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DIY: Pallet Bench

25 May

Regular readers know that Em and I enjoy our projects. Last year about this time, I left for work in the morning and came home to a nearly completed pallet table thanks to my wife’s creativity and love of projects.  When we moved to our new house almost exactly a year later, we came across another pallet just begging to be repurposed and turned into something useful.

Em was inspired by something she found online – a pallet bench. With just that bit of inspiration, we were off to build a bench. Actually, I was off…the pallet coffee table was mostly Em’s project, but this bench project ended up mostly mine. It was really a fairly simple project; here’s what we did:

We started off by cutting the middle out of the pallet. If you look below, the piece to the left is the piece we cut out. We were pretty fortunate we found a pallet that had four length-wise planks across the width; some pallets are only three length-wise planks wide. This nice stroke of luck basically gave us the top of the bench nearly completed.

pallet bench

We did add in some extra slats to fill in the gaps on the top of our bench. We used extra pieces of slats from the edges that we were not using. If you wanted the bench to have some gaps in it, then you could get away with not doing this step; however, we wanted the top of our bench to be filled in. Then we started sanding. And sanding. And sanding some more. The pallet was old and pretty rough – and pallets aren’t well sanded or meant to be pretty in the first place. For this project, I don’t think you can sand too much.

pallet bench

Next we added on the legs. We attached them to the inside of the table base using screws. We did not harvest the legs from the actual pallet. We happened to have some 2 x 1 inch pieces of wood that we decided were a great size for the legs. We decided on a height of about 18 inches which we thought was in good proportion to the width of the top which was about 11 inches. To be honest, we had a little trouble getting the screws to go into the sides of the bench, probably because the pallet wood was old and knotted. When we finally did get them in, we were not totally satisfied with the stability of the bench. That was when we decided to put a 4 x 1 plank (also not from the pallet) along the length of the bench just a few inches up from the ground. We then put a small plank on the inside of the legs along the width. We hadn’t originally planned on adding either of these, but they really improved the overall look of the bench and added a lot of stability, which was necessary.

pallet bench

pallet bench

Once again, we did a lot of sanding. A lot of sanding. We also did a bit of testing and wiggling around to see if we were happy with the extra support that we were able to add on. In the end, we were. Then it was time to stain and finish the entire bench. We originally used a stain called “golden oak” but that was really yellow-ish and not very attractive, so we decided to go over that stain with a darker stain, “special walnut” which really turned out much better. We then used two generous coats of a spray on polycrylic to finish off the bench.

IMG_20150319_203503221 (1)

Throughout the entire project, the puppy kept an eye on me through the cat door that looks into the garage.

Here is the finished product. We decided to put it right by the front entry underneath our coat-hook mirror. It goes pretty well and also ties in with some of the other wood furniture we have, as well as the overall beachy feel that we like throughout our house. In this location we probably won’t actually sit on it too much, but it a nice looking piece (if I do say so myself!) that we also use for some functional storage space and a place to set things. It’s also there if we ever do need to pull it out to accommodate extra guests.

Overall we are very happy with the way the bench turned out. It looks like a nice bench and does add some function. The project really wasn’t too difficult or expensive, although, truth and transparency, it was a project that stretched over several weekends. This was largely due to us taking on other projects in the same time frame that we gave priority over the bench. But we did get it done, and we do like it. Another successful pallet project!

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