Building a coffee table from pallets is a fun and challenging woodworking project. It not only lets you reuse materials that would otherwise be thrown away, but it also lets you get creative with your design.
In this post, we’ll watch as Jesper from Jesper Makes makes a one-of-a-kind, rustic coffee table out of pallets. Along the way, he makes a lot of mistakes and learns lessons that any do-it-yourself woodworker can use.
Start of the Project
His wife told him to clean up his workshop and make something important. He decides to do both of these things at once by making a coffee table out of the pallet blocks he already has.
He wants to use many different kinds of wood and have both the end grain and the face grain show. He knows there are many ways this could go wrong, but he’s willing to take the chance.
After gluing all the blocks together, Jesper realizes that this is going to be a hard glue-up. He decides to glue the two long sides together first to make things easier. This lets him squeeze the blocks from all sides while keeping their shape. Jesper says that the glue alone is more than enough to make this tabletop stable, and that if all the blocks were the same size, there wouldn’t be all these gaps and holes between them.
Jesper wants to pour black epoxy resin into the blocks’ cracks, spaces, and nail holes. He wraps the mold in plastic wrap and duct tape so that the resin doesn’t leak out of the bottom.
Jesper says that if you want to do an epoxy pour, you need to get the right mixing ratio and mix it for longer than you think. He also says that epoxy won’t cure right if it isn’t mixed.
When Jesper pours the epoxy, he finds that the small cracks and gaps soak up more than he thought they would. He orders bigger buckets of epoxy, and the second and third pours don’t happen for almost a month.
Jesper’s mold does leak a little, so he suggests putting in a small amount of epoxy first and letting it harden before putting in the big amount.
Getting it flat and done
Jesper uses a router to make the tabletop flat, and then he burns the wood to make it look old. Even though he has burned a lot of wood before, he makes the mistake of heating the epoxy too much, which softens it.
Jesper also tries to finish the tabletop with just one coat of furniture lacquer, but it doesn’t look the way he wants it to. He figures out that he needs to sand the tabletop more and put on more than one coat of finish to get the look he wants.
Jesper makes several mistakes during the project and learns some important lessons:
- Glue-ups can be hard, but you can make them easier by sticking the long sides together first.
- When pouring epoxy, make sure to mix it for longer than you think and in the right amount.
- Epoxy that isn’t mixed right won’t harden.
- Before pouring a big amount of epoxy, start with a small amount to let it cure and seal any leaks.
- Be careful not to heat the epoxy too much when burning wood with it, or it will soften.
- To get the finish you want, sand the tabletop more and put on more than one layer of finish.
Jesper’s project to make a coffee table out of pallets shows that even skilled woodworkers can make mistakes and learn from them. By telling other DIY woodworkers about his mistakes and what he learned from them, Jesper helps them avoid making the same mistakes.
Take Jesper’s advice and be patient, careful, and willing to learn if you want to build a pallet coffee table or anything else out of wood. Even if you’ve been working with wood for a long time, you can always learn more and get better. Accept the challenge, have fun, and don’t be scared to mess up. With time and practice, you will be able to make pieces that are both beautiful and useful.