Originally this was going to be a different piece all together. But like I said, live and learn. It was an early attempt and I did not know all the tricks to working with pallets that I do now.
Here's a few things I learned, in no particular order, based on this attempt.
Choose the wood carefully. Pallets are so irregular that you can't just mix and match without some forethought.
Buy a hand plane. Or an electric planer. Sanding takes a long time. You can really get a lot of the preliminary work knocked out in a short period of time if you plane the boards first.
A mulitool is worth its weight in gold. Those weird cuts and unforseen details, well, something like a Fein, or a SonicCrafter will make quick work of the problem.
Decide early what kind of look you want. Pallet projects can be anything you want. Rustic to fine finished. It really depends on what you want, the wood you are using and your skill level.
Staining is not as easy as it looks. Figure out a stain and an application method before hand. Test on scrap wood. I brushed on the stain, then brushed on another stain over top. Then I sanded it back down because it was just too dark. The final look really isn't bad, but I was a definite beginner in the world of wood stain before this project. Looking back I would have chose a different stain, and rubbed on with a rag to really get the look. It would have saved me a lot of time.
So even though I am not happy with the overall project, it does serve the purpose without being too much of an eyesore. It hides toys in the play room as a make shift toy box. With the lid closed, the dark color of the chest tends to hide in the room so to speak. So all in all, it is a win. Just not the win I had in mind.
This particular box is about three feet wide and almost 2 feet deep inside to give you a frame of reference. It took wood from about 4 pallets, mixed and matched. And that ties in with the final lesson learned: Have many pallets on hand. You never know what you will need for sure until you need it!