Pallet Planter

This is a plant box I made out of a recycled pallet.

I went down the road to the corner shop and asked if they had any pallets.

After dragging a pallet out of an abandoned industrial area and back to the makerspace, James and I broke it down with a hammer and a crowbar, making sure to take all of the rusty nails out, and throw them away somewhere safe.

I stacked the wood and let it dry for a few days. During this time I measured the dimensions of the space I wanted to put the box in. After my patience had worn thin, I sketched the plan of what how I was going to construct the box and then measured the wood so that it could be cut to the right length.

I cut the mostly dry wood on the mitre saw. Since my box will be constantly exposed to wet things I thought there was no point in waiting until it was completely dry. Another makerspace member had suggested leaving it in a special wood drying cupboard for a year or two but ain’t nobody got time for that.

I cut four planks to 25cm and then cut these lengthwise. I screwed these into an l-shape and these formed the four corners of the box which provide structural support, and also provide feet to keep the bottom of the box clear from waterlogging.

Between two of these l-shapes I screwed two 36 cm planks to then, making them flush at the top, which formed two separate end pieces. Between these I screwed the 76 cm planks to join the end peices and form the rectangle shape. The walls of the box are now complete.

In order to support the bottom of the box I cut a plank to 36 cm and then cut it in half lengthwise. I attached these sideways on to the end pieces of the box, directly underneath the 36 cm planks, screwing upwards from underneath to fix it to them. The bottom of the box will rest on top of these.

Finally, I laid 3 and a quarter planks onto the supports to complete the bottom of the box. The quarter width piece had to be cut to fit, as 3 planks did not completly fill the space to form a continuous surface, and 4 planks were too large. I have not chosen to screw them down but you could do so if you wanted to. I just didn’t really need to, gravity does the work.

It has been suggested to me plane or sand the wood or coat it with a preservative or oil. This would make the box look more attractive and/or increase it’s lifespan. I choose not to plane or sand the planks because I did not need to; I’m basically just going to put dirt in it. It’s not a concern of mine that the box be attractive, however I may add an oil finish as suggested, just to keep out water. Of course you can choose to finish your box any way you like. You can spray it, you can paint, it you can apply varnish, yarn-bomb it, glue your collection of bottle caps onto it, anything you want.

This is a pragmatic box. It’s quick to make, it doesn’t have any complex joints, and requires simple tools – screwdriver, saw, ruler, pencil (tri-square if you insist), hammer, crow bar. I’m a fairly small person and the box could easily take my weight.

Nevertheless, there are ways this box could be made better. The L-shaped portions could be jointed, dowelled and/or glued to avoid showing screws on the outside. A groove could be cut into them in which to insert the supports for the base instead of just screwing those into the adjecant planks. The wood could be planed and finished cleanly.

Overall rating: Fit for purpose and not out of reach for a beginner to create.

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