So I’m actually quite chuffed. Ive had a project in mind for while now and finally this long weekend i have managed to mostly complete it. So what was this project? …. making recycled furniture.
Basically I needed a new outdoor table and chairs as its coming up to summer in good old England. I was loath to buy one new due to the environmental impact of new furniture (particularly as our budget would mean i would be shopping at IKEA, and where they source their wood is somewhat questionable). I had been thinking about this for a while and i have read and watched some videos online about making furniture out of pallets. Pallets are great because they are often easy to obtain, found everywhere, and mostly free. Once i started keeping my eye out for pallets i noticed them everywhere, construction sites, commercial shops, pubs, and just sometimes lying randomly in the street. Now as i don’t have a car it was difficult to find them close enough to home, but on Saturday night (2 days ago) i found some up a few streets away. I picked them up and brought them home and thus began my two day journey into the world of homemade pallet furniture.
Now bear in mind i have no carpentry skills, and the last thing i made was a door stopper about 15 years ago at high school. This does not mean I’m some furniture making genius.. it just means it was easy and that anybody can do it… that rights ANYBODY!.. all you need are some basic tools and patience!
The tools i used for this project were:
Hammer, Nails, Drill, saw, and a sander (although you could do it by hand to save costs). As the hammer, Drill and nails were already in the shed.. my only cost was the sander which was about 30 pounds.
If you don’t feel up to making your own recycled furniture you can always just reclaim furniture that people how out and leave on the streets. Initially i felt uncomfortable about picking up ‘rubbish’ and taking it home, but when you think about the benefits on the environment by using recycled materials and reducing waste, suddenly it didn’t become important whether someone looked at me funny while i walked down the street with a couple of chairs or some pallets…. coincidently the chairs you see next to the table were reclaimed on Saturday night when i was out getting the pallets…
Anyway here are some picture of the making of the table. Yes it needs to be painted ( don’t worry I’m using eco paint) and some minor alterations need to be made, but all in all its ready to use right now, just in time for our first bit of warmth.
As you can see, i have started to dismantle the pallets.. i have chose one pallet frame which i will keep as is, but everything else comes apart.
Here i have started to assemble the planks on the frame.. you can see the table top starting to take shape. Not all the planks of wood were in good condition so you need to choose the best ones.
I have trimmed the edges of the planks. From here i bring out the sander and smooth the top.
Im now attaching the legs. I was kind of making it up as i went along at this point….
Putting the finishing touches to the legs.. it stands, and is stable so I’m pretty happy at this stage.
Almost finished… and these are the reclaimed chairs. Just needs a nice coat of paint, and some edge smoothing.
So next time before you think about going to IKEA to buy a new piece of furniture, think about the packaging, where the wood was sourced, and the carbon used to ship it to your store. Then look around you and see if you can pick up something in the streets that is being thrown away-it might need some refurbishment but there is nothing wrong with a little project:) or you could find some old pallets and create what you want! Just remember …new isn’t always better!
Peace and happy building/reclaiming.