Furniture & Lighting Woodworking
Scrap To Swank: Turn Pallets Into A Beautiful Desk


Recycling pallets into something else useful is nothing new, but this desk, inspired by bowling lanes and butcher blocks, is, well, inspired. The top is made entirely out of recycled pallets found around a college campus. As this desk is for college, the creator estimates he will move “23 more times before I’m done,” so the legs were bought from IKEA in order to be “easy and non-destructive.” Like many projects here, this desk is a testament to the cool things that can be done with the proper woodworking knowledge and equipment.

The boards were first separated from the pallet by cutting pieces between the support members. This was easier than prying out all of the nails, and helped keep the wood intact. This wood was then planed down to roughly 3/4 of an inch, and after a few more steps to keep everything uniform, the boards were clamped and glued together. Even after all of the preliminary work, it was tough to keep the table completely flat, so more work with a sander, hand plane, and even a rasp was done to get the wood to conform.

In the end, after two coats of satin polyurethane and a pre-stain conditioner, the desk looks really beautiful. Hopefully it will continue to look great after 4, 5, or even 6 years of college!

[via Imgur]

6 thoughts on “Scrap To Swank: Turn Pallets Into A Beautiful Desk

    1. Brett, I cheaped out and used some 10-buck metal sawhorse-style legs from IKEA. They’re sturdy enough, and since I’m a college student I anticipate moving about 1200 more times before I live in the same room for more than 6 months contiguously. This means I’ll be able to fit the table tops in the car real easily and disassemble the legs with four screws for easy transport.

  1. Matt – I’ve made several tables in a very similar manner. I’d suggest looking for a local cabinetry shop to see if you can pay them to put the final glue up thru a thickness sander. I found one near my college, and then my home years later. The $30-$40 I tossed to the carpenter to put it thru a thickness sander a half a dozen times *about 20 min of work* saved me about 12 hours of sanding.

  2. I personally love the idea of being able to recycle something into something new. What really stands out though is that these kind of desks really look incredible. My wife would love to have something that looks all rustic like this. Hopefully this will inspire others as well to make something special out of scrap pieces of wood. Thank you for sharing.

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

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