How to make a planter box from pallet wood

How to make a nice pallet planter box

Planter box plans

Well, I am not only using pallet wood to make this planter, I also use a 38×38 millimetres strip of pine that I have in my shop. I make this planter box because I want to see how pallet wood looks after planing it with my homemade thickness planer. And because I want a simple way to make the box shape, I decided to route grooves in the planter legs to join the pieces of board. This is something very easy to make if you have a router table.

How to cut the pallet wood boards

The best part is that we don’t have to dismantle any pallet to make this project out of pallet wood. It is enough if we use the jigsaw to cut the pieces we need.


Pallet wood boards after planing

As you can see in the photos, pallet wood looks quite well after planing it, it even looks like new.

Metal detector to find pallet nails

The biggest problem is that it can have nails, or pieces of nails that are very difficult to see, so we have a big risk of damage in the blades if we plane the pallet boards. That´s why I recommend to use a metal detector before planing the boards. I have had this metal detector for more than 5 years, and I´ve never used it before, but now I think it will be a handy tool in my small woodworking shop.

Another problem is that the boards can be twisted, so they are not easy to plane, because due to the curvature some boards can offer a lot of resistance when I push them between the planer and the sliding fence. But I planed twenty five boards and I only had that problem with a couple of them. I mean to when I plane the faces of the boards, with them in vertical between the planer and the fence. In the video I mention another problem, when I joint the edges of the boards, with them horizontally between the fence and a planer without any kind of guard.

Straight router bits I use to make grooves

Then, to make the sides of the planter I need to plane the pieces of pallet boards until the thick is equal to the thick of the grooves I route in the planter legs.

I don’t need to fit neither the bottom boards nor the top frame boards inside any groove, so it is not necessary to worry about the thickness of these ones. It is enough with just planing, a couple of times, both sides of the boards. Even so, I must make sure that all the boards are the same thick. Mainly, I want all the top frame boards to be the same thick, because I want them to be flush when I miter joint them.

And to make the boards fit inside the grooves, I needed to plane them once and again. Next time I think I will use a 12 millimetres router bit, instead of the 10 millimetres router bit that I´ve used to make this planter box. You can see in the video how I route the grooves and how I plane the boards.

Problems gluing on the wood protector stain

Before I glue the top frame on top of the planter box, I used wood protector stain to paint all the parts, because I wanted to paint with ease. I used a glue that is suitable to use in outdoor woodworking projects. I let it dry overnight, and next day I realised that it didn’t grab the stained wood, so I decided to use epoxy to glue the top frame, because that is what I have by hand, and I don’t want to use nails or screws.

To make this project I don’t use neither nails nor screws

Plastic pot and pallet planter box

The plastic pot that I have to put inside the planter is bigger than the top frame opening, but that is why I don´t glue the bottom boards, because that is the enter to put the plastic pot inside the planter. They also go loose on the bottom strips, because I want these boards to be easy to remove and replace when I need to change the plastic pot, or when I have to stain again the pallet wood planter.

Planter box after applying wood protector stain

If I don´t use the wood protector stain, I don´t know how long would this pallet wood last if I fill it with soil instead of using the plastic pot. And the thing is that I don´t feel comfortable if I put the soil in contact with the stained wood, because that stain has chemicals, and the soil would probably end, someday, in the compost bin. I could cover the inside of the planter with a plastic sheet, but I think it is a better idea to use the plastic pot.

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