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A lot of people have started using pallets as they are relatively cheap, sturdy, and rust-free. They’re a great alternative to plywood boards for DIY projects or furniture making!
However, there’s not much information about how to work with them effectively online so I’ve decided to share my experience working with these versatile materials in this blog post.
Here I’d like to tell you about pretty much everything you should know before you start your fun with pallets :)I’ll be writing about tools, materials, and all the necessary stuff you’ll need, to make your working with pallets quick, effective, and most importantly safe.
So first things first…
A workplace or space
Ideally, a garage or a garden, or a shed(?) Anywhere with an electricity supply and good ventilation. If you have a workbench, that’s fantastic, but you could easily be doing everything on the ground.
I guarantee you’ll have a nice leg workout sanding on the ground 🙂 Check my post on setting up a woodworking shop in small and big spaces for more tips.
Well, I’ve had better than the gym 😉 Anyway, if you think that’s too much for your back, etc., you can build your workbench from….. yes, you’re right, PALLETS 😉
And moving on to…
Tools and materials
I’m just gonna list all the stuff you’ll need eventually, with some nice pictures. Just in case you are a beginner and don’t know much about pliers or crowbars or saws 🙂
So there you go…
Hand and power tools:
- Sander – you can use a sanding block, but I think it’s just too much work for big projects (power sander – check these posts for the best finishing sander, best random orbital sander, or best benchtop belt sander recommendations)
- Sharp knife, the kind you use to cut carpets
- Stapler and staples, no, not what you use in an office kind 😉
Other materials and accessories:
- Paint, varnish, wood stain
- Nails, screws
- Assorted paintbrushes
- White spirit for diluting paint, cleaning paintbrushes, etc.
- Measuring tape
- Sandpaper – a selection of grits
- Workbench or anything you can use to put in the ground like tarpaulin
- Face masks/respirator
- Safety goggles
- Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs
- Old, used clothes to wear
- Material clothes/old rugs
Ufff… you probably thought that list would never end 😉 Believe me. This can go and on and on. There’s always going to be something else making the job easier and quicker 🙂
That may seem like a lot of stuff, but if you’re a keen DIY-er like me, you probably have most of them collected over time. If you just starting your adventure with DIY and have a small budget, begin with the easy project.
Use simple tools like a handsaw, a hammer, or a sanding block. However, I don’t recommend saving on safety equipment like goggles, gloves, or masks.
You don’t have to splash a lot of cash on them. The basic ones bought in any hardware store are better than none.
So before you start you should have a rough idea of what you want to create. Have a look in the INSPIRATIONS section or browse through the blog.
That will help you visualize what it is you want and what it should look like. You can design your project on paper or on a computer. Whatever flows your boat 🙂
Don’t know which pallets are safe to use? Check the Preparing Pallets for Upcycling article.
Make sure you do the measuring before, especially for more complicated projects. Knowing your pallet size and type will give you an idea of what you can use them for in a particular design. More on pallet types and sizes here.
Then you just go with the flow. You’ll see that some projects will require more pallets to be used (dismantled) to get nice, quality planks.
It depends on if you’re working with new or used pallets. New ones are easier to work with. I mean they don’t need so much preparation. The downside is they’re pretty hard to come by unless you are willing to pay for them.
Used ones need to be prepared before they look nice. You have to make sure they are dry, with no sign of spillage, and sanded in the process. I personally prefer used pallets because the finished look has more character,
If you think I should mention something else, please leave a comment, and I surely look into it 🙂
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