Just in case you haven’t figured it out I’m a bit of a lazy hippie. The hippie in me loves to be out in nature. The lazy part loves to lounge. Yet I’ve never had a really great outdoor lounge chair… until now!
I started building with pallets when I needed a compost bin and I was instantly hooked. It seemed like it wasn’t much harder than putting together a kit from Ikea. It’s not always perfect wood. It can be a little splintery and, if it’s been left outside a long time, sometimes a bit rotted. On the other hand, it’s got a great look to it, it’s very sturdy (if it’s not rotten) and it’s generally free.
About 40% of the hardwood harvested in the US is used to build pallets and 20% of the wood in our landfills is pallets. Think about that. How long does it take to grow a hardwood tree? We use it a few times and throw it in the trash. That doesn’t even account for the millions that get burned every year! So, by building with pallets, you are being a good steward of the earth.
You do need to be aware of your materials. Some pallets are treated with very harsh chemicals or used to ship items that may leave them contaminated with e. coli or other bacteria. Spiders of all sorts, as well as other insects, like to nest in pallet wood. I’ve seen plans for baby cribs and kitchen tables made from pallets. Please be wise in matching your materials to your project.
I’ve found that big stores that use zillions of pallets don’t want to part with them. They have a system in place to reuse and recycle and keep things cost effective. However, if you know someone who has done a big home improvement project they probably have a pallet or 3. Small businesses may have 1 or 2 outside the back door. Farmers often have a handful that get tossed in a burn pile. Many places sell them to recycling companies for $1-5 and would be just as happy to sell them to you. Craigslist is loaded with them. Put the word out that you’re looking and you’re sure to find some at little or no cost.
This project started with some pallets that had been tossed by a company that deemed these no longer strong enough to hold the heavy electronics they ship. They were missing boards and had some rotten pieces and were in generally pretty rough shape.
I pulled off the bad pieces and merged them together. I stacked them with the strongest, smoothest one on top and then nailed the fourth (the one pictured above which had the longer side. I had to add a board to the other side to make them match.) Once I got past that it was a simple matter of nailing everything together and painting it.
A little side note, the paint was recycled too! Paint is extremely toxic to put in a landfill and it’s difficult to find places to dispose of it so people are happy to give their leftovers to someone who can make use of it. I asked for paint on freecycle.org and had 6 partial gallons by the next day. I chose red because it was bright and plentiful.
All together, with no tools at all except a hammer and a paintbrush this project took about 3 hours. Now I have a fabulous big comfy place to lounge in my magical garden while the little Hippies splash in the kiddie pool. Hooray!
Yesterday I picked up four new pallets in near perfect condition. Which project to do next? Hmmm…. time to visit Pinterest.
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!