This modern, ethnic-looking coffee table, with its ochre stripes that conjures up visions of Marrakech,
was made from a wooden pallet discarded in a shopping area.
The painstaking task of removing nails and sawing wood was avoided
by fitting the pallet with a hardboard bottom and filling the cracks
with mortar. And presto, we have a table top.
If you like contemporary design, you can also fill the cracks with concrete, and then smooth and add a wax finish.
To start, choose a pallet in good condition. The one pictured is a
75 x 75 cm (2½ x 2½ ft) square.
Roughly sand the wood using low-grade sandpaper. Under the boards, attach two pieces of thin hardboard or a similar material.
The hardboard should be cut to completely cover the cracks between the boards, but underneath the edge boards,
they should be slightly shorter, so they won't be seen. The grainy side of the hardboard should face upwards.
Glue and nail down each piece of hardboard.
Then nail some cheap wood (such as wood from a wooden crate) along the ends of the pallet boards, to create a makeshift formwork.
To help fill in the cracks, nail down a few pieces of scrap wood. These strips of wood will disappear in the mortar.
Make a thickish mortar and smooth it on with a knife.
You may need to apply a second layer.
Once the mortar is dry, remove the formwork and carefully sand the table top.
Cut out some new pieces of hardboard to support the drawers. You can also add drawer stops.
Measure the space and make drawers of the right size or buy them.
For this coffee table, Fira drawers from Ikea were used.
The drawers were simply turned around and a knob added on the side. The drawers are both practical and decorative.
You can either paint the mortar or leave it as is. This table was decorated with natural ochre-colored
potato paint. The finish is two coats of standard linseed oil.
To make "legs" for the coffee table, attach two thick boards, such as formwork planks, to the sides of the pallet, using 80 mm (3 in) screws.
To make the table even sturdier, fasten corner brackets, such as those used to brace chairs, to the palette and the inside of the "legs".
Other pallet craft projects (click the following thumbnails):