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Pallet Coffee Table From Reclaimed Wood
by keremulu on August 13, 2012
Table of Contents
Pallet Coffee Table From Reclaimed Wood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Intro:   Pallet Coffee Table From Reclaimed Wood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Step 1:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Step 2:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Step 3:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Step 4:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Step 5:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Step 6:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Step 7:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Step 8:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Intro:  Pallet Coffee Table From Reclaimed Wood
Looking to get an industrial, vintage look in your house but can't find a contemporary table to suit your needs? Frustrated at the 249£ price tag of the Legion Pallet Table
offered by Made.com and think you can do an equally decent job yourself? Enthusiastic to start your own project but don't know what you'll be facing?
I hope this instructable will give you an opinion on the scope of the work to make your own pallet coffee table.
Step 1: 
First of all, the necessary materials:
You need to find a decent pallet, one which still can hold itself and is not too broken down. We personally didn't want to get a brand new one, as we thought that each
scuff, patina and dent would add to the natural character and history of the pallet. Besides, we really wanted to make this project out of reclaimed wood.
We went to a pallet yard in the outskirts of the town where there was the possibility to choose from hundreds of units. We eventually got an EPAL (Euro Pallet) measuring
120×80 centimeters (31.50×47.24 in), which cost us around 8$.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 2: 
The pallet was really dirty when we brought it. Since it was going to be used in the household and needed to be free of splinters, I started by cleaning and sanding the
wood.
Made.com states that they blast the used pallets for a thorough cleaning and textured finish. Historically, the most common medium used to blast wood is sand. However,
nowadays everything from baking soda to walnut shells to corn husks is used to blast the wood and create a textured surface. Though I do have an air compressor and
have tried sanding metal surfaces before, I do remember that the process was extremely painstaking and dusty. Imagine picking out sand from every crack, crevice, flap,
fold, crease and orifice of your ...ahem... body. Not to mention the time you put into for removing the grains imbedded in your scalp in the shower. Not very practical.
I began by wiping the unit with a rotating fiber brush I got from the local DIY store. It cost around 7$ and did a fantastic job of removing the dirt and grime off the wood.
Keep in mind that when working parallel to the wood grain, as in the pictures, the fibers of the brush eat through the softer parts of the wood, leaving the harder rays
protruding, which results in a ruffled and weathered, yet soft surface.
Later on, I also thought of using my Kärcher high pressure power washer (capable of delivering a 1.400 PSI water jet) to clean and texture the wood, but I haven't tested
this idea yet.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 3: 
I proceeded by prying off the slats and separating them from the blocks. The wood inadvertently does get damaged during this process, but in the end it's not a 5.000$
rosewood credenza you're working on and I think that every bit of scar and damage adds to the uniqueness of the product. Besides, these are mostly mating surfaces
which will get stuck back together after the cleaning and therefore will remain concealed.
I proceeded by removing all the rusty nails and dismantling the slats one by one. Wikipedia states that these monsters are nailed with 78 special nails in a special
prescribed pattern. Given the fact that ours had seen some repair during its lifetime, I think there were even more.
The nails used in the corner legs are about 12 centimeters (approx. 5 inches) long and require a great of strength to remove. The weight of a standard EPAL pallet is
around 22,5-25 kilograms (55 pounds).
At the beginning I used a pincer to remove the nails after hammering them from the opposite side. Then I found out that it became practically impossible to remove the
corner ones which were the longest and had a good hold on from all the rust. I eventually brought a nice crowbar which made the task simpler.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Image Notes
1. Hit the nails from the protruding side with a hammer...
Image Notes
1. ...and pull them out from the other side with a pincer or crowbar.
Image Notes
1. Yes, that is a beautiful 1960 deluxe Beetle Sedan sitting in the garage...
Step 4: 
Accidents like large pieces breaking off did happen along the way while removing the nails, but I didn't worry to much about them like I mentioned before, as I think that
the mending process also adds to the beauty of the table.
