Friday, March 1, 2013

Pallet Recycling Stand

I found a use for all the leftover pallets from my last project!  Since I don't have a garden, vegetable stakes were out (though my mother-in-law has a garden ... hmmm ... want some stakes for Mother's Day? Useful  for both vegetables and vampires ...)

Samantha gets the credit for the original idea: one day when putting an empty carton in the recycling bin, she told me it would be very nice to have some sort of high stand to make it easy for us to lean over the railing and place stuff into.  I thought "a use for my scraps!" and the idea was born. 

So, I came in with three requirements: first, to use only pallet scraps; second, to have room for both bins, with the top one accessible to load; third, to have some method of corralling the cut-down cardboard boxes that get piled next to the trash can waiting for recycling day.

I had plenty of leftover scraps, as I mentioned before.  I had the center pieces from about four pallets, and nearly a whole pallet's worth of face pieces.  That made things both easy and hard: easy because I didn't have to find (or spend money for) the lumber, and hard because the lumber was full of cut-off nails and not square.

Getting the post pieces ready involved a lot of careful cutting.  There were nails all over most of my pieces (when I was preparing the pallets for my other projects, my attention was naturally on the face pieces, not on saving the centers for later use).  I didn't worry about getting the pieces all the same, just on cutting down what I had to usable dimensions.

Once I had six posts (two tall to bracket the cardboard slot and to make the far edge of the recycling area, two short for the near edge of the recycling area to allow easy access to the top bin), I used my new toy dado blade set to cut grooves for the two 'floors' of the stand.

Make this to fit your own recycling bins: mine fit nicely within an 18" tall frame. 

More scraps were cut to width and length to make parallel trusses to support the two floors and provide some stability to the posts.

Once I had the 'frame' laid out and nailed in place with my brad gun, I started adding the flooring and siding using the pallet scraps I had left. I made the pallets square to each other using the process outlined in this post, then nailed them in place.

It didn't take long to get the floor done, and then enough side pieces to provide the cardboard section with some stability.  One thing I wish I'd done was keep a few pieces to wall in the base of the cardboard slot: after a couple weeks of use, I noticed that skinny pieces tend to slip out the sides at the bottom.  Next time I've got a pallet under deconstruction, I'll add more there.

I added some rails on the bottom to guide the bins into place and stop them when they get to the end.  That keeps it nice and tidy in the garage!  Just position the bin in the open area where you want it, and lay the guide boards right next to it and nail them in.

To my eternal shame, my garage used to look like this:

 But now it looks like this!

A small difference, but it still gives me a twinge of satisfaction every time I take the trash out and think "I made my house more organized!"  Which is weird, I know, but it's how my brain works.  Every project in the house makes it that much more 'mine.'

I'd only change two things about the project: I'd add more pieces to the bottom sides of the cardboard section, and I would use 2x stock to make the posts.  It's cool to say that it's all re-claimed wood (in keeping with the whole recycling thing), but it honestly, cutting around the nails made it more complicated than it needed to be.  The 2x stock would provide more stability, too.

Table Saw (dado blade helps but isn't necessary)
Chop Saw
Brad Nailer


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