Making a cupboard from some old pallets

Possibly that hardest part of making furniture from pallets is the disassembly process . Sometimes they come apart easily and you can recover almost everything; other pallets split and break and you end up with very little. In any event, this part of the process is time consuming. Each pallet will present its own challenges so here are a few tips on how to take them apart before we start on the construction of the cupboards.

Slam a bolster or cold chisel between the boards and the stringers to cut the nails at that point. Using a claw hammer ought to work but usually splits the wood instead.

Cut the boards at the end first, you'll end up with shorter pieces but the nailed remnants will come away more easily.

Use a punch to knock through any nails that remain.

Use an angle grinder to slice of the nail heads, this leaves burn marks in the pallet but they come apart easily afterwards, and the burn marks look quite good anyway!

If you have access to a table saw, you can take a couple of millimeters off each side so they are nice and uniform.

The sturdier pallets have nice thick stringers whereas the ligther weight ones just have blocks on each corner. There are many different types; keep an eye open next time you are out and about and you'll be surprised at how many different types there are!

I'm using the stringers from pallets used to transport blocks for the frames of my cupboards. They are glued and screwed with 100mm screws. I get my screws here by the way.

I've cut some of the boards to make the frame more rigid and I'm using these two lightweight drawers that I bought very cheaply as they are missing some of the fixings. €6 for the pair!![](upload://v3RJdwx6NpgmrKLJ98G5bumY5Vf.jpg)

I'm using boards from one of the blue pallets for the shelves. No idea why they are blue but you see a lot of them about.

Using glue and a nail gun with 50mm nails to attach them to the frame.

With two of them complete, I can now start on the drawer fronts.

I didn't want them to resemble pallets too closely so I have cut some boards into 20mm wide strips, turned them 90 degrees and glued and screwed them back together.

Cutting a groove into the back of the drawer has allowed the baskets to locate accurately. I then cut a thinner strip to attach the drawer to the front with a couple of screws. I've grooved the back of that strip too for good measure.

Just the doors left to do.

I'm going to frame the doors in more of the strips to match the drawers more closely, again gluing and screwing everything as we go.

Everything gets sanded, but not too much as I want to preserve the character of the timber.

Once that's done I painted it all with bleach to lighten it.

Ready to attach the doors with some basic hinges from Bricomarche

Everything then gets a coat of V33 Aquastop. This stuff dries quickly so after a couple of hours we're ready to move it inside.

Please let me know what you think of it.

If you want to know how to make the concrete top, you can read all about that here;

and there's a table I made from pallets here if you want to see that too.



what a lot of work. But a good result. Next time I will post the chicken hut made out of palettes. (later I've found out that "Uzes materieux" would have reimbursed me 18 €uros per palette...)

It's all the rage these days!

Your pallet bug seems to have infected Leroy Merlin, James:![](upload://pSuGl5tdr67GlJqKSxk0wr930Bp.JPG)

That is really nice.

Thanks Brian, I use 'Extrait de Javel' but I'm not sure it's any more effective than the standard stuff. If you want super strong bleach, try dissolving the bleach tablets in water. Or maybe try pool chlorine, wear eye protection though!

Great job again James. I'm interested in the bleach you used. I used to use some 'super-bleach' in the UK to lighten wood but haven't yet sussed out the French equivalent yet. What was the one you used?



Hi Marielle, glad you like it, would love to see some photos of your projects, do posts them here if you like.

Yes it's the clear V33 Aquastop.


Wow, that looks great! We love making things of old wood (we made the kitchen cupboards ourselves amongst others), but have never tried old pellets as they seem too small and fragile, but you completely changed my mind! I didn't know the bleach trick, will try that one, and which colour aquastop did you use? Incolore? (I love the V33 chene moyen and chene foncé, do everything with them!)

what I need is a British - American dictionary/translator...

Thanks for that Mark, looks like I'm going to need to learn to weld now!

Great job you've done there. as for prying the boards try making yourself one of these

work's a treat.

It's a big metal box Christian, I forget what they're called in French :)

I think you may have started an ex-pat pallette rush, mostly all of which will no doubt end up with half built "cupboards" in their yards. You make this very difficult job look quite easy. You are skilled. Yours look superb. You are welcome round our place to do us some pallette cupboards!

Oh ... Ok then - what's a "skip"?

(why can't y'all speak English, fer cryin' out loud?!)

Seriously, though - that's great news.

Still haven't started the project, but its getting closer and closer.

Yes Kri, the one in Narosse/Dax has a skip full of them.

Nice work, James.

What's a "tip"? (dechetterie?)

Thanks James - local tip, here I come!

HI Les, some of these pallets were delivered to me with blocks on a while back and the rest I picked up from the local tip.

Very smart! Love the idea of reclaiming - but not sure where to get pallets?

Any ideas? I'm in 85