Where To Get Free Pallets

Pallet projects have become a passion for me lately. I have always liked woodworking but something about upcycling a beat up pallet is especially satisfying.

I always have about 10 pallets in my garage at any given time. And as I use them up, I'm on the prowl for new ones.

If you are getting started on pallet creations you might be wondering where to get them.  Not only that, but in most cases, one pallet is not enough. You will probably need to salvage pieces from multiple pallets to get the wood you need for any one project.

That's part of the challenge and part of the fun.

So where can you get enough pallet wood?

My go to source is behind stores. And I don't just take them, because I've learned that's bad etiquette. Some places prefer you don't take their pallets because they have an exchange in place. You'll be messing up their system.

So big box stores are usually a no go.

Smaller businesses are the best. They might have ordered some freight and just need to make the pallets disappear.

If I can catch an employee out back on break I'll ask if it's ok to load a few. If I get the green light, l load up my truck.

Through the course of the day I'll keep my eyes open for new places to salvage.  Better still if I see pallets next to a dumpster. That's a free for all. Plus, there might be other great pieces to salvage in the trash. Upcycling goes beyond pallet projects.

My second source is on Craigslist. There are plenty of people looking to clear out their business loading dock and need someone to take those pallets as a favor.

Make a mental note of the hotspots for salvaging. Apartment complexes dumpsters, the back of strip malls. Pretty soon you will have more material than you can handle. All that is left is to turn it into something awesome.

One of the best feelings is creating a piece from 100 percent salvaged material. It's almost a badge of honor.

Occasionally you'll need to buy some odds and ends to bring the project together. But in the spirit of keeping things green, challenge yourself to make your project from purely salvaged material.

Good luck! And send me some pics of your own work!

Candle Sconce

Here's a very quick project that's still pleasing to the eye.

A rustic pallet board wall sconce. Mount this in the location of choice and add some candles.

I didn't stain this piece, because the boards were so old and worn, I felt just a sanding would give the right look. Here's what I got:

The worn out, distressed wood gave it the beach house feel I was going for. Sometimes less is more.

Questions? Leave a comment!

Use the contact form in the sidebar if you'd like a custom piece made for you 

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Tonight's Beer Review

For tonight (and most of the day!) the beverage of choice was an American standard. Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I might catch a little heat from beer aficionados out there, but I like it. It's not ever day that I crave one particular beer over another. And today, PBR did the trick.

For the few of you out there who have yet to try it, it's a light lager. Not a light beer as in your standard light beers. I mean it in the sense that it's not a heavy beer.

It's clean and simple. To me it feels just a tad lighter than a traditional Budweiser.

There's some advantages to sipping on a beer like this.

For starters, you can enjoy the taste of beer all day long while you sip away, and not worry about falling down drunk.

And second, because the taste is not as powerful as some of my regular favorites, it's easy to pair with spicy food. Which I did. The wifey cooked up some traditional pirogies and kielbasa.

Successful Saturday so far. A few projects started, some others under way.

I'll be back soon with some updates on my creations, so check back!

Leave me a comment below. What's your go to beer while working on a project?


Doodling Again

Tonight's sketch came inspired by an awesome short story on Creepypasta.com:

Jawbone from Candle Cove

That's my interpretation of the character Jawbone from Candle Cove.  I think I'm getting better, but definitely need some practice. Enjoy.


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Review of Sierra Nevada Original

Time for a beer review. After all, this is a beer and DIY blog, and up until now I've neglected the beer!

Aside from a quick snapshot of some home brew IPA I had going, I have utterly failed in spreading the love when it comes to the bubbly bitter goodness.

Well, for tonight, as we wrap up the week and kick off the weekend, let's pop a top of one of my favorites: Sierra Nevada original.

I'm a west coast guy, even though right now I'm deep in south Florida, I'll never get past the great IPA culture of my home state.

Now most of the time, I'd opt for the hoppier, Sierra Nevada Torpedo. But even though the original has a lower Abv%,  a modest 5.6 percent, the clean taste makes up for it.

And for the uninitiated, it might be more than enough alcohol to make the drinking expert men well worth it.

If you are a beer drinker, but have yet to dabble in the IPA realm, let me offer some advice. Every beer has its place and time. A good hoppy IPA like this is meant to be sipped slow, and enjoyed cold.

