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Pallet Wood Guitar Clock Project – Update 4 Aug 19

Pallet wood guitar clock update

I have been working on this Pallet Wood Guitar Clock Project for a little while now, it’s one of those learn on the job projects and this latest session has thrown up a few things to resolve.

The first thing to overcome was to figure out how to mount the clock movement as the shaft that the hands fit onto is quite short and the guitar body is quite thick. In the end I decided to bore a hole all the way through the body that was big enough to accommodate the clock movement. You can see the big hole on this image below, the idea is that in collaboration with Shalini. We will create a clock face from copper sheet. This will have to be about 10mm bigger in diameter than the hole so that it can be glued in place over the big hole.

This clock face will have a hole drilled in the centre for the clock to be mounted to it and the clock face is going to be embossed and then enameled so should look good.

The picture below shows the large hole for the clock mechanism and the 3 pickups in place.

Pallet Wood Guitar

The next issue was how to accurately fix the head stock to the top of the neck, for some reason this really messed with my head. But then I had a “light bulb” moment and a plan was hatched! I want to glue the head stock onto the neck but also want to have a couple of dowels in there for strength. So two nails were hammed into the head stock in the right position to about half of their length. Then I took the nails out and ground the heads off and made a point on each nail so I ended up with two nails with a point at each end. These double ended nails were pushed back into the holes in the head stock.

Pallet Wood Guitar

Now I laid the main guitar body down on the table and brought the head stock to it and made sure it was aligned properly with the neck. Once I was happy with this I pushed the head stock against the neck and then tapped it all the way home with a bit of scrap wood. When I am ready I can remove those double ended nails and have the holes perfectly aligned, ready for drilling to fit the two dowels and final glueing together.

guitar head stock drilled

As you can see I have also cut slots in the bridge on the head stock for the strings and drilled the holes for the tuning screws.

I will write another installment once further work has been completed on the Pallet Wood Guitar Clock Project .

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Two New Pallet Wood Clocks Started

two new pallet wood clocks started

Just started a new project yesterday to create two new pallet wood clocks. One is for a birthday present and will feature a Spitfire and the other, featuring a Phaeton Carriage, is for Shalini’s stall at the upcoming Georgian Festival in Stamford on 28th and 29th September 2019.

The image below shows the four prepared planks glued together with another plank from the same pallet for comparison.

Two New Pallet Wood Clocks Startedr

This project also presented a great opportunity to try out my new Triton Planer/Thicknesser machine as I needed to clean up four pallet planks, make them of equal thickness and try to get decent edges for gluing them together.

Two New Pallet Wood Clocks Started
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Auricula Theatre Image Gallery

Auricula Theatre Image Gallery

This Auricula Theatre Image Gallery contains the various pictures taken during the construction of the Auricula Theatre I made for our friends Mum’s birthday. It was made completely from upcycled pallet wood, you can read the story here Building the Auricula Theatre

Just click on any image below to open the gallery and see larger images.

Installing the Auricula Theatre

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Auricula Theatre Built with Pallet Wood

Auricula Theatre Built with Pallet Wood

So what is an Auricula Theatre?

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.

Auricula Theatre Built with Pallet Wood

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!

building the main structure

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.

roof section built

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.

two nesting boxes created in roof

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.

Auricula Theatre Built with Pallet Wood in place

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

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Pallet Under Bench Storage Cupboard on Castors

Pallet Under Bench Storage Cupboard on Castors

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.

Pallet Under Bench Storage Cupboard on Castors

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.

top view of pallet wood cupboard
end view of pallet wood cupboard

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.

making nice fitting doors for the cupboard

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.

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Workbench Lighting Surrounds using Pallet Wood

Workbench Lighting Surrounds using Pallet Wood

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.

Workbench Lighting Surrounds

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:

front view of lighting surround

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.

top view of lighting surround

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.

Lighting surrounds illumination the workbenches

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!

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Making Log Stores out of Shiping Pallets

Making Log Stores out of Shiping Pallets

Easy Log Stores From Shipping pallets

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.

Making Log Stores out of Shiping Pallets

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.

a complete and very full pallet log store

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!

log store in back of garage built out of pallets

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.

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Dismantling Pallets to Salvage the Wood

Dismantling pallets can be as hard or easy as you want to make it!

But the main aim when dismantling pallets is to retrieve as much undamaged and usable wood as possible. A lot will depend on what tools you have to hand and if you want to spend out on specialist tools or not.

