How I Built This Simple Table:
Introduction: Why did I build this?
I’m going to be graduating college in a year and will need furniture. My parents are letting me repair their old sofa and keep it, I am building a bed this summer, but I don’t have a table or coffee table (coffee table is about halfway done right now). I’ve prepared myself decently well for ‘real life’ by purchasing the kitchen equipment I’ll need and other necessities for a home but furniture costs a lot of money that I don’t have (unless it’s cheap and will break in a year) so I figured I would build my own. But wood is expensive too. So I decided to build it out of pallets using basic tools (sander, a drill with a phillips head screw and a drill head, a paintbrush, a hammer, and my friend’s planer – you don’t need to plane it if you don’t have access to a planer).
Total Cost: $23
Weight Test: I wanted to make sure the table wouldn’t break in half if I sat on it…so I put 300lbs of weight on it. It didn’t buckle and had very limited bending.
Pallets: Two 48 inch long pallets (the ones with the nice curvature that can be seen on the side of the pallet table). Two 36 inch closed board pallets for the top of the table.
Other wood: Found a 2×4 at the site (will become the center bar of the table), and a bunch of 4x4s that I used for the legs.
Stain Color: Miniwax Mahogany
Lacquer: Miniwax Lacquer
Screws: 16 4 inch screws, a good amount of 2 inch nails (I would estimate about 50)
Other necessary items: High Grit Sandpaper, Low Grit Sandpaper, Wood Glue, some tarps or painters cloths to not dirty everything up
Section 1: Selecting Pallets
First, I would like to assure you all that most pallets are safe (if you check the markings). Don’t worry about rodent or other pest poop because I can almost guarantee mice leave their droppings on the wood at home depot too. That’s why you seal up your wood once you are finished!
What to look for? Heat treated or Kiln Dried with the IPPC Logo. Here are what the logos look like:
Got all my pallets and started taking them apart. I found some really nice pallets with 1 by 6 boards. Those became the mainstay of the top of the table! Try to find some wider boards for the top of your table it will make it look so much better!
Once I took the pallets apart I took the boards that were very splintery and put them through the planer (only the side pieces, the top boards didn’t need it). I cut the top boards down to the width that I wanted them. Your table can be whatever length and width you desire, then just cut it to size! For the side pieces that have the notches, use the sides of one 48” pallet. You will need two if your table is longer than 48”. I used a circular saw for this. Then I went over all the boards with a Heavy Grit sandpaper, then a Light Grit sandpaper. The boards are now ready to be stained or put together!
The actual design, I’ll just explain it through drawn out pictures (on the next page). Again you can make the dimensions whatever you want your table to be…that is why I am not including mine. Below is my homemade saw rig.
I hope this made sense! I’m an engineer and probably write directions as bad as IKEA does! Just direct message me on Reddit if you need help!!!
Here are some pictures to help you all out:
Underside: See 2×4 in the center for strength. On the bottom right hand corner you can see my screw placement. Also see the crossbar in the center of the table for support.
Putting the top boards on. Be sure to put wood glue on the bottom and sides before you start nailing it down!
Stain applied no lacquer
Staining and Lacquer:
For stain: Put on one coat of stain one each board then immediately wipe off the excess. Let it dry overnight. You can use a cloth or a paintbrush.
For lacquer: You should apply five coats minimum. I applied 7. It seals the wood and provides a nice shiny look. You can apply a new coat every 30 minutes. I did all the coats in about 4 hours. Put this on with a paintbrush.
The finished table