fitting doors and this is what I did and I think it worked pretty well.
Next job was to turn the cabinet upside down and fit the castors, one on each corner. The cabinet has now been in use for a while and serves the purpose it was made for pretty well.
The cost to build this under bench storage cupboard on castors wasn’t very much at all, in fact the only direct cost was 4 castors and two hinges, maybe 5 pounds tops. It was a challenging project to do to but I learnt a lot in the process and enjoyed it a lot.
A need arose for new workbench lighting surrounds for Shalini’s work area!
Over Christmas 2018 we completely rebuilt Shalini’s work area for her Copper Smith work. This comprised new benches and a big rearrangement of her layout of tools and equipment etc.
On completion of all of this Shalini realised that the current lighting set up just wasn’t up to the mark anymore so a solution had to be found.
Simple Workbench Lighting Surrounds using Pallet Wood
This project is a mix of old and new, in that all the wood used is pallet wood and therefore upcycled, the electrical bits are all new as are the wall brackets and wire.
So initially it was a matter of working out were the new lighting should go and how big it should be. then we found a couple of light fittings that were adjustable and would work with GU10 LED bulbs.
This gave me something to work with as I now had dimensions, so building the lighting surrounds could commence.
Sadly I never took pictures during the build of these but they are relatively simple, each of these pallet wood light surrounds comprises of the following components:
3 x long pallet wood planks, cut to length to suit your light fittings
3 x short pieces cut from one plank, length of each to equal width of two long planks side by side
2 x wall brackets and screws
Light fitting and bulbs
Wire and switch
First job was to cut the 3 long planks to length and then sand them down. I didn’t sand them two much as we wanted to preserve the rustic feel of the wood. We also chose not to finish the wood at all and left it bare so it would age naturally.
Next I laid two planks side by side and then took the overall width measurement, this gave me the size of the 3 smaller pieces. These were then cut and fixed across the two longer pieces at 90 degrees. One at each end and one in the middle. This is shown in the picture to the right has been taken from above.
At this point I laid the two long planks on their back and positioned the light fitting and determined were the hole for the cable would have to be drilled. After this the fitting was wired up and an inline switch incorporated so it would be in easy reach when sitting at the workbench. Of course it was also important that the light was covering the right areas of Shalini’s benches. Quick point, if you don’t know how to do the electrics maybe get a competent person to do it.
With the wiring completed and checked the light fitting was attached to the planks. Then the third long piece of wood was attached to the front of the lighting surround. Then the two wall brackets were fitted, one at each end.
To complete the job the workbench lighting surrounds were fixed to the walls in the right places and bulbs fitted, then it was time for the grand switch on!
We both think they look good and are very functional giving a good spread of light in the right places.
So in conclusion these two workbench lighting surrounds made from upcycled pallet wood were easy to build. The costs involved came from the actual light fitting, bulbs, wire and switches. But we are sure they still came in at lot less than ready made items, if in fact we could have found anything like these!
Making quick and easy Log Stores from Shipping Pallets was I think my first ever project using pallets. I needed an affordable way of storing my logs that would be easy to build. The Log Stores would also have to provide maximum air flow around the logs while they dry out or season and also be protected from the weather.
At that time I was able to cut and split my own firewood as a friendly tree surgeon used to let me have as much softwood as I wanted. I reckon I did around 8 tons a year to keep us heated throughout winter and not using gas central heating at all.
For this job pallets were just perfect, they came ready made with plenty of ventilation built an could easily be put to together with the minimum of fuss.
I figured out that 5 pallets could be used to make a “cube”, base, two sides, rear wall and roof. So now it was a matter of finding 5 pallets, preferably all of the same size. I got lucky and found a local agricultural machinery business who gave me as many pallets as I needed.
Build Your Log Store On Blocks
So without further ado, I sited my base pallet on blocks to raise it off the ground, this prevents damp creeping up into your logs and also encourages good air flow. Next the side walls and rear wall were fitted into place and screwed to the base and then each other at the points that they touched together. Then I put a couple of wooden blocks on the top of the rear wall, so when the roof pallet went on it had a slope for the rain water to run off. The front is left open top allow for easy loading and unloading of the logs and it also allows good air flow.
Next I found some old board to fix over the roof to fill in the gaps, then nailed a sheets of roofing felt over the top for a watertight roof.
Then I gave it a few coats of wood preservative, these logs stores were built around 5 years ago and do you know what, they are still standing!
We even built a huge version in the back of garage to hold the ready to use seasoned logs!
Sadly because a of a lower back issue I no longer split the logs myself, but these pallet creations are still used to store bought in logs and other stuff now. I will make some doors for them this summer to keep the contents dry.
Tools Used When Building The Pallet Log Stores
The Cordless drill or battery operated drill is really a tool that no one should be without. Not only is it a drill it can also double up as a very efficient screwdriver as well. The cordless drill to your left is a good example of how manufacturers are offering them as kits, containing both drill bits and screwdriver bits. To see the full range of Cordless drill on Amazon please go here: Cordless Drills available on Amazon
Perhaps the most useful tool you can own, the humble claw hammer is great for both hammering nails in, but can also pull nails out as well! In fact you would use this a lot when dismantling pallets. On the Log Stores it is used to drive in the tacks that secure the roofing felt. The claw hammer shown to your right is manufactured by Stanley and should last you many years. There are many claw hammers available so if you want to have a look go here: Claw Hammers available on Amazon
So there you have a it, a quick look at how to build your own Log Stores out of Shipping Pallets.