Myself, I just use what I have, here’s my list:

  • Lump Hammer
  • 3″ Wide Cold Chisel
  • 1″ Wide Cold Chisel
  • Hacksaw
  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection

My process is very simple, I use the hammer to drive the 3″ chisel between the joint in the wood, just enough to get the hacksaw in and cut through the nails. I find this way I am putting less stress on the wood and reduce the amount of split wood I end up with.

Sometimes I get pallets that have shorter nails, so after initially prizing the pieces of wood apart with the 3″ chisel, I will follow up with the 1″ chisel to finish off. At this point the planks will usually pull apart with no real effort or damage to the wood.

Using this method I can  usually strip a pallet down in about 15 minutes with minimal damage to the wood.

Usually I wait until I have 6 or so pallets to dismantle, then have a session of taking them to bits. I find doing it this way it keeps the workshop organised as I am only focusing on one task. It’s also very satisfying to stand back when you have finished and see that nice new stack of wood you have ready for the next project! The exception to this rule is when I need a specific piece of wood of a certain thickness or length.

There are of course other methods to strip a pallet down into its component parts and we will take a look at one or two of those below.

Other Pallet Dismantling Tools

There are a number of purpose built pallet dismantling tools, also known as Pallet Busters such as the one shown to the right, this model is available on Amazon UK. I have never used one of these tools or anything like but after watching a few youtube videos that demonstrate how to use them I must admit they do look useful. There a few different variation of this tool available from different manufacturers, you can see them here on Amazon: Pallet Dismantling tools available on Amazon

Another tool I have seen widely used for pallet dismantling is the Sabre saw or Reciprocating Saw such as the one shown to the right. It’s used as an electric hacksaw to cut through the nails, and I have to agree it would be an effortless and quicker way to deal with the nails! If you wish, you can see a range of these saws on Amazon here: Sabre Saws available on Amazon

So there you go, a brief look at a couple of ways of how to dismantle shipping pallets so you can salvage the wood to make stuff.

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Unloved Wood Shipping Pallets can become Beautiful Stuff

Upcycled Palletwood Cabinet
Unloved Wood Shipping Pallets can become Beautiful Stuff

Unloved Shipping Pallets are Tomorrow’s Upcycled useful Stuff

Like many I used to see old scrap wood shipping pallets as potential firewood for my log burner. I think the only useful thing I made out of them back then were some log stores. Which incidentally are still in use after almost 8 years of service!

But of late I have come to view these old pallets in a different way, there was a yearning to upcycle them into something useful, be it a clock, a book stand or a cupboard, whatever! And it was only after I started to actually sand down a piece of this wood that I realised just how beautiful it could be. Often one single pallet can provide around 8 pieces of useful wood that all can have different and interesting grains.

Aside from the neccessity for an item around our home the ideas for stuff to make come from my imagination and the good old University of Youtube. In fact I have been amazed at what Pallets are used to make, the ideas seem to be limitless!

So were do you start, where do you find, scavenge or scrounge these old wood pallets from? Often just driving around you local area you will see pallets were builders are active or people are having work done on their homes. Building sites are another good source and industrial estates too, as there are always deliveries of equipment and stock being made.

Palletwood Clock with Aeroplanes

Always ask don’t just help yourself!

My golden rule is never to just take a pallet, unless it’s just been dumped by a roadside in the middle of nowhere. Otherwise I always, always ask if I can take a pallet away, normally the person I ask is relieved that he/she has got rid of the problem of disposing of the pallet and is only to happy to let me have it. Other places to find unloved pallets are Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle, but I find mainly just keeping your eyes open as you travel around is the best way to find them.

Another thing to look out for is the “HT” stamp on the pallets, if they have this stamp it means they have been heat treated against rot, rather than chemically treated. Obviously it’s better for you when working on the pallet that it’s not been chemically treated!

For my purposes I tend to only go for what are called “white” pallets, these are pallets that haven’t been painted so are much easier to use to make stuff. I believe that pallets are painted as a sign of ownership of the pallet, I may be wrong!

Wood shipping pallets come in many shapes and sizes, some are standard like the “Euro Pallet” and others are custom made for a specific task, but all are made of wood that can be used to make useful stuff. If you can find a source of the same or similar sized pallets that will make you life easier when making stuff because the dimensions of each piece of wood will be almost the same which matters if you are going to make a table top!

Palletwood Cabinet

In a future post I will look at how to disassemble your pallets, de-nail the wood and prepare it for use.

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Wood Gluing Clamps Image Gallery

Wood Gluing Clamps Image Gallery

This gallery contains the images taken during the construction of the Wood Gluing Clamps. These have proven invaluable when gluing several pallet wood planks together to make clocks and other items. You can go to this article to read more about how we built these Wood Gluing Clamps from Pallet Wood

Just click on any image below to open the gallery and see larger images.