Many people who want to start woodworking have to spend thousands of dollars on tools just to get started. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. I’m Mark, and I’ve been making things out of wood with pallets for about five years. I didn’t have thirty thousand dollars worth of tools, but I was very interested in making beautiful furniture out of old wood.
Why do we use pallets?
I use pallets because they are free and are just lying around everywhere. So I think that free wood is the easiest to get into and try out. When I first started, I only had a few simple power tools in my shed. Ryobi is 20 years old. So, I started it off with a pry bar and a mallet and started taking pallets apart. Pulling apart pallets takes time, but if you’re doing this as a hobby or as a side job and are willing to put in the time to learn and not expect to make that time back right away, pallets are a good place to start.
The First Workbench I Built
Let me tell you a little bit about my past and how I built my shed. Five years ago, I decided to try building a simple workbench so I could see if I liked it before I started spending money on it. Obviously, when you’re working with pallet wood, you can only do so much with what you have. You get a lot of thin strips and, if you’re lucky, some thicker pieces that stretch straight. I wanted to build a big workbench, so I had to figure out how to put all this wood together to make a big beam. I took out the nails, hand-planed some of the wood, glued it together with simple PVA glue, clamped it, and then planed that side. Then I fell in love with side grain furniture made from pallet wood.
Early Construction and Selling on the Market
My first project was a simple coffee table. I thought someone might want to buy this coffee table when I was done with it. I put that thing up for sale on Facebook Marketplace for $90, and it sold within an hour. I better build something else. I did the same thing again—roughly clean up the wood, glue it together, and flatten it with an electric hand plane to make those unique slabs of pallet wood. Then I put together a table for the hall. Again, I put this one on Marketplace and sold it for $120. I got about 20 messages asking, “Is this still for sale?” “Yes, that’s right.” Then number 19 said, “No, sorry, that’s not it.” I then made two more tables for the hallway. Then I sent a message to everyone who was interested. I sold those two tables for only 120 dollars again. I then sent everyone else a message saying, “I’m happy to make these. This is something I like to do, so it will take some time. Let me know if you want one, and we went from there.
Why are hall tables used?
What are they for? It’s the one piece of furniture that doesn’t have to be amazing in how it’s put together. It will just sit at the end of the hallway or some other place in the house. It will have a few decorations, picture frames, and other things like that. People just want to have something to do. A lot of people used these hallway tables and occasional tables. So, I started to treat it more like a business and bought better tools, like a table saw and a planer. With these tools, I was able to make more complicated designs and make my work better.
Adding more products to my line
As I got more experience and got better at what I did, I started making more than just hallway tables. I started making coffee tables, shelves for books, and even bed frames out of wood from pallets. The great thing about pallet wood is that each piece has its own unique look and texture. Also, it is very satisfying to turn something that was going to the trash into a beautiful piece of furniture.
Problems We Faced Along the Way
Working with pallet wood isn’t easy, but it can be done. First of all, it can take a long time to take the pallets apart and plane the wood. Also, pallet wood can be uneven, warped, and full of knots, which can make it hard to work with. But these problems can be solved with patience and a little bit of creativity.
The Good Thing About Recycled Wood
When I work with recycled wood, I get two things out of it. I get to make beautiful furniture without spending a lot of money, and I’m also helping to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Taking something that was going to the trash and turning it into a useful piece of art is the best feeling in the world.
One Last Thing
If you want to learn how to work with wood but don’t have a lot of money for tools and materials, you might want to start with pallets. Even though it takes a lot of time, it’s an easy and rewarding way to learn the craft. And who knows, you might like working with recycled wood as much as I do and turn it into a successful business, like I did.