From Pallet to Coffee Table

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Project by A Slice of Wood Workshop posted 06-20-2011 07:40 PM 8780 views 7 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was dual purpose, 1-make a coffee table for my grandma-in-law, 2-enter in the glue only contest. I also like to reuse wood, so I found a nice pine pallet up the road (about a 5’x12’ pallet). There was a lot of work and some new trial and errors I had to go through. Every piece of wood had to be planed and jointed. I also attempted and succeeded in mortise and tenon joinery (first time ever trying this joinery). The table is 54”x21”. It stands at 19” tall. The mortise and tenons were quite tricky. I made the mortise a little too deep I believe, but everything fits like a glove. I used gorilla glue for the whole project including joining the table top together, the aprons into the legs, and setting the table top onto the dowels to give it a rock solid finish. I also was amazed at how much more sturdier this joinery is compared to just butt joints. My table top is held on by dowel joinery. That was also a challenge matching up the holes, but it worked out. Any input is much appreciated. Thanks for looking.

Picture 1-the original pallet (heavy as can be)
Picture 2-pallet cut up
Picture 3-table top pieces getting some GORILLA WOOD GLUE put on
Picture 4-Dry fit of the table top pieces before the glue was put on
Picture 5- THE OUTCOME!!!!

I had lots of fun with this project and learned quite a bit. Again, thank you for looking.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

19 comments so far

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3749 days

#1 posted 06-20-2011 07:52 PM

Wow, nice! Maybe I ought to take some of those Craigslist pallets I keep seeing. The one that some of my machinery was delivered on was terrible wood; I was put off of using them.

View PurpLev's profile


8554 posts in 4254 days

#2 posted 06-20-2011 08:06 PM

very cool and great use of recycled material!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 3297 days

#3 posted 06-20-2011 08:15 PM

Nice job, Tim. I can appreciate the time you spent rehabbing that pallet wood. In my day job, I see a lot of pallets, most of which I wouldn’t let near my blades. I’m sure that as you go on, you’ll learn to appreciate mortice & tennon joinery even more. Thanks for sharing.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

View NaFianna's profile


524 posts in 3632 days

#4 posted 06-20-2011 10:26 PM

Nicely done

-- Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad.......?

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3438 days

#5 posted 06-20-2011 10:37 PM

Another very decent pallet table :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View FlairWoodworks's profile


71 posts in 3144 days

#6 posted 06-20-2011 11:14 PM

There is no harm in making a mortise too deep unless it weakens the wall. Good use of a pallet – pine, nail holes, and country furniture all go together. Pallets are a great source of material if you have the time to pull them apart. Scan them carefully for metal and beware of rocks and sand. The most beautiful piece of wood I’ve ever seen came from a pallet.

-- Chris Wong -- --

View Brett's profile


16 posts in 3181 days

#7 posted 06-21-2011 02:25 AM

I see I am not the only one who likes that pallet wood! LOL. Nice job, looks great!

-- Brett --- HOLY MOLY!

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1914 posts in 4277 days

#8 posted 06-21-2011 04:44 AM

Very nice!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3409 days

#9 posted 06-21-2011 11:52 AM

great re-cycle project. very nice

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View mafe's profile (online now)


12287 posts in 3694 days

#10 posted 06-21-2011 02:37 PM

Super cool pallet project.
I do have a soft spot for recycle.
Hope grand ma will be happy.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3724 days

#11 posted 06-21-2011 03:31 PM

Sharp looking table, great job using pallets, mortise and tenon is the way to go on this type of project, You have done a great job, thanks for sharing

ps. Wonderful gesture to Your Grandma-in-Law

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4278 days

#12 posted 06-21-2011 03:41 PM

Thats a nice looking coffee table, great use for and old pallet.

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1107 posts in 3779 days

#13 posted 06-22-2011 01:19 AM

Thanks everyone for the comments.

@flairwoodworks I almost made the mortises to close together and thought about them weakening the leg so I went and offset them a bit. The longer aprons set back 1/2” while the side aprons sit back 1 1/8”.

@brett I love get really good pallets. I use them around the yard for shade as a cheap Pergola for the dog lot. I even built a dog house for my brother-in-law out of pallets.

@itsmic I did find out that this is the best joinery (as right now) for this type of project. I have built two other 4’x8’ tables and used butt joint with corner braces and this is a lot stronger.

Like I said, thank all of you for the really nice comments.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 3298 days

#14 posted 06-22-2011 01:49 AM

Hey – nice job. I really like the idea of reusing wood. So many times so many people pass it by as useless. Keep up the good work!

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4239 posts in 4181 days

#15 posted 06-29-2011 04:24 PM

Pallet wood, shipping crates & cabinet shop scrap bin finds are all I use.
You did a very nice job and I bet your Grandma-in-law loves it.

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