Pallet projects are everywhere, and I’m not ashamed to say I jumped on that bandwagon a long time ago. I made a pallet patio table a couple years ago for myself but I kind of threw it together and it’s not a project I would be proud to share. But my husband brought a huge, nearly 10′ pallet home months ago and when I was thinking of a few pieces to make for our yard sale I decided to use it for tables.
My husband took the lead on this project because he had a plan in mind and I was happy to get a project off of my to-do list. I already had to make my rustic ladders and organize all the items for our yard sale.
The first thing you have to know about any pallet project is how important it is to inspect them before bringing them home. Make sure the pallet is heat treated and not chemically treated. You should see a stamp that has HT somewhere on your pallet.
Also, inspect well for any infestation of bugs, spiders, etc. Not all pallets will be good for home projects. Most are really worn or tattered and that means a lot of large splinters. If they’re so bad or there’s too many and you’ll have to spend hours and hours sanding so that it’s safe for home use, it’s not worth it.
Once you have your pallet, decide how big you want your table. For the smaller pallets you can leave them as is, but ours was so large we decided to cut it in half and make two tables.
Next my husband traveled to Lowes and picked up the wood for the base. He bought one (8′) 2×4 and two (8′) 4x4s. You want to make sure that you do not purchase lumber that is pressure treated because you don’t want to be sanding and inhaling that stuff and you definitely don’t want to put it in your home. He chose Cedar for the 4×4 because it was cheaper than the Oak and the rest of the 4×4 lumber was treated. The 2×4 is Hem Fir
He removed the two pieces of wood on top of either side of the pallet where we made our first cuts so he can place a piece of 2×4 and then put the pallet wood on back on top. This way your 2×4 isn’t hanging out on the sides.
Then he cut our table legs from the 4x4s. We wanted ours tables to be coffee table height so he cut the legs 1’9″.
Once he had all the legs cut, he measured and marked 1.5″ v-notches in the tops of each leg.
He cut them out with a circular saw.
These notches will hold 2×4 braces underneath the table.
Measure and cut roughly 10 3/4″(measure for exact length) pieces of 2×4 with 45° inside angle cuts on the ends. Place them into the v-notches in your table legs and use a socket wrench to screw lag bolts to hold them in place. Use 1.5″ wood screws to attach the table legs to the pallet.
Once your table is nice and sturdy, it’s time to prep for staint. You will need to sand your table really well because pallet wood is rough. Use a course grit sand paper (at least 80) to sand all the rough areas and splinters. Then go back with a fine grit (220+) to give your table a nice, smooth finish. Always sand in the direction of the grain. Remember, go with the grain!
Wipe your table down well with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dirt and sanding debris. Wetting your wood also prepares it to absorb your stain better. *You’re not soaking your wood*
Stain your table using a clean rag. We used Dark Walnut because it’s our favorite stain right now. Wipe on your stain, then wait a few minutes and wipe off. The longer you let it sit, the darker the stain. Don’t wait longer than 10 min. If the stain isn’t absorbed by the wood and dries, it will be a sticky mess. You should only need one coat of stain, but if you want a darker finish wait 4 hours then give it another coat. Again, remember to go with the grain!
Once your stain has dried at least 8 hrs, you can add a coat of polyurethane. It will protect your wood and give you a beautiful finish. See the difference?!
You want to put at least 2 coats of polyurethane and sand lightly by hand with a fine grit sand paper between each coat.
Final result 🙂
Happy pallet hunting!