Pallet wood projects

Lately I’ve been having fun building things from reclaimed and scrap wood. Here are a couple of my recent pallet wood projects, at home on our front porch:

I love woodworking, but I don’t spend a lot of money on my hobbies.  Pallet wood saves me from buying lumber at Home Depot, or even worse, forking over the money to buy good hardwood boards. Pallets appeal to me in other ways, too: I like knowing that I’m saving a little bit of waste from a landfill, and I like the perspective that I gain from having to sand, straighten, and clean up the rough wood. I’ve also found that it’s satisfying to make-do with irregular sized boards. Rather than just buying the correct amount of stock-sized lumber off the shelf, I force myself to work with the boards I have, and make adjustments to my plans.  That really makes me think through my design carefully, and be more creative in improvising on it.

My first and biggest challenge was figuring out how to take pallets apart. They’re held together with spiral-shank nails, making the boards nearly impossible to pry loose. I started out by trying brute force, but that was frustrating because I wound up splitting so many of the boards. After scouring the internet for tips & doing a bit of experimenting, I’ve settled on a quick & reliable technique. I drill a small hole next to each nail, which relieves the pressure and makes it fairly easy to pry the boards loose with a flatbar & hammer.

I’m busy at work on a couple of current projects with pallets and with other scrap boards.  I’ll share these, with more detailed instructions & tips, in a few upcoming posts.  If you find them useful, or have tips of your own, I would love to hear from you in the comments.


8 Responses to “Pallet wood projects”

  1. Wifey Says:

    Your projects are an awesome addition to the front porch. Can’t wait to see what’s next! xoxo

  2. Newman Says:

    Hey Joe!

    Cool blog. thanks for the inspiration. I found you through the – You are the number one follower of them on Twitter. I had an idea about that exact same app – I still might as an exercise for class I’m taking.

    Anyway, perhaps you aren’t affiliated with them.

    Also, way to go on the workouts – AND posting them. Keep it up!

  3. Joe Says:

    Thanks, Newman! I’m not affiliated with madtwibs, though I think it’s a really fun idea. looks pretty interesting, I’ll have to check them out. Good luck on your app!

  4. JOECULLIN.COM» Blog Archive » Patio accent table, made from pallet boards Says:

    […] finished it the same way I did the chairs & flowerboxes: one coat of primer, one coat of paint, one coat of […]

  5. Kate Says:

    Hi! I love your work, as usual. Hi from Grammy’s house!
    Your daughter,

  6. Georgene Pastrana Says:

    nice post

  7. Tim Says:

    Cool project, thanks for the inspiration. You should sand your pallet materials in an outdoor setting and avoid breathing any dust by using a respirator. Dust and debris from sanding a pallet may contain traces of toxic materials from shipping spills, even if the pallet was never used to ship poisonous products. In lieu of sanding rough edges, a hand planer may be the best tool for the job to avoid creating potentially toxic dust.

  8. Georgia Says:

    Hi the my website is doing great 🙂 😀

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