Of all the old deteriorated wooden by-products of big business, who would have thought a pallet would make it into the artistic limelight. DIYers love cheap supplies and you can’t go any cheaper than free, so a discarded pallet is not only a good source of real wood but also has a weathered appearance that can highlight a rustic, or manly, room.
Recent scans of pinterest have revealed many styles and designs for the pallet re-purposer. The imaginative creations from those old work horses can really spike the creative juices and make you man up to the challenge. If you can get the women to let you bring an old pallet inside the house, well that’s just mustard on the dog. Reusing the wood slats and hardware is a bit of a challenge since the weathered boards tend to split, but a little wood glue can return a little dexterity to the wood before trying to regain that original pallet look.
A quick spin through my local Lowes supplied me with a few used pallets for my adventures so I ventured to my garage amped up for some DIY that represented a liquor bar made exclusively from pallets. A matching wine-n-stein glass rack idea also bounced around inside my head and I was anxious to see if I could make it work.
One of my finds had been rebuilt a couple times so not only did it sport old grinded nails with a bit of rust but it also had a nice aged look that would highlight my bars roughneck appeal. The slats were thin and frail from weather so extra care was used when prying them loose, but a little splitting on the ends did add some character to the piece.
The wine-n-stein rack proved a bit more challenging since the thin cut slats practically fell apart. Pressing the slats together with wood glue and letting them dry made finer cuts possible for that in between area at the glass stem while still keeping the original pallet look. Steel cable completed the look and added the extra support for the larger steins and tumblers that manipulate my collection.
Finishing the pieces with a clear matte spray added a touch of stability to the wood while giving it a wet look that complemented the piece. Moving your pallet project from the garage into the house might be the hardest part of this chore depending on your significant others opinion of splinters, but with minimal costs in supplies just doing this project for fun is worth the time.
When looking for pallets
Look for a pallet that has some character. i.e. ground off nails, weathered slats, well rounded forklift slots. Totally disassemble your pallet trying not to split slats or bend hardware because we want an authentic look as we try to retain the pallet design and add stability to our construction.
Be aware of your cut lines
With so many cut nails in this wood I had difficulty trying to make my design symmetrical without hitting a nail. It happens. It may have dulled my blade but I think it really gives the bar a nice rustic feel as well.
Carefully reassemble your piece
It will be impossible to remove all the slats without some splitting. The sun baked wood gets brittle and reusing the old nails doesn’t make it any easier when trying to pound the bar together. Just keep calm and try to save as many slats as you can… Just in case.
Stem standoffs are an SOB
In hindsight I would have glued and clamped my slats for this part before reassembly. The brittle pieces were hard to cut in the first place and then nailing them together as they fell out of the project took my patience to the limit. Save yourself some trouble and glue your slats on top of each other first!