Having recently moved into an apartment with my lady, I had been put in a situation that required some furniture. Not wanting to drop much cash, and itching to improve my woodworking skills, the solution was clear: DIY pallet furniture. After receiving the suggestion from a user in the early retirement extreme forums, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. I need to build a house one day, so I gotta start somewhere. “The supplies are free, and I get to save money on furniture?” I thought to myself. Before I knew it, I was crusing around looking for discarded pallets.
If you want to do this yourself, it is easy. Here’s how:
1. Find discarded pallets. I found lots near a dumpster behind Rona. I also saw some near an Ikea. It may be possible to ask inside at Ikea for some, as they are all over the store. An important thing to note here is that some pallets are treated with chemicals that can off gas into your home…something we’d like to avoid. The pallets should have a stamp on them with a series of numbers and letters. The two last letters are the important ones, and I’ve seen two in my experiences: “MB” and “HT”. You want your pallets to be marked with “HT”, which means they have been heat treated instead of chemically treated with Methyl Bromide. Happy hunting! 🙂
2. Dissassemble pallets. At first, I was using a crowbar but this was difficult and slow. The best technique, and the one I ended up using just needs a sledgehammer and three bricks. The idea is to knock the pallet frame to the ground whilst having the two bricks keep the single board higher. The third brick is to protect the wood where your hammer hits. This video will do the explaining:
3. Design your furniture! I skipped this step. I don’t recommend that. Though, for the bed frame, I used this design. Useful site!
4. Put it all together. Tools required: Hammer, nails, screws, screwdriver. You’ll probably need a saw too. A friend or two could help. Fortunately I had my lady, her dad, and access to all of his tools.
5. Finish the furniture to your preference. I sanded it with 80 grit sandpaper then stained it, and sealed it. I wanted to use a homemade stain and linseed oil as a sealant, but ended up using a stain and polyurethane from Rona.
Feel free to get in touch by email or comment if you want any advice on your own project!