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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Green Thursday - Pallet Fail

I generally try to keep my business and blog full of happy thoughts, wonderful adventures, and good times.  However, today is not going to be one of those days.  Turn away now...this is your warning!

Ok, clearly the imp or perversion is grabbing your attention and you are shockingly still here.  Maybe you need a little darkness in your life today?  They say it makes the happier moments even sweeter....I have mixed feelings about that.

I would like to say that the journey I am about to take you on started with purely good intentions.  They just happen to have been a little misguided and informed.  Yup.  Misguided.  

It all started with a trip through the internets and all its splendor...mainly Pinterest, however, I am not blaming Pinterest.  In fact...I am not really BLAMING anyone really.  And I saw so very many DIY Pallet Furniture, Coffee Table, Raised Bed, Potting Bench, clearly just fill in the blank.  All the DIY Pallet __________ came with a ton of gorgeous photos, step by step instructions, so much optimism, and I was so VERY excited to jump head first into one of these glorious projects.

Pallets are mostly free.  You see them by the dumpsters.  You see them on the side of the road.  They are a staple of our modern society.  (ok, that last one sounds a bit dramatic)  But how awesome is it that people are taking them and turning them into useful pieces of decor and furniture!  This is pretty much the ultimate form of my opinion.  

So after much discussion and convincing, I was able to get my wondrous husband to assist me in my pursuit of the cheapest raised bed in history.  (can you feel me trying to make a humorous slant to the upcoming disaster?)  He works worked in a warehouse type of job where pallets are found for free at their dumpster on a regular schedule.  In my mind we would start with a raised bed, move on to a potting bench, and the sky was the limit at that point.  Early in the morning he and I loaded up our SUV with around 10 of these beauties.  Headed to Home Depot to buy some nails...yeah total cost at that point was going to be about $10 for all the nails and some gas.

At this point our early spring day was quickly heating up to be a scorching high 80's day with no breeze to cool.  Unloading the pallets we got to work.  I had no less than 3 DIY step by step instructions at the ready guiding us to our my goal.  (I am not posting any of the instructions posted, or any photos of someone's success stories.  I will let you seek those out on your own.)  We began by hammering breaking down the wood from pallet form to single planks.  This is where little flags began to be raised.  We tried several methods of separating out the wood without exploding the desired plank. We tried to prevent them from splitting.  We tried to prevent them from being torn to bits, splinters, and broken dreams.  We failed.  We went from having 10 pallets to three piles.

Pile #1 This pile consisted of shards of broken wood.  Pretty much it was a garbage pile where any unusable piece could die to be tossed out.  This was clearly the larger pile of the three.

Pile #2  This is the optimistic pile of wood.  Sure the wood was a little less than what it was moments before, but who let a few splits or breaks ruin a piece of wood?  This was the medium pile but definitely held its own with Pile #1.

Pile #3  This pile was very small and consisted of about a dozen planks of wood with less than noticeable blemishes.  This was the pile I referred to momentarily as....Hey it worked!

This is when the heat, the forming failure, and frustration kinda kicked into overdrive.  But I stayed strong, modified my plans from a large bed to a much smaller one.  And we then went to hammering the pieces together.  

I should not have been surprised when the nails were hard to actually go into the treated wood.  I should not have been as surprised when the wood proceeded to split and explode into pieces....again.  I was...  After investing around a good 6+ hours working on the project, I can say with confidence we were left with broken dreams and a pile of useless wood.

Um...some of you might be thinking...maybe your skills don't lie in hammering things together.  Maybe you don't know the first thing about nailing two things together.  That is a very valid and legitimate thought.  However, I counter argue that I not only was a member of my college Habitat for Humanity, but I also both started the chapter and lead it till my graduation as president.  Fact.  I have started with a blank foundation, built walls, and left with a standing structure....I have skills.

Here are some photos of my broken dreams the broken planks of wood.  

Clearly...people are successful at building things out of pallets.  Otherwise there would not be so very many DIY ideas or inspirational photos out there.  Have you built anything out of a pallet?  Did you have success with your pallet furniture?  Have you ever done a DIY that went terribly wrong?  Let me know so I don't feel so alone.

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