So take a seat and turn the game on. Pop the top, and get back to creating tomorrow.

Goodnight all! Peace!

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Review of Kobalt Bench Plane

When I first started working with pallets I got it in my head that working with a bench plane would solve all my problems with the rough uneven wood.

In some ways I was right. But it took some work.

I ran down to Lowes. Actually I took a leisurely drive to Lowes. I found a Kobalt bench plane for about 30 bucks. I bought it, took it home, opened the plastic and started planing.

Of course I chipped the blade on the first go, catching a nail on the edge.

For a short time I was pretty depressed, thinking I just ruined my plane. So I jumped online and after several fascinating hours of research, I realized there is a lot more to planing wood than what I had imagined.

For starters, there are some pretty entrenched schools of thought when it comes to how to set up a plane, how to sharpen, and what brands are best.

The Kobalt is generally not regarded very highly by plane "purists", because of the cheap machining on the plane.

Here's where I'm going to help you out.

Yes, you can drop a couple hundred dollars on well put together planes, do the maintenance, and keep them going for years.


Spend 30 bucks like I did, and put in a little work to prep the tool and get your money's worth on the first go around. For now, in my situation, economical is better.

I took the plane completely apart.

I started with re-sharpening the blade that I ruined. Check.

I then went through each piece of the plane and checked the machining, sanding down irregularities, smoothing the parts that needed it, and generally fine tuning a cheap plane to bring it to life.

Once I put everything back together, things were great. 30 bucks well spent.

So for the DIYer I would absolutely recommend the Kobalt. Just be prepared to spend a good hour setting up the plane once you unbox it. Down the road, if hand planing becomes a big part of your craftsmanship, go ahead and spend more to get a more professional grade plane. For now, save the money, and use it to get the rest of your workshop set up.

Good luck, and feel free to message me with any questions. Thanks for stopping by!

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Pallet Trunk Chest-part 2

The trim on the outside of the trunk is coming together. In the pic you see it is still pretty raw, but it's a process. When you are using scrap wood it takes a little more time to really shape the boards.

I scrub plane and bevel the edges. This smooths out the wood, and makes sanding easier. Also, by trimming the sharp edges it gives the box a nice worn look.

For the gaps in the wood (there are a few, because the wood is irregular) I'm filling with putty. This problem could also be avoided if I squared up the edges with a table saw first. Maybe I'll try that next time. However the spaces in between the boards adds character. I only fill them so you can't see daylight in between.  Once I get everything sanded down it will really look proper.

Garden Bench

So this particular awesome piece is on my to do list. I saw it out front of the VA and decided to have a seat to chug my coffee while I was waiting.

The planter boxes are 4x4 boards and the bench seat is 2x4. Very simple clean design.

An added feature that really makes it stand out is the nails. Big flat head nails. It gives it an "old-timey" look that I couldn't pass up. So here's an iPhone snapshot. Enjoy.


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There's a few things for the guys too. I personally am a fan of the soaps, for when I really get dirty! 

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"Cleaning" a Pallet

As long as you're on my page, I'll share my jargon with you. "Cleaning" a pallet is what I say when I refer to stripping apart a pallet until it's a neat stack of individual boards.

I almost always strip a pallet apart even if the piece I am making is going to be put right back where it started. Reason being, pallets are rarely ever truly squared up. They get put together in a hurry and they are only meant to be functional. It's our job to make it pretty.

My main strategy to clean a pallet is a sawzall with a good blade on it. Slip that blade in between the wood and fire it up. It should cut those nails in half in no time. So to save time, stand the pallet on its side, and cut right along the frame. Flip it over and run the saw down the other frame. All that you are  left with is the center frame piece to remove. So get after it.

The other strategy I use is when the end pieces of the slats are so cracked and split that I know I would end up trimming them off anyway. So to save time, lay the pallet on the ground and grab a circular saw. Run the blade close to the 2x4 frame as you cut the slats. 20 seconds later you'll be just about  done.

I know the Pinterest boards are full of DIY folks who are just making gardens or a rough piece of furniture from their pallets, and they will tell you to use a hammer and a nail puller to separate the boards.

That's not what I'm doing and it's not what I recommend. You will ruin more wood than you salvage.

Start with those tips to strip down your pallets.

Clean 'em and check out my Pinterest boards if you need an idea of what to create!

