If you've ever been to the hardware store to buy some bits of timber for making a coffee table or something along those lines, you'll no doubt have discovered just how expensive wood can be. In fact, many DIY enthusiasts have long since given up making their own items of furniture simply because readymade furniture usually costs less.
The big difference of course is that most readymade furniture is of a substandard quality. Yes, it might look good, and it might have those professional finishing touches, but that's where it ends. The minute it comes into contact with any water, even from you mopping the floor, it begins to swell, and from there on it's a downward spiral.
In the past, when I've recommended second hand timber pallets to friends who are DIY enthusiasts, they always tend to be skeptical. Admittedly, used pallets are usually made from cheaper types of timber, such as pine for example, but with a little bit of effort and creativity, they can be turned into really nice furniture.
Furthermore, you do not need a fully equipped workshop either. I would personally recommend that you have an electric planer; a belt sander; an orbital sander, and of course, a drill. You'll also need a few hand tools such as screwdrivers, saw, and etc. Once you have secured a few used pallets, your first job is to break them up into individual pieces of wood. and then simply store the various pieces in an appropriate place.
I never set myself any deadlines. Instead, I wait until I see an item of furniture which I really like, and one which I know could have made from the wood I've salvaged from the pallets. For example, I recently saw a really nice bedside pedestal. I immediately went home and started working out my measurements in order to know whether I had enough timber to make two; one for either side of our bed. The following weekend I went to work, and even if I have to say so myself, our pedestals look terrific.
Our dining room table is also made from second hand timber pallets, as is our coffee table, and also out TV cabinet. They might be made from pine, but you would never say so if you saw them, and I can assure you, they're not going to fall to bits any time soon. In fact, everyone who has seen the furniture I've made from used pallets has commented on how good it looks.
So, how do you go about getting your hands on old pallets? Many companies just want to get rid of them, and if that's the case, they'll let you have them free of charge. Others will sometimes charge you a small fee, but again, it's a lot less than you'd pay at your local hardware. One thing to keep in mind however, is the fact that there are a growing number of timber merchants who are willing to purchase used pallets.
Of course if you have access to second hand pallets on an ongoing basis, then you could also earn a little revenue on the line, but from personal experience, you can make a lot more if you use them for making household furniture. In a nutshell, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the wood used for making pallets, so why not take advantage of an ideal opportunity?
Not only can you save a reasonable amount of money, but you can also have the pleasure of knowing that much of the furniture in your home has been made / crafted by you.