My sons and I decided to recycle discarded pallets by converting them into outdoor patio furniture. The whole project took a weekend and cost a total of R286. It worked so well that our neighbours have insisted we make them a set, too. Here’s how we made our pallet furniture… Words and images by Danny Burwise
Materials and tools required (see image 2)
* Cordless drill
* Pick axe or crow bar
* Wood glue
* Screws (80 mm)
* Wood sealer
* Tape measure
* Compressor and spray gun
* 12 pallets
When sourcing pallets, ensure that you get them from your local retailers such as Spar, Pick n Pay or your local green grocer. Most of these retailers are more than willing to part with them as long as you can carry them away yourself. Stay away from chemical suppliers, as there could be toxins in the wood from the chemicals. Try to find the same sizes, as it makes life easier when putting it all together.
1. Quickly sand all of the pallets with rough sandpaper before you begin.
2. Once that’s done, it’s time to make the base of your table and of each of your two chairs.
Using the pick axe or crow bar, remove the inner planks (as per image 3 and 4) of six of the pallets so that you have frames for the table and the two chairs. You will need to two pallets for the base of the table and two more for each of the chairs.
Tip: I prefer using a pick axe to remove the inner planks, as it doesn’t break them.
3. Remove all the nails and pieces of plank that could not be taken off with the pick axe or crow bar.
4. Apply glue to the bottom frame, then glue the two frames together, top to bottom (see image 5).
5. Use screws to secure the frames (I screwed them in sideways into the centre and sides).
6. Add one full pallet on top for the seat area (don’t forget to apply glue before placing the full pallet on top of the base), then secure with screws (see image 6).
7. The backrest is made with left over bits and bobs: using glue and screws, attach three upright planks to the back of the seat, then attach three planks sideways across the vertical planks (see image 7).
8. To make an armrest, position two planks perpendicularly at one end of the chair, then glue and screw them together, as well as to the base and backrest (see image 8). Repeat this step to make the armrest for the other side of the chair, and for the armrests on the other chair.
9. I made the table in exactly the same way as the chairs, except that I used left over planks to make a solid slab for the top of the table.
10. Sand all of the surfaces again, then spray with your choice of wood sealer. I used a tinted wood sealer. You can also paint the wood sealer on to all of the surfaces, if you prefer.
11. We used some old sponge mattresses to make the cushions (cut to fit), which we covered in old curtain material.
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