Pallet wood is a free resource which is surprisingly useful. Building useful stuff from pallets is great fun and can really improve your home and garden.
If you are looking for a first project, then this woodstore is a great introduction to the world of pallet recycling.
Getting hold of pallets.
Many builders merchants and garden centres are happy to give pallets away for free. Ask permission first, then take what you need. Our log store uses the wood from 3 standard pallets.
Taking pallets apart
There are two main ways of taking pallets apart. You can pry or saw. Prying the wood off pallets is hard work due to the big nails that hold them together. If you have a powered jig saw then you will find that running this up along one side, then down the other will quickly remove one side of the pallet. Turn it round, do the same on the other side and now you will have a whole set of slats that are just held on the central truss. These can be pried away, the nails removed and you are good to go.
Building your log store
This is easier to see than read about, so follow these photos for a clearer understanding of what is involved.
Firstly I lad down a base of four struts connected to create a base frame. Note the uneven concrete surface.
The short sides and the uprights were reclaimed garden fence posts that had come down in a storm a couple of years ago. I sawed them back to good wood and sealed the grain end with a stopper solution.
Not all the uprights were the same length. The two at the front needed to be 6 inches shorter than the two at the back, but then I also had to do a little maths to take into account the uneven floor surface.
Now I added a back from reclaimed pallet boards. Some of them were painted blue because they had already been used on another garden project. About 8 years ago they were part of a planter, but when we no longer wanted that I took it apart and kept the wood that was still in good condition.
It is important to keep everything true, so use your spirit level regularly. The rest of the toolkit for this project was very simple. A ruler, an electric drill/screwdriver, a saw a hammer and a pencil.
The boards at the sides kept the whole thing very solid, but as the front was open I decided to add a couple of corner braces for extra stability. These are cut at 45% angles and once drilled and screwed into place the log store is suddenly very solid indeed. These corner braces are an ancient trick. They form triangles, which as you know don’t flex in the way parallelograms do. By adding the triangles we are removing weakness from the structure.
Log Store Roof
The roof was the one bit where I didn’t have reclaimed materials to hand so a trip to Wickes later my pocket was lighter but I had enough wood and felt for a water tight shed roof.
I built a light frame. The double lengths of runners are there to give me a good solid edge to tack the plyboard to.
I cut the plyboard to length, tacked it to the frame and then covered with roofing felt. Finally, adding a simple wooden bar at the front of the roof neatens the whole thing up.
Lastly the base on which to sit the logs was a simple case of slotting in a load of pallet lengths. I didn’t feel I needed to bother to secure the base boards to the frame as I may have to move the whole thing at some point in the future (we have been talking about an extension to the house) and it is more than heavy enough already. Making sure the fronts of the floor slats are all in line makes the whole thing look nice and neat. The only job left was to fill the log store with logs and stand back to admire the finished job.
My wife has now given me a book on stacking wood the Norwegian way because even this lovely log store isn’t pretty enough. I am now supposed to fill it with neatly stacked even logs rather than just chucking the wood in the hole. Some people are never satisfied.
Now do you want to look at loads more ideas for using pallet wood … or how to sharpen your axe? If you want something to do with all the scrap ends of pallets that are doubtless lying around, do the local wildlife a favour and build a bird box from recycled pallet wood.