By Butch Bridges
Lone Grove, Oklahoma
Around the first part of March 2009 I came up with the idea of building a tool shed out of wood pallets. I was needing a good shed for various things every since we moved here, and I thought the wood pallets just might fill the bill. And recycle pallets that would have been headed for the dump!
My first task was to find suitable wood pallets. Pallets come in all sizes. I just happened to find a place in Ardmore where nearly all the pallets they put out back by the dumpster were exactly 42 inches square. And each pallet just happened to be in nearly new condition! I wouldn't realize until later how important it would be to use square pallets. By using 42" X 42" square pallets meant no modifying. The less cutting you have to do to the pallets, the better, because they are made of extremely hard wood. Ideally 36" square pallets should be used, but I didn't know where a good source for that size was available.
To make one wall, I bolted 3 pallets together, end to end (42" X 126" inch wall, about 10½ feet).
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To put together all the walls I used about 50 3½ inch long, 5/16 inch bolts along with washers. If I had it to do over again, I might have used ¼ inch bolts and saved a little dough.
A couple of people has asked how it connected the corners. I still used bolts and since I didn't have a short bolt, I used a spacer board to make up the difference. Corner Bolt
To start the second level wall, I bolted 2 sections together, then placed them on top of the first wall, beginning at a corner. I continued bolting one section to the next, until I had gone all around the shed's 2nd level. To secure the 2nd level to the 1st level, I used a couple of short pieces of 1X4's inside of the walls of the pallets with bolts (about 24 bolts) all the way through. It took 4 inch long bolts for this.
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For the roof I used 2X4s (12 feet long) turned on their sides (2X6s would be better, but cost more). I raised the front of the shed's roof by another 10 inches using 2X4s as extensions. This would give the roof the slope I think it needed. Across the 2X4s I placed 1X4s (12 feet long) secured with 3½ deck screws (63 of them since I put 2 at the ends of each 2X4). For the roofing material I selected galvanized carport type sheet metal from Builder Bob's in Ardmore. Jill even took a picture of me putting the sheet metal on top.
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For the exterior walls I chose 4X8 sheets of 7/16 inch thick 'Knotty Pine BarnSide' which is only available from Lowe's as far as I know ($16.95 a sheet - took 10 sheets).
(Update 03/12/12: I think the BarnSide is now called LP SmartSide Panel. I don't think Lowes carries it anymore.) Link to LP SmartSide
To the siding I applied a good coat of Battleship Gray oil based paint (not water based Latex). You can get a quality oil based paint at Cook Paints in downtown Ardmore at Main Street and Washington.
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Paint brush tip: Jill's keeps a supply of those $1 brushes (there is about 3 sizes) from Dollar Tree on hand all the time. I have used one brush on the first day, wrapped it tightly in a plastic bag, used it the second day, wrapped it again real tight in another plastic bag, and then used it again on the 3rd day (using oil base paint). Now that's getting mileage out of a $1 brush. I'm sure the same kind of brush can be bought at General Dollar or Family Dollar stores.
This is a pic of my shed doors which I already had made from a previous shed and just had to modify a little to make them work on the new shed. This first pic is before the doors are painted.
I probably should have done the next step first, but didn't. I secured the shed to the ground with some concrete piers I poured at each corner, along with a heavy steel strap imbedded into the concrete along with an 18 inch piece of rebar I drove down into the hole. I should have dug the holes deeper for the concrete, but after months and months of hardly no rain, the ground was so hard, it was the best I could do. Between the corners I used just plain old red bricks under the walls for support.
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And there is the final product- painted, gated and ready.
In summary, my 10 ft X 10 ft shed made from recycled wood pallets turned out very well. Stronger than I ever expected, less complicated to make, and saved me money over the conventional building method or store bought sheds. Since there is no plastic in the construction, it should last many years. Total cost was less than $500.
UPDATE: We decided on Saturday April 11, 2009 to add a smaller storage shed off the side of the main shed using 4 pallets and a 2X4 frame, fold-up roof attached with 4 hinges.
After looking over my webpage on the pallet shed, a man in Florida decided to try his luck making one in his backyard. He incorporated some new ideas of his own, resulting in a really nice shed made from recycled pallets.
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07/12/09 I needed several shelves to go in our 40' cargo building, so I decided to try my luck making shelves out of wood pallets. I have less than $14 in each 42" wide X 21" deep X 6 ft tall shelf. I made 9 units and they turned out very strong, should last many years. Click here..... Pallet Shelf
06/26/15 Current photo of my pallet shed. It's just as strong as the day I built it in 2009. Photo
With the pallet shed finished, I've started a chicken coop made of wood pallets. We plan to have about 4 hens and a rooster. Just click here for more info..... Chicken Coop!