In our final DIY Workshop Challenge, reader James Thomson repurposes a pallet to fashion a garden planter and wins a Makita DHP458ZK Cordless 18V Lithium-Ion Impact Drill Kit.
The theme of the final episode of our year-long challenge, In The Garden, drew entries as diverse as tree houses and water features. Some of them displayed considerable ingenuity. Other than that, entrants faced just one minor complication, if it can be called that: unlike Challenge No. 3, which was all about power saving, this time around they were required to use at least one power tool.
The winning design is a garden planter, in the form of a wheelbarrow, made from pallet wood. The wheelbarrow can be filled with soil or a couple of smaller pots for planting. A lining of plastic may improve the lifespan, but is not essential.
Construction is straightforward and involves minimal funds, James says, as the bulk of the material is obtainable for free. He cadged pallets from a local business and broke them up using just a hammer and large screwdriver. Older pallets in bad condition may need a crowbar. It can be completed easily in one day.
1. Larger pieces of pallet are used for the main structure and handles. If the pallets obtained do not have these, two thinner pieces glued and screwed together achieve the same result. Cut to desired length, cut out grips if necessary, round off edges and drill appropriate hole for broomstick axle.
2. Cut typical pallet boards to length, slightly oversized to fit over appropriate area of main supports (see plan for dimensions). Nail these in place; one nail per board is sufficient. Add a screw to the end boards, as they will support the sides.
3. Trim oversized boards against supports using jigsaw. Sides are constructed with two typical boards connected by two short pieces on the outside. A single screw per joint is enough. The front and back sides have an angle to them; see plan for angle and dimensions.
4. Secure the front and back sides first, with three screws into the base boards, which were secured with screws earlier. Then attach longer side boards with two screws into the front and back side boards each, and one extra screw into the middle of the base.
5. The wheel is made from three typical boards side by side to give the required width. These should be laminated perpendicular to another trio of boards, to give breadth and strength. Cut to a circle shape (approximately 300 mm diameter) using a bandsaw. Dowel sticks through the broomstick axle keep the wheel centred. Leg length is cut to appropriate dimension for good aesthetic feel.
Note: Hand tools can be substituted for all machines used rip saw for table saw, jigsaw for bandsaw, hand drill for drill press – but obviously this will require considerably more effort to construct.
This article was originally published in the March 2016 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.