Pallet to Shelves

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Project by danzaland posted 07-20-2010 01:58 AM 3268 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pallet to Shelves
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Nothing like being a in your housefor 2 years and not fully unpacking. The Mrs. needed shelf space for her volumes of Romance novels. The forklift company my father works for had a scrubber delivered on an 8’x5’ pallet. I didn’t get a shot of that in one piece, but she was heavy and rough sawn. I dismantled it kinda carefully, in order to use the wood. The sledge hammer worked well. I should have used a hitting block, but there wasn’t too much crushing. Many days later I purchased a power planer from Harbor Freight. On sale ($44.99 from 59.99) then a 20% off coupon too, but added the 2 year protection plan for $9.99, so I think I am covered. Started planing that day and then remembered to take pics.
rough vs planned

I purposely left some of the saw marks in for a rustic look and wanting to keep some wood to work with.
The shelf part is pine. The stringers of the pallet and my uprights are oak.

My planing job was mediocre at best, but I wasn’t worried about it for this project.
I cut 2 stringers in half to use the opening of the fork slot as the self locations and the third on the top.
Here it is roughed out before notching out for the supports.
Rough layout

From there I notched out for each upright, chamfered the bottom of the shelves and the sides. Then I also chamfered the primary face of the uprights going base to base of my router on the “openings”.

Got all the cutting done, radiused the non-visible sides, sanded with 80 grit, applied some Watco and let dry. The next morning I started assembly. Pilot holes for 3” deck screws from the back side of the oak into the pine shelf, and a couple of screws in the top that you won’t see.

Having set my uprights 8” in from the end and then putting the rest of the uprights 16” on center, I used to 3” lags left over from the kids pre-fab playset to lag it into the studs.
Shelf on wall

The shelf with a few items on it.. for now….
Loaded shelf

The raised ranch shelf made things a little easier to install, being it is resting on the shelf too, and it provides a 4th shelf.

Your questions and comments please!

-- I don't know what God is. But I know what He ISN'T - Jordan Maxwell

9 comments so far

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3521 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 04:12 AM

nice use of reclaimed stock. the rough boards work well with the precise geometry.

I can’t tell from the pics – is it finished at all?

View cwdance1's profile


1158 posts in 3315 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 05:06 AM

Very nice design and use of wood. Great project.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3732 days

#3 posted 07-20-2010 07:16 AM

Looks good. How did that $45 planer work and hold up?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View danzaland's profile


29 posts in 3301 days

#4 posted 07-20-2010 02:17 PM

Finishing: I put one coat of rag applied Watco on it.

Planer: So far so good. I have had no complaints. It has started every time and runs smoothly. I did buy the $9.99 2 year protection plan. the dude said I could cut the planer up into little pieces and still bring it back for a replacement. I will say that everything is not as square or flat as many would probably want. I was not worried about that for this project. IN fact it adds a little whimsy to it. And the reason it is not all flat is operator useage and not the tools fault. If I had been going for perfectly straight I would have looked for a buddy with a real planer or jointer. I guess the mafell 12 inch planer would work too…. just not the $4600 price tag.

-- I don't know what God is. But I know what He ISN'T - Jordan Maxwell

View bench_dogg's profile


63 posts in 3193 days

#5 posted 07-20-2010 04:29 PM

Nice work, I really like the way this came out.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3732 days

#6 posted 07-21-2010 08:04 AM

Why use a $4600 planer on pallet scrap? :-)) That’s a good one!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View timo's profile


9 posts in 2932 days

#7 posted 07-21-2010 06:25 PM

Im always happy to find more uses for pallets. I’ve used them for several projects over the years. The wood
found in pallets can be just about anything. As You know the hardest part of building with pallets is taking them apart. Those screw nails are tough to remove, especially from oak. I’ve tried several ways to get them out without damaging the wood too much. If I plan to use only the top boards, I just cut the nails with a sawsall then use a punch to drive the heads up and pull them. If it’s the runners Im after I cut the top boards
close to the runner, then spilit the pieces around the nails and then pull um. The short pieces left always come
in handy later. Im in the process of building a kitchen island that I’ll be posting soon. Im using pine pallet wood vertically
on the front and side. I came across some pallets that had rounded over side edges on the top planks. I measured the length of the area to be covered and cut width to size on the table saw. This also squared the
edges at the same time. Im into the rustic look on most of My projects. The roughsawn lumber found in a lot of pallets is perfect for the look Im after. Usually, I just make a pass or two with a belt sander with 60-100 grit then use an orbital sander with a finer grit disc before finishing. It works for Me! Living here in Honduras, it’s not uncommon to find a pallet made of mahogany or other exotic woods. Of
course it’s not prime and normally has flaws like knots , wormholes, or discoloration or whatever. But, with a
pass through the planer it becomes just what Im looking for. Well, I really like the shelves, just what I need for My spare bedroom. Thanks for the ideas…......Tim

-- Timo, Honduras

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3732 days

#8 posted 07-21-2010 06:59 PM

timo, that is what I do too. I have never found a good way to take most pallets apart without cutting them except for soft wood. Sometimes that is the only way for them too. Lots of times they are going to be kindling anyway so nails in teh ashes don’t hurt anything ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View LittleKaren's profile


7 posts in 2906 days

#9 posted 08-07-2010 07:48 PM

way to recycle! good job.

-- Karen

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