Have fun with it. Leave me a comment below. Thanks for stopping by

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Pallet Trunk Chest-part 1

Here's a piece I started, walked away from, and kept coming back for more. But it was worth it in the end. (Finished photos coming soon, this is just a teaser)

This is not the first pallet trunk I have made but I think this attemp will be different than previous incarnations. I tried a different structure and I also learned from previous mistakes. Aside from the time it takes to build, there is no real loss when it comes to botched pallet projects.   Materials are free, and the more I do, the better I get.

I found found a nice pallet with wide boards, and figure it would make a good face for a trunk. Something to go at the foot of the bed. You know, a place to hold extra blankets and throw pillows.

If you cruise through Pinterest boards or YouTube, you'll be bombarded with pallet trunks chests. Some are good. A lot are pretty bad.

The biggest problem I was seeing was that they were just slapped together. And for something
 I wanted to last, I really felt that the building process deserved a little more TLC.

I used those beautiful wide boards for the face of the box. It gave me that great look I wanted. But that wasn't enough.

Once the boards were in place, sanding just didn't do the trick. So I sharpened up my bench plane and ran it over the surface. It really brought out some nice surfaces under the weathered boards.

Just because the wood is old, does not mean the project needs to look like it's falling apart.

Plus, the seams where the pallet boards butt up to each other are now flush. You might notice when you set a pallet board, those edges can be warped or curved in a way that just won't lay flat. You can't blame the wood. It spent the first part of its life carrying a freight load of cornflakes to the supermarket.

It's my job to give it new life as something beautiful. So take note, a cheap plane will do womders for your project.

I filled some of the gaps and cracks with wood filler. One that I bought, and a homemade version that I made with sawdust and wood glue. I liked the result. After running the sander over it, it was like one smooth solid piece.

If you look inside you see I inlaid the box with boards running opposite to the direction of the outside face. Partly for the look, but it definitely gave the structure some strength. This thing is solid. .

Check Out My Pinterest

I'm doing my best to keep these posts coming with projects I'm making, but I've also curated a lot of great articles on my Pinterest boards. There are some really great crafts and artwork and tips that other people have done. As I see 'em, I pin 'em!

So for my own enjoyment, I can always go back and look. So why would I be stingy? You can take a look too. I'll leave you a link below. 

If you follow me over on Pinterest, shoot me a message, and I'll follow back! Thanks for checking it out!

 Check out my Pinterest boards!

Leave me a comment, and I'll get back to you!

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Quick Rustic Sign

Here's an easy one. Stencil a sign using a ballpoint pen.

It will leave an indent in the wood that you can paint or ink in.

This is a small one, but the same technique can be used on larger ones. A scrap board I had became the canvas.

Leave your comment below!

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Just a useless update

Love the title? Sweet. So here's the plan.

I have a laundry list of projects, and I want to do more step by step posts on each thing. It will take time. And that's the tough part. So for now bare with me and my short postings.

I'll try to continue to at minimum post a pic of the final product as I go. If you have some questions or need me to elaborate on how any of them were done, just shoot me a message or leave a comment.

This blog will get better with time.

Along with more detailed posts of each project, I do plan to do some video. That should be a plus.

So there you have it. My useless update !



Clean Looking Pallet Creations

I poured over Pinterest and several Facebook pages that showcase pallet projects. One of my biggest frustrations is haphazard creations that are nothing more than raw pallet boards nailed into some shape or another.

My take is that using pallets is great because it's free material, it's environmentmentally friendly, and it can look great.

But it takes some effort.

Those boards can be rough, and getting enough good useable wood may take several pallets.

Stripping,(I call it cleaning) a pallet is the most tedious part of the process. I don't usually use a pry bar or anything like that because it only breaks the boards. A sawzall will cut between boards and chop the nails easily enough.

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If your project will still look good with the nail heads in the boards, for example, a rustic chest, leave them in. But a lot of the time I will tap them out of the wood, and fill the holes before I'm done.

I also use a plane to scrub the top layer on almost every board. Followed up by some sanding, to really smooth out the surface. I don't mind grooves and grains and other irregularities showing in my projects. But I can't stand a board that hasn't been tuned up first.

Plane, sand, then fill those holes and seams. It will look good down the road.

Last tip: wood glue. Use it. Nails are great, but when I join boards, I want them joined for life. A bead of glue and some finish nails will do wonders.

