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A Reciprocating Saw to help Dismantle Pallets

reciprocating saw baled

Yes I finally got myself up to date recently our local Lidl store had Reciprocating Saws in stock so I treated myself to one, specifically for dismantling pallets. The one I got was cordless and I have to admit it is very powerful and now makes cutting through the nails a breeze. In fact I almost feel like I am cheating, but joking aside this tool has made a massive difference.

a reciprocating saw helps with dismantling pallets

I described in an article a while ago how I dismantle pallets to salvage the wood, well jump forward a few months and now the pallets are stripped so fast in comparison and with a whole lot less effort.

I still use the lump hammer and cold chisel to separate the wood and create a gap big enough for the saw blade to slip into. But now instead of pulling a hack saw backwards and forwards, I just press a button and job done!

Reciprocating Saw battery consumption

I have two 20 volt lithium batteries for this saw and I find on average I can break down about 3 pallets per battery before it needs recharging. So with two fully charged batteries there is normally enough power available for a decent pallet dismantling session.

One thing I would recommend though, is to have a couple of spare blades to hand for the the reciprocating saw. I find sometimes the tip of the blade will knock against a nail and the blade gets bent although you can straighten them out. It does seem to affect their efficiency though, also try and have a couple of different lengths of blade as this will make your job easier.

I believe these reciprocating saws are also known as Sabre Saws and are a great addition to your tool collection. They can be used to cut just about anything as there are a wide range of blades available: Sabre Saws available on Amazon

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Wood Gluing Clamps made from Pallet Wood

wood gluing clamps made from pallet wood

It wasn’t long after I started working with pallet wood that the need arose for the pallet planks  to be glued together. Up to four planks side by side was OK as my clamps were big enough, but anything more than that I and I was stuck so to speak!

It wasn’t long before I found myself consulting the University that is Youtube for ideas, in the end I used several ideas to come up with the finished items. My criteria was that I should be able to clamp up to 10 pallet planks side by side. The clamps should be able to exert downward pressure to stop the planks buckling and also horizontal  pressure to push the planks together. They should also be relatively easy to build and should be constructed from wood I already had, pallet wood!

As you can see from the picture below the clamps are constructed from the thicker pieces of wood found on some pallets, I needed 6 such pieces and fortunately I had them. First job was to decide were to drill the holes for the pins, each pair of bars would use 2 pins. Below the bar has been marked out with 7 pilot holes which will be made much larger later for the pins. One of the problems with this wood is that it has a large number of nails embedded in it, these can’t be removed because they have been cut flush to the wood when the pallet were disassembled. With this in mind the holes have to be drilled so the nails are avoided.

drilling holes in clamps

These wood gluing clamps have been made in matched pairs mainly because of the nail problem previously described, so all the way through the build the clamps were marked as 1a, 1b, 2a,2b,3a and 3b. So next the tow bars 1a and 1b were clamped one on top of the other. Then the pilot holes were drilled through to the bottom bar, this ensures correct alignment of the holes in both bars. The same process was applied to the other two pairs of bars.

Now all of these pilot holes needed to be drilled out to 25mm so the pins would slot in. I used a 25mm forstner bit in my pillar drill to drill out all of these holes. It took a while because there are 28 holes in all and the bars are quite thick wood.

28 peg holes drilled in clamps

Now the pins had to be made before the project could move forward because the bars need to be held in alignment on top of each other in their matched pairs. The pins are made from an old broom handle and are around 6 inches long. With these made they could be inserted in the holes to hold the bars in place. In the photo below you can see two bars with the pins in place.

picture showing pins in place in clamp bars

Horizontal pressure sorted now for the vertical downward pressure

OK so the horizontal pressure problem is almost sorted, now  to address the vertical downward pressure. I decided the way to do this was to have a handle at each end of the bars with a threaded rod fixed into the handles. The threaded bars would screw into a fixed nut on the bottom face of the lower bar. As you screw the bar to tighten, it forces the the upper bar downwards onto the lower bar.

3 sets of gluing clamps made from upcycled pallet wood

In the photo above you can see the handles with the threaded bars at each end of the wood gluing clamps. The photo also shows the pins inserted and the 3 sets of wedges that are used to help exert the horizontal pressure.

You may be asking yourself, why go to all this trouble when you could buy some sash clamps or pipe clamps to do the same job. Well the simple answer is that I want to upcycled materials as much as possible in everything I make. Apart from the threaded rod, nyloc nuts and t nuts, everything in these 3 pairs of wood gluing clamps is upcycled.

I will write another post soon to describe how these wood gluing clamps actually work.

There are more images available showing how these clamps were made, too many to include in this article, you can find them here Wood Gluing Clamps Image Gallery

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Power Tool Workbench made from Upcycled Pallet Wood

A workbench for my static power tools

In an attempt to try and get some sort of organisation in my workshop I decided to build a power tool workbench made from upcycled pallet wood. The idea was to get the chop saw, pillar drill and planner/thicknesser all in one place and all at a comfortable working height for me. I find leaning forward to work at a standard height bench gives me back ache quite quickly. So my ideal workbench is quick a bit higher than the norm! Ideally this bench should also have a lower shelf where the portable power tools could be stores in their respective cases. Finally this power tool workbench should be on castors so it can me around in the workshop.

So now we know what we want lets go and build it. I started off by making one of the sides, as you can see below. There are no fancy joints, the whole thing is screwed together using rather large screws. Once this first side was assembled, everything else could evolve from it.

Power Tool Workbench made from Upcycled pallet Wood

Next part of the build was to build end struts and join them to the existing side structure that has just been completed. You can see what I mean from the picture below, the whole thing is on it’s side at the moment while it’s all screwed together.

workbench frame being assembled

The picture below shows the power tool workbench main structure completed and in the upright position. One of the joys of using recycled pallet wood in projects is that nothing is ever “straight”. Just look at the long piece at the top on the left, very warped but for  this job it’s fine.

Workbench frame assembled

Now we need to be looking at making the top for this bench. Again this is going to made from upcycled pallet wood, but this time we are going to be using the planks. First thing to do is try and select enough planks that are roughly the same thickness so we get a fairly level top. I say fairly level because it doesn’t have to be absolutely level.

fitting the workbench top planks

As you can see in the picture above, some of the top planks have already been fitted and others have been selected for use, although they will need cutting to length and then they will be screwed to the frame.

the workbench now has its top fitted

The picture above shows the top completely fitted and the castors screwed on the corners on the underside. So now we are getting there. Next job is to place the power tools onto the workbench to ensure there is enough room, as shown below.

workbench front view

Fortunately the guesstimations worked and there is more than enough room for everything, with ample space for the pieces of wood being worked.

workbench side view

In this picture the bottom shelf is still to be fitted although in reality it has already been fitted. I will take photo at the next opportunity and add it to this post.

So there you have it, a custom built power tool workbench made completely from upcycle pallet wood. This workbench cost next to nothing to build, apart from the four castors at a couple of quid each. Right at the start of this project I decided to leave the wood rough and not sanded. I couldn’t justify the extra time spent on sanding etc when really there was no need for it.

This power tool workbench made from upcycled pallet wood is in almost constant use and it’s doing the job great. I am also really pleased I gave some thought about the height as I haven’t felt any backache at all after working at this bench. That’s the real beauty of doing it yourself, you can make it to “fit” you.

I do hope  this has been of interest to you and given you some ideas, I haven’t provided any dimensions because you should really build this to suit you and your workspace.