Pallet wood might not be an obvious choice of material for making a smart side table, but with a little cutting, sanding and staining, it’ll look sleek and stylish – and it can often be picked up for free at builder’s merchants. We varnished alternate pieces and added hairpin legs for an expensive-looking console for next to nothing.
You will need:
- 120-grit sandpaper or an electric sander (if you have one)
- Handsaw with a 45-degree set square
- Claw hammer
- 2 sash clamps (optional)
- Colron refined beeswax in Jacobean Dark Oak
- Ronseal interior varnish in Matt Clear
- Gorilla wood glue
- Panel pins (optional)
- Measuring tape
- 2 x paintbrushes, either 25mm or 50mm
- Work bench/flat surface
- Rag (for varnishing)
- Dustpan and brush
- 2 x wood pallets (can be found on Facebook Marketplace or builder’s merchants)
- Brackets, 5 small or 2 large
- 2 x hairpin legs
- Perimeter trim (more than twice the thickness of the pallet strips)
- Drill (with Phillips drill bit) and Phillips screwdriver
- 1cm screws (2 for each bracket and 3 each for the hairpin legs)
Use the claw of the hammer to carefully lever off the strips of wood from the pallet. Using the flat side of the hammer, hit the pointed end of the nails to get them out of the wood.
To make the base, take three strips of wood, measure to 80cm on each and mark with a pencil. On each piece, line up the set square on the handsaw to the mark and draw a straight line across the width of the wood strip. Use the handsaw to cut along the lines, then sand with the sandpaper or electric sander and seal the strips with a coat of varnish. Once dry, glue the long sides of the strips together and leave for 24 hours to dry, or hold them together with sash clamps for around 30 minutes.
To make the chevron table top, take the remaining strips and cut 16 pieces of wood that each measure 30cm (measure and cut these in the same way you did for the base). Use the electric sander or sandpaper to sand each 30cm wood strip on all sides. Brush away the sawdust.
Place the pieces in a chevron pattern on a flat surface to check for fit; try out the pattern and move them around to see which strips fit together best. Measure to check that the arrangement fits the base size, which is 80 x 30cm. Varnish every other chevron with a paintbrush (the ones you want to remain their natural colour), then use a rag to wax the remaining unvarnished chevrons with beeswax.
Once the base is dry, find the centre point and draw a line lengthways with a pencil and ruler. Using the set square, at regular intervals draw lines at 45 degrees to the centre line in the directions of the intended chevrons; these will act as a guide for where to line up the chevron top pieces. Next, find the centre point of the width of each chevron wood strip and mark on the short edge. Glue (and use panel pins, if preferred) the chevron strips onto the base, ensuring that the centre line marked on each strip is laid on the centre line of the base and the length aligns with the 45-degree angle.
Once the glue has dried (after 24 hours), flip the table upside-down with the base facing up. Use the handsaw to saw away the overhanging edges of the chevron top around the perimeter – use the base edges as a guide.
Sand and beeswax the trim for the perimeter. To create the mitred corners, first make an initial diagonal cut at one end. From the shorter side of this diagonal cut, measure 80cm and mark a line, mirroring the initial cut. Follow this process to mark two 80cm pieces and two 30cm pieces, and cut – measure your table before cutting to check they will fit. Glue and panel pin (if needed) the trim in place.
Flip the table upside-down and attach the hairpin legs to the front with three screws for each leg. Fit five (small) or two (large) brackets to the back of the table. Use one screw to secure the bracket to the table and one to secure it to the wall.
Project and feature Luke Green @grain_line. Main photo Phil Sowels. Styling Beth Charlton Lucas.