You can make a solid hardwood nightstand like this RRustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand made from Oak pallets. You need two pallets and a few hours.
The Design Phase of my Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand:
My girlfriend needed a night stand, and I needed something to do for the week. I work four days and get five off, so on my days off, what better to do than taking on a new project! I drew out my rough design on a notepad.
I then mocked it up using a 3-D CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) program. I used “SketchUp” for this as I’ve been using it for 10+ years now, so I'm pretty familiar with it. I made the measurements for this project to fit the space my girlfriend had. I adjusted any other measurements just based on what looked good. I designed this Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand in about 30 minutes.
Dismantling the pallets for my Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand:
I purchased three heavy-duty pallets, and luckily they're Oak. The cost was $7.50 each, totaling $22.50. The pallets were sturdy and quite weathered - even the spiral nails were fairly rusted.
Dismantling the pallets:
These qualities of the pallets made things extremely difficult to salvage the wood. I tried prying the pallets apart, but I finally decided that it wasn't working. I learned that I had to cut the two ends of the upper deck boards to get them free of the stringers, as no amount of leverage was budging those rusted nails. I cut both ends off. The remaining upper deck boards had three nails holding them to the middle pallet stringer.
I pried at the boards, but they refused to budge. I was just splitting the boards apart, and the nails stayed put.
I damaged more boards by trying to use a 2-ton jack out of desperation. I finally used the jack, turning it slightly, then prying with the hammer. I alternated between small adjustments of the jack and the hammer until I got most of the deck boards free. This step took me about 6 hours. Difficulty: 11.
Editor’s note: There are several tutorials available on our site, including one for “How To Dismantle A Wooden Pallet”. The link to our article is provided for you! This is for informational purposes only.
I don't have a workshop. I don't have professional tools. And sometimes, I don't even have a clue (or so the GF tells me). So all of this together typically means, stay away from dangerous items (The GF tells me this as well).
Instead, I set up a small outdoor workshop with two saw horses and a sliding compound miter saw. I also used a drill, a power screwdriver, and a hand sander. Hand tools I used included a hand saw, hammer, and a square. I bought the following supplies: wood screws, sandpaper, and a countersinking drill bit (all screws used were preceded by a pilot hole being drilled) Cost: ~$12-$15.
Assembling my Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand:
How I constructed the base:
(Disclosure: all measurements are from the top of my head right now. At the time, I knew the length of every single part of the stand. This was a week ago. Some lengths I may not remember and just estimating. I would encourage you to measure out and double check that everything adds up if you choose to use my design with the same measurements.)
I used two of the stringers from the pallet. Each stringer has two arches, so two runners were utilized for the four sides of the table. I wanted the measurements to be approximately 16” wide, 18” long, or close to there. The top of the base was made from deck boards. I left them the thickness of the board (approximately 3/4“) away from the sides and back so that I could screw the sides of the table into the edges of the base top. This took me about 2 hours to complete. Difficulty: 3.
How I constructed the sides:
I screwed the sides into the edges of the base's top (where I left recessed a bit). I used deck boards for the sides as well. The sides were about 16” long. The base’s height was about 4”, so that makes 20”, plus the thickness of the top of the stand will give you your total height. This will vary depending on bed height/use. This took me about 1.5 hours to build. Difficulty: 5.
How I constructed the front:
I designed an open area for storage, as well as a single drawer. The vertical pieces of the front section's sides are also made from pallet stringers. I ripped them down the center to take off the openings for forklifts. This benefited me in 2 ways: I got straight sides, as well as an arch with a thinner piece above the arch - which I also used for the front of the table.
I mounted the sides with screws and used the thin arch across the top of the front. This added rigidity to the table, and the thin arch made for a place to put your hand in to open the drawer. I assembled the front in about 1.5 hours. Difficulty: 4.
How I constructed the drawer:
The drawer was simple. I used an upper deck board for the front of the drawer. I assembled the sides and rear from the lower deck boards since they were narrower. I covered the bottom of the drawer with upper deck boards too. I assembled the drawer in about 2 hours. Difficulty: 2.
How I made the top:
The top of the table is simple in concept, but the amount of time you put in will be reflected by the flatness and smoothness of the top. I used bottom deck boards and screwed them to the inside edges of the sides. This created an internal frame for the sides and gave more room to screw in the top pieces.
I wanted something a little more unique for the top of this Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand, so I made a trim border using thin pieces around the top’s edges, with the wider pieces in the middle, as can be seen in the pictures. I ripped an upper deck board in half to get the thinner pieces. I did this because the upper deck boards had a nicer finish and would match better than the lower deck boards.
I allowed the thin border pieces to hang over the sides and front by 1". I kept the back of the table top flush to allow night stand to sit flush with the wall. The thin pieces were cut at an angle (not quite 45 due to width differences of the boards, which was my fault when ripping them) which gives the top a nicer look. These were screwed into the inside frame that was constructed earlier.
Finally, I cut the three middle pieces were cut and screwed them into the internal frame. I completed this part in about three hours. Difficulty: 6-7.
FYI: The room this was going in did not have baseboards, so there was no overhang necessary. If your room has baseboards, you may need to add an overhang on the rear the thickness of your baseboard, to ensure that there won’t be a gap between the table and wall when pushed against it.
Installing the Drawer:
I purchased a sliding drawer kit but did not use it. I will redo this eventually to make it slide better. I installed two horizontal bars inside the table from front-to-back for the drawer to rest on. The drawer slides relatively easily on these and works well for the time being.
I used some scrap and cut them to the required thickness to line the front of the drawer up with the front of the table. I installed these pieces by screwing the to the back of the drawer. This allowed the drawer only to be pushed in so that it sits flush with the front. I used two leftover pieces that were cut at an angle (from doing the top’s border) and screwed those into the front’s sides. This helped with the drawer sliding in and out by providing some support and added some curb appeal. I completed this part in about an hour. Difficulty: 4.
How I finished my Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand:
I sanded everything using a random-orbit sander and 120 grit paper. I had sanded most of the pieces before I assembled them and then did another finish sanding. With hardwood, it’s important to sand the corners/edges, as even at 90-degree angles, they can be sharp. I sanded the top with 120 grit followed by 220 grit to make it smoother to the touch. I accomplished this part in about an hour. Difficulty: 1.
The End. That’s it. That’s all there was to this Rustic Pallet Hardwood Nightstand. I found this project to be a bit time consuming in general, but that's who I am. Your mileage may vary depending on skill, design, and OCD level.
Best of luck. May your square be ever straight.
Editor’s note: “Sketchup is an online 3D design and 3d printing tool for users ranging from professional to hobbyist. “At SketchUp, we do our best to make great tools for drawing. For our users, drawing is thinking. They draw to explore ideas, to figure things out, to show other people what they mean. They draw because they love it and because nothing great was ever built that didn't start with a great drawing.”
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