Beautiful Work Bench from Pallets

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Project by ToddHolmDotCom posted 04-30-2014 03:02 AM 10504 views 19 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So my sister-in-law has found herself in need of a hobby. I, of course, suggested wood turning because I find it to be fun, creative, and almost therapeutic at times. She is very interested and gave me the go ahead to start collecting the things she would need for the new hobby (she will reimburse me). Craig’s List yielded a Delta Mini/midi lathe for a negotiated price of $200 (someone left it in a rental property and after several months the property manager sold it, it looks like it have less than 10 hours of use on it). A cheap grinder from Harbor Freight (we will replace the grinding wheels) and I will let her get a start with my chisels until she decides what kind of turning she likes best and purchases her own. But all of this will require a decent workbench to go in her garage (which also houses a couple of cars most of the time, so it has to be compact and sturdy). But compact and sturdy usually also means spendy. I am trying to keep the sticker shock down so I decided that I would make her a bench out of salvaged lumber from pallets. I am very pleased with how it turned out. It has some serious weight to it. It should the legs are roughly 3X3 hardwood, the bench top itself is a little over 1.8 inches thick and 20X41. The aprons are a little over an inch and a half thick and five inches tall. It is all sealed with Waco Danish Oil. The only thing I am not crazy about is how close the grinder is to the tail of the lathe. It will fit but I think it will feel crammed. So I have decided to add an extension with a couple of pipe fittings where the grinder can sit. I just need to put the wheels on it now so she can lift one end and wheel the other. When I first made it I cut it to the same height as my lathe bench and then realized she is a good 6 inches shorter than me so I trimmed it down to her size.

I am quite pleased with it and I think I have less than $20 in it between glue and bolts. The wheels will add another $10 but a nice study hardwood bench for $30 is a bargain in my book.

-- Todd "I am just a teacher and a carpenter, that doesn't mean I have a God complex. But I am complex."

22 comments so far

View Jeffups's profile


77 posts in 3057 days

#1 posted 04-30-2014 03:28 AM

Looks like a butcher block top. Never thought of gluing pallet material together like that. Great job.

-- I have to remember this is a hobby..

View Jos's profile


59 posts in 2796 days

#2 posted 04-30-2014 04:05 AM

It is beautiful. Great job.

View LeTurbo's profile


234 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 04-30-2014 05:15 AM

Proof there’s no such thing as ugly wood. Nicely done, Todd. Hell, even if she doesn’t get into turning, that bench is good enough for inside.

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 2886 days

#4 posted 04-30-2014 06:15 AM

Great job! Especially love the way the table top looks!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View Ken90712's profile


18058 posts in 4403 days

#5 posted 04-30-2014 08:56 AM

Awesome use of the pallets. What a great job… Always fun to look at these type of projects and how nice they come out! A+++++

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 04-30-2014 09:34 AM

Beautiful bench

View doitforfun's profile


199 posts in 2822 days

#7 posted 04-30-2014 10:51 AM

It’s too nice for a garage. I’m going to start looking for pallets now.

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View TimWood's profile


196 posts in 3456 days

#8 posted 04-30-2014 11:39 AM

Awesome!!!!! I’ve cut some pallets before and that’s a lot of work getting all of it ready to glue. THEN gluing all of the irregular lengths…many many steps and days. That was a lot of work but a beautiful bench came from it. Good job Todd!

-- Tim Harrelson

View Oldtool's profile


3309 posts in 3405 days

#9 posted 04-30-2014 11:58 AM

Great bench, best use of pallet wood I’ve seen so far.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View vetwoodworker's profile


104 posts in 2921 days

#10 posted 04-30-2014 12:21 PM

Awesome look and great build! Favorite! Strong Work!

View ToddHolmDotCom's profile


99 posts in 4014 days

#11 posted 04-30-2014 12:24 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I am really happy with how it turned out. Tim the prep and glue up wasn’t as bad as you might think. Because i kept it to 41 inches long, only 3-4 of the strips are spliced together (but they do stand out). The rest span the full length. I cut everything to about 2 inches thick and then made sure all the gaps were on the bottom side. Taking the pallets apart is a real chore but I have to give a big shout out to fellow lumberjock Izzy Swan, his “Pallet Pal” (!menu/ch8j) turned that chore into a breeze. I think I ended up using the better part of five pallets. The first one I took apart took me an entire afternoon. But I downloaded his plans and built the pallet pal and took apart the other four pallets in an afternoon. You get some cracking in the wood but the butcher block style hides most of that and it does not impact the structural integrity. I highly recommend it. Again, thanks for the feedback everyone.

-- Todd "I am just a teacher and a carpenter, that doesn't mean I have a God complex. But I am complex."

View Dautterguy's profile


51 posts in 4976 days

#12 posted 04-30-2014 12:24 PM

Man oh man are you lucky. All of the palets we get down here in the Deep South are painted,or impregnated with a deep Blue paint. No way of sanding it off, nor putting it through a plainer. What a beautiful bench.

View PaulDoug's profile


2610 posts in 2918 days

#13 posted 04-30-2014 12:48 PM

Certainly made a nice table top and you stole that lathe at $200! I’m a little concern that the table with the tools on it looks like it would be top heavy. Do you have a way to fasten it down? Hope your S-I-L will post some of her work.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View sausageking1's profile


46 posts in 2703 days

#14 posted 04-30-2014 01:10 PM

Great looking bench top! Pallets are one of my favorite sources of wood….I live near an international port in sc…if you can find stacks . Of pallets at importers and distribution centers, you would be amazed at the different types of wood that are “common” in other countries. ..especially south America/Asia. Its like a treasure hunt sometimes and usually they will give them to me or trade for another pallet. I always pick up a couple of nice pine ones that are free somewhere else.

-- "The difficult I can do right away. .....the impossible will take a little longer! "

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2759 days

#15 posted 04-30-2014 02:51 PM

That’s a great job and I’ll bet your sister in law is WOWed.

-- Dennie - Tennessee

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