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Build a DIY Pallet Table with a Herringbone Design

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Instructions on how to inexpensively build a DIY pallet table. Its tabletop has a herringbone design, and the rest is built with softwood

Can you believe that this gorgeous table was constructed from scraps of wood? To be exact, it was made with slats from wooden pallets and soft-wood that was reclaimed from another project. In just two days it went from a pile of material that some people might throw onto a campfire to a stunning table that would fit into any modern home. I captured the process of how my boyfriend, Josh Dudley of 123 Floor, made it, and with his permission, I’m sharing it here on Lovely Greens.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Herringbone table made with pallet wood

Josh recently needed a new desk and after searching the classifieds he came up with a handful of cheap laminated pieces that were going for more than they were worth. Though he’s never built a table before, the idea came into his mind to create one using some pallet wood we had stored in the garage. Josh’s years of experience as a floor layer even found their way into the tabletop design. The ‘Herringbone’ pattern is a common design that you’d see on modern floors but when I first spotted him laying the pallet slats in the same design my jaw nearly dropped. I’ve honestly never seen a tabletop designed like that before. Especially in a DIY piece.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Materials for the DIY Pallet Table

For the top and sides: 27x Wooden slats from a pallet, each about 19″ long
Tabletop base: 1x wooden board 2×4 foot
Wooden stabilizers under the tabletop: 2×4″ softwood

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For the legs: 4x squared pine pieces, 27.5″ long
For the angled leg braces and leg connectors: 6 more of the same wooden slats used for the tabletop

Clear Wood Oil Finish to protect the top
Blue Paint for the legs

You’ll also need wood glue, thin nails, and screws to fit it all together

Equipment used:

Mitre Saw
Jigsaw
Sander
Electric screwdriver
Nail Gun

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood. DIY Pallet Table Dimensions

The finished pallet table measures 30″ in height, 4ft in width, and 2ft in depth. It’s constructed using mainly basic methods so even an amateur woodworker could recreate it.

The first step is building the tabletop. Josh used an old piece of 1/2″ thick scrap pine as a base. With a pencil, he marked out the final surface area of the tabletop but didn’t cut it until he’d laid out all the slats in their final design.

Each of the wooden slats taken from the pallet is about 19″ in length and fit together just off-center of the tabletop – he spent extra time beveling the edges of each piece with a sander but this step is optional. What is not optional is sanding down the wood. Pallet wood is scruffy and covered in potential splinters so buff each surface area carefully.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Creating the Herringbone Design

The angle that the slats are trimmed to at the sides is 45 degrees and a Mitre Saw was used to create the cut. I’m sure there’s a hack to get around using this piece of equipment but if you can beg or borrow one off of someone it’s highly recommended.

After the design was set out, Josh cut the slats and then placed them back onto the base. After they were all cut, sanded, and beveled, he cut the tabletop base and then glued the slats down. He also used a nail gun to secure each piece.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Finishing the Table

Next, he used 2×4″ softwood to outline the underside of the table base flush with the edge. These add weight to the table so slightly smaller and lighter pieces might be more ideal. It’s what we had at the house though so that’s what he ended up using.

Once those were attached with long screws, more pallet slats were used to create the skirtingĀ of the tabletop. They cover up the construction underneath and give the piece a more solid look. The corners were cut at 45-degree angles and Josh got a bit fancy and cut each slat’s other edge at the same angle so that it fits into the adjoining one.

Again wood glue and nail gun were the way they were fastened on but manually hammered in nails could be an option for those without a nail gun. Use very thin nails though.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Creating the Table’s Legs

The legs are soft-wood pine and each is 27.5″ long. They’re glued and screwed into the 2×4″ supports under the tabletop and then reinforced with angled pallet wood slats cut at 45 degrees on either side. Best seen in the below photo are the wooden connectors he built to attach the legs to one another for extra support. These are more pallet slats and are simply screwed into the legs.

My contribution to his project is the suggestion to paint the legs with Blue Paint. I think it really makes the whole project stand out The top of the table looks like the wood it is. There’s no intention to disguise the fact that it’s recycled pallet wood and it’s celebrated with a thin coating of Clear Wood Oil Finish to protect the top. It helps protect the surface from spills and adds a finer texture than paint or varnish.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

Creating a Herringbone Pallet Floor

One of the most exciting things to come out of this project (other than the table which I plan on liberating in the future) is a commission Josh received after pictures of his table first made their way online. Using this same method he’ll be creating a full floor for a couple here on the Isle of Man. He’s currently collecting pallet wood for the project but is still looking for more good sources. An entire floor takes a lot of pallets but the finished floor will have the assurance of being 100% recycled wood. I’m sure it’s going to have a stunning, rustic look to it too.

If you have any questions about the construction of this project, the best person to speak to is Josh. Message him on his Facebook page here.

DIY Pallet Table: instructions on how to inexpensively build this modern table using scrap wood.

8 Comments

  1. This table is very pretty, but a lot of the wood from pallets is seriously toxic! They preserve the wood with all kinds of chemicals. I’m not sure building a table with pallet wood is a good idea. A disclaimer might be though!

  2. Hi,
    further to using plywood for the table, I think you will find that almost all plywood from builders merchants is suitable for outside use.
    Obviously best to check though, before buying.
    Great table, but tough getting pallets apart without splitting a lot of the wood.

  3. Beautiful!
    I want to use this pattern for an outdoor patio table. Would josh still recommend that I use a plywood base even though it will be exposed to rain etc.

    1. Ordinary plywood would not be suitable for outdoor use. Josh says that there is a water-based ply that is used to create floors in wet rooms. You could get this material from a builders merchant. Otherwise, use a wood that would be suitable for outdoor furniture.

  4. That’s a beautiful piece of woodwork and even better for being totally recycled – it would also make a lovely potting bench if/when it’s repurposed! I wish I had the space as I’d happily take on this project (but I’d need the jigsaw and sander first!)

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