Make a rustic pallet-wood bath cabinet

Make a rustic pallet-wood bath cabinet

As we gain experience as woodworkers, we begin to get a feel for the properties of all types of wood species. We understand that sawing hard maple is completely different from sawing pine.
The way to achieve success when building with pallet wood is to understand the material you are working with. Think of it as a separate species, in a way, and you won’t fall into the trap of trying to revert the individual boards to their original, freshly milled, lumberyard states.
All the use and abuse they have been through in their lifetimes show in every nail hole, rust stain, gouge and split. Work with those features as if they were the grain on an ebony board. Design projects around those defects. Emphasize and highlight them! Those pallets worked hard to earn those blemishes.
The Bath Cabinet
When designing this cabinet, I wanted it to say, “simplicity”. There is nothing complicated about the construction or the design. “Rustic” refers not only to the quality and condition of the wood, but to its humble purpose.
If you build with pallet wood, you will discover that the boards come in all different widths and thicknesses, so if you use my plans, observe the measurements loosely. Use the boards you have available and work them into custom dimensions.
I used my router to square up the edges of my boards for gluing together into wide panels. If you don’t have a router or a jointer, you can make do by just by sawing straight edges on two boards and gluing them together. Like everything on this cabinet, nothing has to fit together perfectly. In fact, if you strive for absolute precision (the way so many woodworkers learn) you will end up very frustrated. Remember to use the wood as it wants to be used!
Download Plans

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t get past the thought of all that grit, rocks, missed nails, etc. going across my $60 Freud saw blades much less my tools themselves. Until I can expand the shop and put in a separate work area with cheap tools and blades I’m going to have to pass on pallet wood.

    I thought you didn’t need a jointer. 😉

    I’d be concerned about the strength of the glue joints on the rough surface of the side panels. I probably would have nailed those also, at least with pin nails. Since you nailed the back and top on that helped.

    Those are T hinges, not strap hinges.

    I thought the woodworking was over when the audible.com plug began. Of course I watched through it, and “dovetail” made it worth it. I’m not complaining about the plug, I completely understand the need to put beans on the table, but you might be losing some viewers in the middle.

    Is that enough nitpicking for one video? 😉

    • Don’t use Freud saw blade. Get a cheap blade for pallet wood!

      Most people dislike commercials. Some people even seem to hate it when people earn an income. (I presume they can’t stand that workers at McDonalds get paid, too.)

      The alternative is to charge people for (cough-cough) “premium” content and post “free” YouTube videos that are just teasers for the (ahem) “premium” content.

    • I don’t believe he was complaining about the ‘commercial’ just that the cut to it was rather abrupt, and that since the project was mostly finished at that point he was surprised when there was more ‘content’ afterwards. I agree that some people might have thought the video was over at that point and didn’t finish watching. (though I’m sure you could check the stats to see if that is an issue or not).

      I like these projects, as rough as they may be, they can be quite liberating to those of us that can get too caught up in ‘fine’ woodworking perfection.

      Great video =).

  2. I like rustic but this one is too rough to be what I call rustic. Wait til your wife gets home! I did enjoy the process, that’s all that really matters. I think I hear her car pulling up.

  3. Hey Steve, you should be used to all the negative comments by now. Anyway, good job and keep em comin. You make Fridays even better. We get the weekend off and a good woodworking video.

  4. That is awesome. I watch everyone of your videos and just love the projects you make. I received a circular saw for Christmas and get excited every time I get to use it. I am currently making a entrance table out of a pallet I got for free from work and can’t wait to get it finished and show it off.

  5. Steve, love the pallet projects. Still in a bit of a deep freeze here on the east coast. Have some pallet wood and going to make a wine rack. Look forward to Fridays and your projects. Keep the projects coming.

  6. I like the rustic bathroom cabinet. For those that think it’s a little too rough, with a small change in the basic design, it would be simple to make this into a garden tool cabinet for hand tools or whatever. I can see alot of use for this cabinet. I really like pallet wood projects………FREE WOOD.

  7. Great work, Steve. Love what you do with pallet wood. Also liked the Woodbug pallet bench. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Great project! I was in the process of making a bathroom cabinet and was looking for the right look. Since I have quite a lot of pallet wood about ,This is the ideal starter for me to build off of, thanks a lot sir!
    Oh and that quote you put up from the book was very inspirational. Thanks for that as well!

  9. Steve,
    Yet another excellent instructional video and free plan. Thanks for the spirit of generosity that comes through on your website. The comments by 7.62x54r have me scratching my head wondering why he doesn’t leave his website URL to showcase all of his expert skills, videos, and plans, because he obviously has all the answers.

  10. Steve,
    I’m new to your site and love the work you do! I find your projects and way of thinking
    inspirational and now look forward to your weekly projects…..great ideas!
    Too bad the few that did complain don’t go out or download the book you talked about as
    it is a great teacher of life! If they did read it, they probably would not have left those comments!
    I should know as I have a copy of it!
    Thanks again
    Tom C.

  11. I LOVE the look of many pallet projects. However, I do worry about all the chemicals possibly on used ones ;/.. mine will have to be from pine or something and beat up to look more rustic…. that is unless I know exactly what has been on them or if it is for something outdoors. I absolutely LOVE your videos though and can not wait to learn more!! Newbie woodworker ( about 2 years) who is also a nurse and torn between the two professions!! LOL.. woodworking does not pay as well for sure but we love it. You have definitely been a big part of my woodworking journey so far! Thanks again!

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