The project itself is pretty simple. I got myself some pallets, broke them apart, and off I went. For starters, I ripped some of the 3/4" slats down to 2" in width. I made sure to only rip one side of the slats off to maintain one rough edge. My goal with the whole thing was to maintain as much roughness in the wood as possible. While I used my table saw to make the rip cuts, I wouldn't recommend this. I did it because my band saw wasn't up to the task. From a safety point of view, there is a great deal of risk for kickback when ripping pallet slats due to the fact that the slats aren't square and are often bowed and twisted. I found myself having to shut the saw down a few times because the blade started binding.
The next step was to rip some corner blocks. For these, I used a support from the pallet. Since it was
1 1/4" wide, I decided to just make the blocks square, so they were ripped to 1 1/4".
Crosscutting everything was next. I cut the slats to the various lengths I needed to form the boxes. The corner blocks were cut to be slightly, about 1/4", shorter than the box heights. It was then on to assembly.
Putting everything together was pretty simple, Just a matter of putting slats and corner blocks together with brad nails. Once together, I gave everything a very light sanding. I wanted to make everything smooth enough that nobody would get a sliver if they came into contact with the box, but not so smooth as to remove the rustic texture. I then applied the graphics onto the side of the largest box using the laserjet transfer technique I learned from Jay Bates on YouTube. Here's the link to his video: INEXPENSIVELY Brand Your Woodworking - 123.
A finish wouldn't be needed if the boxes weren't going to be part of a display for food. Since they would have cupcakes put on them, I decided a wash coat of shellac was in order. My reasoning was that the dirt would be sealed in, and wouldn't contaminate anything. I went with shellac because it's a food safe finish. I mixed one part shellac from a can with one part denatured alcohol and applied two coats with a brush.
Since the idea for the boxes came from my sister and wife, I felt like I needed to add my own little touch to the project. I remembered seeing Steve Ramsey from Woodworking for Mere Mortals make some mini pallet coasters. My idea was to create a 1/4 scale pallet to put cupcakes on. For wood, I was able to use scrap from the boxes. For the process of making a mini pallet, I'll defer to Steve. You can find his video here: Pallet drink coasters made from, well, pallets.
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