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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to make a workbench out of pallets

Using pallets for projects has been around for years and is one of the most common DIY materials.  If you google "pallet projects" you would probably come up with millions of pictures and tutorials.  Today, I'm not sharing anything new and it's probably old news to many, but I'm beyond thrilled to be sharing this project with you all today.  In case you can't tell, I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

My husband is a project manager and comes across pallets often.  I asked him to grab me a couple for a project and he quickly obliged.  I really wanted to make my own workbench for our garage we are building and pallets seemed to be the perfect (and cheapest) option.

Let me first say, that I am no expert and I'm sure some people will read this and wonder why I did what I did.  I'm just sharing what worked for me to hopefully inspire others.

I knew I wanted a rustic look, so I grabbed the oldest pallet we had and cut it in half using a circular saw. 

The pallet half that still had two solid sides is what I used for the top of the table.
I flipped the top piece over and cut off the boards on the end with a circular saw.  That still left me with a sliver of wood that I broke off using a hammer.  The nails were so rusted and wouldn't budge, so I just hammered them down into the wood.  

For the table legs I used old 4x4 barn wood that my brother let me steal from one of his old barns.  Just pretend that the bird poop isn't there, okay?  

Including a drill, here's what I used to install the table legs.

(The sun was setting, but I was determined to get all four legs screwed on before I went to bed.  So, I apologize for the lighting in the next few pictures.) 

First, I drilled pilot holes in the table top exactly where I wanted my table legs to go.  I then held the leg up against the top and drilled pilot holes into the 4x4's.  Make sure you drill deep enough for your lag bolts. 
Even with drilling pilot holes I couldn't get the lag bolts to screw in all the way with the drill.  I ended up using a ratchet to get them snug.  Once I had all the table legs installed, I cut a piece of pallet wood to attach to each side of the table top.  I used regular screws to attach the wood to the legs.

The next morning when I got up I was determined to get the table finished.   I added four small scrap pieces of wood on each leg for the lower shelf to sit on.  I then cut another pallet to fit snug on top the ledge.

I also drilled holes in the side of the table top to add rope for handles.  I decided at the last minute to also add 4 caster wheels.  I got the ones that lock so I don't have to worry about the table moving.

This project was definitely a bigger challenge for me than other projects since it forced me to learn to use tools that I've never used before (circular saw, reciprocating saw and lag bolts).
I love the natural aged look of the wood and will keep it as is for now.  I think I may put a clear coat of poly on it just to help it withstand the weather.

I'm still not sure if I'll keep it on the deck and use it as bar or if I'll move it into the garage as a work bench.  Either way, it's a pretty cool table in my opinion.

Would you like to comment?

  1. It turned out great!! It really looks like something that would be so versatile. And way to go on trying out new tools--those can be intimidating for sure. : )

  2. Hey Katie! Love this bench. I could use something like it on my deck as a potting bench. I found you via Sweet Haute. If you're interested in new link parties, I have one going on right now and would love to have you. Have a great week!

  3. Thanks so much Ginger! I'll go check out your link party and thanks for the invite!

  4. So cool! I love the character that pallets give to builds. I would love to use something like this for serving food and drinks on the patio. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Love this! I just built a Tiki Bar out of pallets and a window box for our shed - gotta love it when the main portion of your DIY is FREE!!!! I've never seen a pallet with those smaller boards, sure worked out perfect for your bench.

    1. Thanks Jeanette! I'm sure your Tiki Bar looks amazing! I've never seen one with the smaller boards either. We had about 6 pallets and only 1 of them had the small boards. I probably wouldn't be able to find another one if I tried!

  6. Nice work. I commend you for your determination with this project. It sure paid off. Love your table/work bench and you wrote a great tutorial with the pertinent pics. Nice, nice, nice. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Leonie! I'm so glad the directions were easy to follow. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Your Pallet Work Bench is awesome! I love the Paige's Flowers box too. I'm visiting from the Get Your DIY On Party.
    Marie@The Interior Frugalista

  8. This is awesome, Katie!! I love it :)

  9. Ooh I love it! I could use a work bench...hmm....