Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building the Pallet Palace

I wish that I had a bunch of pallets like this, but sadly it is just one of the odd extra pallets that I have left from the construction.  So first we will flip it over...

and show the bottom, notice the three 2x4 rails on the bottom.  As you can see this is a very sound pallet and excellent for use in building,

Some are not, but they are still usefull to dismantle for the wood needed in the construction.  The 2x4's are used to fasten the good pallets together and the slats are used to replace badly damaged or missing ones or fill in between the spaces of the good pallets.

The first step is sorting your pallets and finding good matches where the outside rails match up (unlike these two but I will use them for demonstration anyway.

After you line the pallets up take 2 of the rail from the dismatled pallets and scab them on to the to the inside of the outside rails of the good pallets. (if the middle rails line up, scab one to it also) Long drywall screws work best for this as the hard wood makes it almost impossible to use nails.
I was lucky to have pallets that were 4ft long and only needed to use 2 for each panel.

Here is a before and after....

of scabbing on a rail, I only used one pallet for clarification.

After you join enough pallets to get the height of the wall panel, trim any slats that hang over the edge and add nails to the slats where neccesary and replace any broken or missing slats.
If you want a solid wood wall now you can fill in between the slats with pieces of the dismantled pallets. (see photo above)
Now you have one complete wall panel. Make as many panels as you need for the length of the walls you want.

From here things get more complicated because you can build it many different ways.  It is possible to construct the entire wall on the ground first is you have enough manpower or equiptment to raise it. But since we didn't I will just tell you how we did it. It may not be the most sound construction method but due to limited time it was the fastest and if it survives the harsh winter winds and weight of the snow, I will strengthen it next summer.  I don't want to give the impression that it is rickety, as it is a very sound addition, but there are a few things I plan on doing to make sure it will last for a long time.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, all we did was lay a treated 4x4 base, and after all of the wall panels were constructed, one by one they were erected and toe-nailed to it and each other, again using 3 1/2 inch drywall screws. So in effect the walls are 4x4 stud, 2x4 stud, 4x4 stud construction. The corners are filled in with additional 2x4's.

After all of the walls were up and a doorway constructed a chaulk-line was made at the end wall and the excess was removed using a chainsaw. Then a 2x4 was used to cap it off to attach the rafters to.

Then another chalk-line was used to mark the roof pitch and the other walls were trimmed and the first 2x10 rafters were cut, notched and attached to them.  Then the rest of the rafters were installed and covered with 7/16" OSB sheets.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You are very clever and resourceful. I love that you are savvy enough to recycle and reuse lumber in this way, instead of buying new. I'd like to try making a fence using pallets, too. Any tips on doing this?


GreyWolf said...

Lisa: it all depend on what you want to keep in or out. My brother-in-law built one as a snow fence for his driveway, using a self standing zig-zag pattern that has lasted for years. Let your imagination run wild. If it doesn't work out you can always rebuild or use the pallets as firewood.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Excellent blog !! I especially liked the informative photos of the connecting of the pallets . I was thinking to screw some odd 2x4s to the runners to connect the top and bottom tiers , but using pallet runners seems to work also. I will be using Square-Drive screws to attach the pallets .Remodeling companies can be a great source for left-over scrap lumber for braces and odd-shaped panelboard for gussets and siding , as well as doors and windows and maybe some other useful goodies . Great blog Thank YOU :))) Ryan Nichols @