So there you have it. I know every project is different and every person may have a different style in mind. So take my advice with a grain of salt. It's working for me.

I'd love to see some other creations. If you have one, feel free to post a pic and a link in the comments.

Have fun!

Bathtub Caddy Shelf

I wanted to complete the look that I started with the pallet towel rack that I made earlier.

With some extra pallet pieces and old shower hooks I put this together. It was a quick project, and most of the work came at the point of sanding and staining to get the distressed look I was going for.

I used the same driftwood stain from before. First coat brushed on lightly, to get into the grain. Followed by some sanding and rounding the edges. I rubbed some more stain on with a rag after that, followed by some hand sanding with fine grain paper.

The hooks are ceramic, so some Gorilla glue did the trick. Here it is, installed:

Update: I have received a few requests for this piece, and I'm happy to make more. Make an offer and let me know. Thanks for checking out my post 

Multi-tool report

I have found that I use a multi tool as much as anything else when I'm building my projects. The versatility; from cutting to precision sanding and a medley of stuff in bwtweeen.

Here's my dilemma (side note: anyone else remember learning to spell that as "dilemna"!). I am pretty sure I burned out my original Fien Multimaster. It was great because of the quick connect feature to switch out attachments.

I have a Dremel version that is just as old, and it's about on the fritz as well.

To top it off I sold my Sonic Crafter a while back.

So I'm about to be up the creek without the proper tool and a stack of projects piling up.

Super bummer.

So a little googling taught me a few things. Fixing the Fien would be my first option, but even if I do it myself, I will still be spending about 80 bucks. A new one is a little steep for me right now.

So here's my options. And I'll share it with you because I bet I'm not the only one with this problem.

Harbor Freight has a generic oscillating tool that will do the trick for about 30 bucks. It will get me through what I have left until I have the funds for a better tool. I know people dump on Harbor Freight but they are still in business for a reason. Cheap tools, that eventually break, but for the short term and for the household repairs, it's a good option.

And for a few bucks more than the replacement part of the Fien, I can get a brand new Rockwell Sonic Crafter with all the attachments.

Now that ever manufacturer is building their tools to universally accept other manufacturers' attachments, it's a good place to be.

My advice to anyone is first thing, make sure you have an oscillating tool. And pick one that agrees with your wallet. Lastly, see how it feels in your hand. It should be comfortable, and maneuverable for what you want to use it for.

I'll try to make an unboxing video once I get my next tool to show you what it's all about.

Questions ?? Leave a comment or use the contact form in the sidebar. I'll get back to ya!


Home Brewing

Home brew has been an hobby of mine, and since this blog is about sippin a good drink and making cool stuff, I'd thought I would include a picture of a small batch of IPA I was making. Hoppy!


I love good photography, and maybe with some practice I'll be able to do it. For now I'm just taking shots with an iPhone but I really liked this one at the Naples beach

And one during the day :

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Pallet towel rack

Keeping with the theme of pallet furniture I started this towel rack shelf unit for my sons bathroom. The old plain-Jane towel rack that came with the house just wasn't cutting it. And with the extra little bit of storage space above the towel rack it helps keep his sink top clear of all his supplies. I hate clutter. So win-win.

The dowel rod can be purchased but I scavenged for this one and lucked out, saving me an extra couple of dollars.

The side pieces came from a single pallet, and once I assembled the unit, I ran a sander over it with course grit. I didn't want to make it too smooth, because I preferred the aged look, but I don't want splinters either.

Here's what I had at the halfway point:

Also, because of the imperfect nature of the boards I found that a little wood glue mixed with sawdust makes for an easy filler in some of the gaps. All in all I'm pleased with the finished product.

 This could be painted or stained in any way that you like. It could work great in a kitchen as a bottle rack and towel rack, or in the bathroom for the amenities.

I went ahead and chose a stain called "dfiftwood". It had the look of aged wood, which was a plus. I also sanded over a few edges and surfaces after staining so it would have a more distressed look.

I mounted this piece above the tub using some heavy duty toggle bolts, hidden up high on the back plate.

Questions? Leave a comment. I also am taking orders if you'd like one made for you



I am super rusty when it comes to putting pen to paper. Here's a few warm ups, and I hope to get better over the next several months

(I love comic book art, and I want to get better at it)

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