Posted on Leave a comment

Storing my Pallet Wood Planks

Storing my Pallet Wood Planks

Thanks to my friends and other people my stock of pallet wood planks is growing steadily and they need to be stored somewhere dry. So it was time for a bit of re-organisation in the workshop, starting with the old log stores on the back wall.

The idea was to fit old scaffolding boards across the top of that space so that the planks could be stacked on them. While leaving enough space underneath for my power tools workbench to be wheeled in and out when it’s needed.

Here are before and after pictures so you get the gist of what I mean:


the old log store before being modified


the old log store after being modified to store pallet wood planks

This wasn’t to much of a job to achieve once I had cut out the red pallet from the bottom where the workbench lives now. Also put in a couple of posts to support the middle of the scaffold boards as there is quite a bit of weight on there now.

Problem is that now I need even more space to store these pallet planks as I have lots of pallets to break down. The storage rack above the workbench is full as you can see, there are over 200 pallet wood planks up there.

lots of pallets to be broken down

So far I have stripped 8 of the pallets shown above and they have yielded a lot of planks as you can see below:

more pallet wood planks to be stored

My only option now is to start ultilising the outside log stores which are available because we are not going to be burning logs much more.

pallet wood planks stored in outside log stores

However, using these old log stores has given me another small project, I now need to make some sort of doors to go on the front to keep the pallet wood planks dry.

I have a system in place, any planks stored inside the workshop on the racks has been thoroughly de-nailed and is ready for use. Any that is stored outside hasn’t been de-nailed, it’s a simple system, but one that I hope I can’t mess up!

So there you have it, my solution for storing my pallet wood planks, hope you found it useful and maybe it gave you a few ideas.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pallet Wood Guitar and Spitfire Clock Update 25 August 2019

Pallet Wood Guitar and Spitfire Clock Update 25 August 2019

Been having a bit of a push to try and get  some “in progress” projects completed. One of these is the Spitfire clock that I have been making for a friend who wants to gift it to someone. The clock face itself was pretty much complete apart from 3 applications of Danish oil and them a few coats of wax to seal it.

Pallet wood Spitfire clock

Then it was just a matter of fitting the clock mechanism and fitting the hands and that was that, job done!

Below is a close up of the Spitfire, it was first traced onto the clock face and then burnt into the wood using a Pyrography pen. 

Moving onto the Long ongoing project, the Pallet Wood Guitar clock. I have been thinking for a while about how I was going to make the frets on the guitar neck. Initially the idea was to cut grooves and insert copper wire as frets. But in the end this was not possible as I couldn’t cut the slots for the frets near the bridge end of the neck.

So I resorted to my found activity of Pyrography to save the day. As you can see in the picture below, the frets and scales have been marked with pencil. So now we are going to use the Pyrography pen to burn the frets and scales into the wood.

using pyro pen to burn frets and scales

Next we turn to the guitar body as the pickups and clock face need to be fitted into place. Below you can see the clock face ready to be fitted. I used epoxy to glue the clock face on to the body, once the glue had set I applied some onto the back of the clock face from behind just to make it very secure.

copper clock face to be glued into guitar body

With the guitar laying flat on its back it was the ideal time to glue the pickups in place, I used wood glue for this.

Once all the glue had set I gave the hole thing a rub down with some fine sandpaper so it was nice and smooth before applying the first coat of Danish oil. The picture below shows the guitar clock prepared and ready for the oil to be applied.

assembled guitar clock ready for finishing

At the time of writing this, the guitar clock has now had three coats of Danish oil applied to it. Tomorrow I hope to start applying the first of three coats of wax.

I mentioned my new found interest of Pyrography earlier, this addition to my “skills” box is proving invaluable. Aside from the projects above which both have Pyrography used in the them, I have also made two signs. One is a practice job, shown below and the other is for a local business. I can’t show you that one yet as the new owner hasn’t seen it yet. I will share it in the near future with you.

pallet wood stuff sign

So there you have it, a quick round up of activities for the last week, the Spitfire clock completed and ready for delivery next week. The Guitar clock should be complete in the next couple of days and then it can be hung on our living room wall.

These project amount to at least one shipping pallet being saved from going to landfill or being burnt and upcycled into something useful.

Posted on Leave a comment

Power Tool Workbench Update

power tool workbench power bank

Not long after I had built the power tool  workbench and started using it I realised that having 3 power cables going from the bench to wall outlet was  pain. The solution was simple, purchase and fit a power bank. it was just a matter of me remembering to buy one when I went to the shops.

Anyway I found a good power bank at our local Lidl store. It has six outlets and a good length of cable to connect to the wall power socket. So now it’s fitted on the back of the power tool workbench and all the static tools are plugged into it. Everything is now much tidier and more importantly safer because there is no longer a mess of cables stretching to wall sockets.

Here is a picture of it fitted to the back of the workbench.

rear view of power tool workbench

If you would like to learn more about the construction of this bench you can find a post I wrote about it here: Power Tool Workbench made from Upcycled Pallet Wood

Posted on 2 Comments

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Making Progress with those Two New Clocks

cutting out a spitfire clock face

On August 2nd I made a short post about two new clocks I had started working on. Well there has been progress made on them!

As you can see below the High Perch Phaeton Carriage has been cut out and the outline was traced onto the wood. Then the outline and details was burnt into the wood using the Pyrography tool.

Making Progress with those Two New Clocks

The small fan you can see on the table above isn’t there to keep me cool. It’s there to draw away the fumes that are created during the wood burning.

Below is another view of the Phaeton Carriage standing upright. We will be routing out a recess at the back of this for the clock movement to fit into and then it can be mounted.

Making Progress with those Two New Clocks

The other clock was a round one, 12″ diameter featuring a WW2 Spitfire. You can see from the picture below that it was cut out using a router. You can also see the outline has already been traced onto the clock face, this will be burnt into the wood using the Pyrography pan. The hole in the centre that’s currently being used for router anchor screw will be drilled out to 8mm for the clock movement to be fitted.

Making Progress with those Two New Clocks

Since taking these photos earlier today the Spitfire has now be brunt into clock face. The hole has been drilled out to 8mm and the wood has had it’s first coat of Danish Oil.

So quite a productive weekend, another update about these two new clocks will follow in due course as more progress is made.

Posted on Leave a comment

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 .

Posted on Leave a comment

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
Posted on 6 Comments

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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.