How can I build an outdoor table out of pallets?
September 10, 2004 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I recently moved into a new home which has a lovely back deck. I've been searching around for a decent wooden outdoor table for said deck that's not made of some crazy expensive wood that will drain the cash reserves that I frankly do not have. I've heard tell of a wonderful way to construct a rustic outdoor table from old pallets, which are in abundant supply out here at some local orchards and vineyards, but I have not been able to hunt down plans or instructions or anysuch for this mythical table. Anyone done this before, or know somewhere around here where I can find plans/instructions?
posted by jearbear to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
not pallets, but a bobbin (like thread is wound on, but huge) that has carried cable works ok as a table on its side. there's one outside my office... :o)
posted by andrew cooke at 3:04 PM on September 10, 2004

do it the Rietveld way, by eye with junk wood. If it doesn't work out, make another one.

And don't even think about plans. This isn't rocket science - you can figure it out.
posted by jmgorman at 4:27 PM on September 10, 2004

I remember a guy had a series on British TV and subsequent book in the early 80's all about making very decent looking furniture solely from old pallets (including detailed plans). This has always been something of a literary Holy Grail for me over the years and now I have a fresh reason to go hunt it down. If I have any luck I'll pass it on. Or alternatively, you could always just experiment.
posted by desert_roamer at 7:29 PM on September 10, 2004

Here is a wood pallet desk, with blueprints. Maybe get some ideas for hardware from there.
posted by fionab at 8:12 PM on September 10, 2004

Bobbins make nice bar tables, as they're pretty high when turned on their side. Not so good for sitting, unless you cut it up somehow.

Pallets and bobbins both have the problem that the wood is pretty rough. You'll want to plane or sand it first, assuming you have or can borrow the equipment. Pallets are also impractical for tables as they typically have the up/down board arrangement. Moving and cutting is possible, but your money savings is offset by a time expense.

Pallet furniture is actually a big deal right now, as used pallets are an endemic disposal problem throughout the industrialized world. But what's being talked about is recycling the wood and using that wood to build furniture, basically a heavy-duty woodworking project rather than an ad-hoc money-saver.

You can make a nifty table out of found materials if you're brave. An old door, perhaps. (My parents had a nifty coffee table built from the heavy floor grate of the old 19th century union hall.) The trouble with this ultimately is that the wood won't stand up to the outdoors. To get a durable table you'll either have to completely seal it or use pressure-treated wood (and even then you should clean and stain it regularly). It ain't cheap, but it won't break the bank either. Still, you could use pallet wood for any number of picnic-table type plans.
posted by dhartung at 10:23 PM on September 10, 2004

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