I jointed and planed the pallet wood to the largest “whole” thicknesses that were possible; 1″, 3/4″, 1/2″, and 1/4″. Additionally, I ripped the wood to the largest whole widths I could – this ranged from 5 1/2″ down to about 2″. The majority of the wood that I was able to source ended up being planed down to a 1/2″ thickness and ripped to about 3″ wide.
After taking inventory of the stock that I now had available, along with the other constraints, I was ready to make the final design. I tried several methods to learn to design the units, including drawing them by hand, cutting the components out of paper, and actually laying out all of the materials to see what would work best.
Eventually I gave up on making the drawings by hand; I’m not much of an artist and the overall construction of the units were complex enough that I was having difficulty visualizing it in my head.
I decided to use this as an opportunity to learn to use SketchUp, and I found that being able to manipulate the parts in 3D was exceptionally useful. Within about a day, I had learned enough to use SketchUp effectively, and within about another day I had produced a basic model for the project.
With the designs created and each part measured, I started marking my stock with cuts and joints. Because I had to make several identical or very similar components, it was great to be able to batch the work and do all of those components at the same time. With all of the components clearly marked, it was very easy to move quickly through cutting.
Since I work in a shared workspace, it was important to me that I didn’t completely take over the shop with my project – not only would it prevent others from using the workspace, it would significantly increase the chances that I would forget to cut a particular component or lose track of some of my stock. Doing layout ahead of time made that much easier.
The large garden timbers I had sourced for this project were eventually ripped down to consistent 2″x3″ beams. I cut eight upright posts about 34″ in length, each with a half-lap at the top and a dado at 18″ from the bottom (this dado was cut both to accept the crossbar and the span along the outside).
I also cut eight crossbars 47″ in length, and four spans about 30″ in length, each with half-lap joints on the ends.
Using 3×1/2″ pine pallet stock, I cut about a two-dozen slats for the middle shelf 28″ long and about 21 15″ side slats. I used a dado blade to cut a 1/2″x1/4″ tongue on each end of each slat.
I cut a 3/8″ groove along the inside of the middle crossbars, which would accept the 1/4″ tongues cut on the slats, to create the middle shelf. I also cut a 3/8″ groove along the top of the spans to accept the side slats – the wider grooves allows for wood movement.
I glued and screwed the uprights and crossbars together, then added the spans on one side using glue and pocket holes, and inserted the slats. On the prep unit, the shelf slats were about 1″ apart; on the hot unit, I spaced them more closely to make it easier to support the turkey fryer.
I added the other upright and crossbar frame to create a complete carcass for each unit. Lastly, I cut two supports out of 1/2″x3″x43″ pine stock for each shelf, attaching them to the underside of the shelf with pocket screws.
With the shelf complete I added side slats and a top spanner to two sides of the prep unit and the interior side of the hot unit (the outside of the hot unit was left open to accommodate airflow, a larger grill, or a small barrel smoker attachment).
Using 8 1″x3″x25″ hardwood pallet stock, I cut 3″ normal half-laps on one end and mitered half-laps on the other. I joined the pieces at the regular half-laps (gluing and clamping) to create top and bottom pieces 47″ long.
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