Tag Archives: youtube

Writing desk made from recycled wooden pallets

I needed a writing desk/dining table for the cabin. It would have been easier and less time-consuming to just buy a cheap-ass folding table from one of the big-box office stores or scrounge one from a local thrift shop, but as I was leaving work one day I discovered a pile of wooden pallets out near the dumpster. Up until recently, I had been resisting the urge to throw such finds into the back of the truck and bring them home since my wife voiced her concern a few years back. She had grown weary of all the wooden pallet furniture I was making and bringing into the house. I was on a roll back then — made a cutting table (which became my standing writing desk since the wife didn’t want it in the kitchen), a workbench (or two), and two six-foot-tall bookshelves. But since this one is for my cabin, I don’t think she’d mind.

Here’s a Youtube video I posted of the finished product with a fresh coat of stain just applied:

I originally tried applying linoleum tile squares to the table surface ($17.60 for a box of faux granite at Lowe’s), but that just looked tacky and accentuated every little uneven surface, so I tore it all out and went with the bare wood surface. Good enough.

I make no effort to hide the fact that this writing desk was a wooden pallet in a past life. To me, that’s all part of the charm.

Workshop in the garage

Tools used:
— Pencil
— Hammer
— Reciprocating saw
— Chop saw
— Electric sander
— Cordless screwdriver
— Electric palm sander
— Electric drill
— Pry bar
— 3-inch nails
— 3-inch screws (if the wood is too hard to hammer nails into)

I don’t normally use a T-square or tape measure when I’m building these kinds of things. Each piece is sized relative to the other pieces I’m working with. I usually figure where each piece will fit, mark it with a pencil, then cut. With one exception: I wanted to get the desk height just right, so I Googled the standard desk height and discovered it to be 28 inches, so I cut the leg pieces to be about that size, give or take an inch or two.

Building a writing desk/dining table for the cabin

Brief note on tools…

For the first few wooden pallet projects, the only tools I had was a hammer, a crowbar, and a boxful of nails. It took me a full day breaking down the pallets, pulling out all the nails, and getting them into the sizes and pieces I needed.


Take advantage of the fact that you are human. Learn to use tools! Better yet: learn to use POWER TOOLS! Instead of wrestling with every single nail and trying to pull it out of the wood (in some cases splitting the wood in the process and rendering it useless), just cut right through it with a reciprocating saw. Then take your hammer to all the little nail bits that are still sticking out and pound them back into the wood. The chop saw is self-explanatory. You can spend five minutes sawing a piece of wood by hand or you can use a chop saw to get the exact size you need in two seconds. DONE.

Building a writing desk/dining table for the cabin

Building a writing desk/dining table for the cabin

Building a writing desk/dining table for the cabin

Sanded down all the surfaces because splinters suck. Took my reciprocating saw to all the uneven edges. All that’s left to be done is the staining. Break time!

Building a writing desk/dining table for the cabin

Walk-through of my new “tiny house”

First view as the official owner of a one-acre spot of land with a cabin that I picked up for $17,000 cash. It’s about an hour’s drive east of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. I’m going to call this place Rancho Koogmo.

(Apologies in advance for the crappy video quality. This was recorded with an iPhone 3GS.)

gear review: Ontario TAK-1 knife

Quick overview of a new toy I got in the mail today, an Ontario TAK-1 knife — fixed blade, plain edge. Thing came out of the box SHARP as hell. Slices through cardboard and business cards like butter.

It’s a bit longer than I expected, which is my own fault for not researching the products specifications before ordering the thing. Oh, well. I used my American Express rewards points to pay for it, so it was kinda/sorta a freebie, anyway. Tried giving it to the wife to use in the kitchen, but she wasn’t interested. Said it looked too sharp and isn’t the right shape for a kitchen knife. (??) Anyway….

I still plan to use it for outdoor activities or whatever. I was hoping to use this as my everyday carry, but I went ahead and purchased an Ontario RAT 3 for that purpose instead. I’ll keep the TAK-1 lashed to my backpack.

You can order it on Amazon here.

How to situate the Velcro clasp the sheath. This is probably common knowledge for people familiar with Velcro knife sheaths or knives in general, but it took me a few minutes to figure it out: