Sometimes the best cure in a chaotic time is a sense of accomplishment, specifically the pride of creating something with your hands.

In a time when everyone is avoiding going out, a reclaimed pallet wood project I’ve been trying to find time to finish a perfect social distancing project. The table is cheap to build and uses things mostly already in the shop.

The biggest challenge after finding a good pallet is breaking it down into usable timber. You have to be careful to find every nail, but be sure to pry gently not to split any boards.

Pallet design and construction seems to vary greatly. An older pallet, planed or sanded can yield some beautiful wood. For this project, we hauled home three pallets – two too many. After a day of pallet demolition, and another one of planing, the shop is full.

This project is meant to be rustic, so it’s a great beginner project. All the minor mistakes are, of course, supposed to be there.

For my table top, I glued wood flooring samples collected over the years together. Glue the tongue and groove samples and clamp. If you use the pallet wood, simply cut to length and glue together. A couple of thin, narrow braces hidden below should help the boards hold.

For each leg, I ripped boards into one wide and one narrow strip and then glued them together to form long “L’s.” Once they dry, saw off the length so they all match.

When working with reclaimed wood, look closely at each board. Some require cutting off bad spots. But don’t focus on making it perfect. Each piece of wood is unique. Embrace its character.

One of the pallets had a company logo etch into it. That logo became the centerpiece of the whole project. Play around with the design, and don’t be afraid to get creative.

Find more online at Manchetsertimes.com. Scroll down to the living section for more photos of the project and from there download the plans the table is based on.

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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