Last Friday I got it in my head that it was time for a new coffee table. As you might expect though, I had specific requirements - it needed to fit a specific space, have a bit of storage and allow me to sit next to it with my legs underneath. So I decided to make it myself. Much to the chagrin of my husband who didn't even know I could operate his power tools, I built a coffee table out of recycled shipping pallets. I have to say - I'm pretty proud of the results.
Since I've lived in the cabin, we've always used an antique steamer trunk covered in a tapestry as a coffee table. The trunk was the hubby's grandma's who used it when she traveled to one of the Olympics to compete in shot put. Needless to say, the trunk is sentimental and comes with a ton of history. But it doesn't really open anymore and in a 600 sq ft A-frame cabin, which is sorely lacking in storage space, it was taking up precious room.
I headed to our local recycling center, Recycle Utah, and picked up 5 shipping pallets for $5 - 4 small guys and 1 medium one. It probably would have been more resource efficient had I gotten the larger ones, but they were heavy and I didn't feel like slinging them around. Besides, I really dug the color of the small ones, which had some good weathering.
Deconstruction of shipping pallets is not as nearly easy as you might think it is. These things are almost bomb-proof and it took me a good 2 hours to get them taken apart. I used a hammer, crow bars, cats paw, nail pullers and a circular saw to get the pallets down to the sizes I needed them. I'm sure there is an easier way to dismantle them, but I'm not exactly sure what that is. If you have any tips - let me know!
After cutting all the pieces to the exact size I wanted, I set to work on putting it together. I wanted my table 40" long, but didn't have any boards that long, so I decided on a design that would use interlocking slats and would also create partition in my shelf below - perfectly sized for magazines, the remote controls and my computer when not in use. Then I grabbed the trusty nail gun and starting putting things in place. I used 2 1/2 in finish nails, but probably could have used longer ones, had I known we had them. But when you put in as many nails as I did, it really doesn't matter.
I'm no woodworker and my husband is far more talented and skilled than I am, but he seemed stoked on it when he got home from work. Personally, I think he was just happy that I decided to build it so he didn't have to himself.