I used standard white wood glue to bond the broken pieces together. Wood glue is water based (PVA, polyvinyl acetate), therefore it dries in 2 to 4 hours but the
instructions advice not to machine the mended pieces before 24 hours. One great advantage of this adhesive is that it becomes transparent when dry and is very easy to
remove with a chisel or sandpaper.
Good pressure is needed throughout the cure time which is why I clamped the pieces thoroughly.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Image Notes
1. Water based white wood glue
Image Notes
1. Apply glue thoroughly to the mating surfaces and tighten the pieces together.
The glue becomes transparent when dry and is very easy to remove with a
sandpaper, unlike epoxy based adhesives.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 5: 
After individually brushing and sanding the slats, I started combining the pieces together again. The treating of the wood actually took a considerable amount of time, but
keep in mind that the level of fineness actually depends on your design and how fine you want the table to be. For example, we have a baby on the way which is why I
spent a lot of effort to soften every corner and splinter of the wood, as the least bit of hole, nook and cranny could eventually turn out to be a hazard for the little toddler.
The standard Euro pallet was too large for our living room, so we kept the length of the table firm and shortened the width. All I did was simply cut the three slats from
each end which hold the five top ones together.
With the help of a large clamp, I held the pieces together and glued the three transom pieces in place. Afterwards, I glued the six blocks and the two skids in place.
Image Notes
1. Cut off excessive parts to reshape the pallet according to your needs.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 6: 
For the finishing, again keeping the baby in consideration, we chose a German brand water-dilutable, colorless priming and top-coat lacquer. Clou products are quite
pricey, but they have low pollutant content and have therefore been awarded the "Blue Angel" in Germany. They are safe to use on furniture intended for children and on
toys made out of wood. This 0,75 liter can (0,20 gallon) cost around 18 dollars.
Overall, I applied 3 coats on the bottom of the table and 4 coats on top. I sanded lightly with 240 grit sandpaper between coats for better adherence. The nice, balmy and
matte finishing of the lacquer also provides a protection against minor splinters and roughness of the wood, so take your time and apply thin (Applying the coats too thick
will cause the lacquer to crack due to rapid drying and shrinkage), numerous layers to give the wood a nice, matte, whitish-transparent finish.
Image Notes
1. www.clou.de
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 7: 
After the numerous coat of lacquers were finished, I positioned the castor wheels and marked the holes for drilling. I bought two wheels with brakes and two ordinary
ones, all four which cost 65$. The diameter of the wheels are 15 centimeters (6 inches).
I used hex wood screws to install the wheels. The machine heads of the screws add to the robust and industrial feel of the concept. Drilling the holes and installing the
wheels was quite fast compared to the whole sanding and painting process. The use of a box wrench made it quite easy, though soaping the screws is always a good
idea.
Image Notes
1. Use soap on the screws to drive them in more easily
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Step 8: 
And the finished product!
Now, you may notice that the table has darkish stripes and stains on the wood. First of all, let me point out that this happened unintentionally. I believe the water based
lacquer I used caused the wood to bleed out the natural compounds present in the fibers. I'm not an expert on wood and can only identify a few common wood types, but
after a little research on the internet I came to believe that cedar might have been used for the making of this pallet.
It is said that colored wood such as cedar and redwood, and in some cases other common softwoods, can show a condition known as "cedar bleed" or "cedar staining."
This can appear anytime from shortly after painting to months later. Cedar is well known for it's durability as an exterior wood and it's resistance to insect and fungus
attack. This is generally attributed to the presence of tannins and other substituted phenol compounds in the wood. Unfortunately these are also the compounds that
contribute to the cedar bleeding. These materials are partially water soluble and become more soluble in alkaline water such as water that runs over a masonry surface
onto partially or un-coated cedar trim.
I'm not discontent about the finishing, but for those who would want avoid such an outcome, opting for solvent based varnishes could be a better idea.
The preparation of the wood for priming is very time consuming, depending on the finished product fineness you require, but definitely worth the effort.
Hope you enjoyed it.
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http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Image Notes
1. Before...
http://www.instructables.com/id/Pallet-Coffee-Table-From-Reclaimed-Wood/
Image Notes
1. ...and after
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