This Valentine's Day, I'm putting my hands to work to make my wife happy. With a little help from our sponsor HART, I'm making a pallet spice rack to show Chelsea how much I love her.
That's right, I'm treating my marriage like an old wood pallet and making it fresh and new again.
Wood pallet spice rack: something old into something new
Marriage is one of the greatest investments anyone could ever make. Like a lot of investments, though, it takes work, management, and attention. For a positive net outcome, you have to keep putting something into it. Of course, one of the biggest things you put into a marriage is LOVE. That's why it was extremely important that I learned that Chelsea's love language was acts of service. Chelsea knows I love her when I do the things she needs to help improve her life. Seems pretty simple. Most of the time.
An easy start with HART tools
Being the loving husband that I am, I quickly learned to pay attention. Like when Chelsea said she wanted a better place to store her spices in the RV while we rattled down the road. I ALSO know that Chelsea loves crafts and had been looking at wood pallet spice racks online.
This Valentine's Day gift idea was handed straight to me. I decided to get going with some of our new HART tools. Chelsea and I have used HART tools for years and now a complete line of them is as easy to get as a loaf of bread at Walmart.
What is a pallet spice rack?
The first step in making a pallet spice rack is actually just finding an old wood pallet. It's simple enough, if you know where to look. Head to some of your local hardware stores, pet stores, or even feed shops if you have them around. Businesses often wind up with pallets they want to get rid of.
You can usually find them behind the buildings and just need to ask a manager to see if they have spares. If they do and are willing to part with one or two, pick out a pallet without too much decay or too many cracks and breaks in it. Once you get it home, you can use a hammer to knock out the desired planks.
Like pulling nails
After you knock out the planks you want to use, be sure to check for any lingering nails or staples that might have hung on for dear life. You can use a pair of HART pliers or the hammer to pull and knock these out. This will make construction easier and safer. The last thing you want when reaching for the cayenne is a spicy old nail poking your finger.
Measure twice, for nicely stored spice
You think this is common knowledge, but it should always be said. Always measure your cuts twice. Since this project is so easy, and we're using scrap wood, it shouldn't be too stressful. You'll want to make sure your two sides are even lengths, depending on your desired height. I simply measured the height and the width of the space we had for our space rack, and based my wood sizes around that. You'll want to start with two tall pieces on the ends and base all other cuts around those primary pieces.
Depending on your desired width, you'll want to start by cutting the base and cap piece that go on top and underneath your side pieces. I also decided to add a support piece across the back, so I made my back piece hang off slightly to serve as a little shelf, and I made it hang forward a bit to provide added support.
Then, you'll want to cut the middle shelf piece, remembering to cut it so that it fits between the sides. This is easy enough: simply subtract the width of each side wall piece from the size of your base and cap. The backers – pieces that hold the spices in on the front and back – will be the same width as the rack. Not too hard.
Make one clean cut
Spinning at 4,700 rpm, the thin kerf blade makes easy work of the planks for the pallet spice rack. There are fewer than a dozen cuts to make, so this project will barely even begin to drain power from the battery. These HART batteries can pretty much get you through a full day of work.
Get a stronger grip
Here's something I learned along the way that helps get your wood projects together and keeps them sturdier. I used my HART 70 piece bit kit and found a drill bit just smaller than my screws. Then, I drilled “pilot holes” through the planks right where the screws were going.
This does two things. First, the pre-drilled hole makes it easier for the screw to travel straight through the wood without altering its angle. Second, it helps prevent the screw from splitting weaker or thinner wood. Now, you'll have a longer lasting pallet spice rack.
After putting in the pilot holes, you'll also want to make it easier to get those screws nice and flush. Here's a tip for the “poor man's counter sink.” I put one of the broader HART Phillips heads into my HART brushless drill. Firmly pressing the drill into the top of the pilot hole, I give the drill about a one or two second go. This will round out and bevel the end of the pilot hole and allow the head of the screw to sit down flush on the wood. No snags and a smooth finish.
You can even pilot drill the shelf into place. Just be sure to keep all the wood aligned as you go.
Get a smooth finish
You can pretty much guarantee that a wood pallet spice rack is going to be made from fairly rough wood. HART's 20V orbital sander will make quick work of any splinters or rough spots. I was pretty happy to see that putting on a new sandpaper pad was as simply as Velcroing it right on.
The finishing touch
Chelsea loves to craft, so I left the finishing touches to her. Using HART's cordless rotary tool, she got a chance to make this pallet spice rack a thing of personal beauty.
With swift strokes of her hand, she penned…or rather, ground her love to life. A few sweet words and an advanced doodle, and she was done. She learned in some class recently that you can use colored pencil to add a little more flair to wood work, so she deftly added some color into her rotary curves, sanded over it a bit to add a worn finish, and stepped back with satisfaction.
Variety is the spice of life, indeed.
I even threw on a small sanding wheel and took care of those spots that were too tight for the orbital sander to get to. I'd say this project “rounded out” nicely. Cue comedic drum sound.
Pallet Spice Rack Storage
And that's how it's done. A gift started by hand just for my wife to give her what she wanted and needed. A gift finished by her to make it perfect.
Variety is the Spice of Life
That's pretty much all there is to it. A fun little project that helps solve a problem and build wood crafting confidence. I hope this helped inspire you guys in some way.
Until next time, here's a quick rundown of how you make a pallet spice rack:
- Locate pallet from a hardware store, feed stores, etc.
- Pull out the best usable wood
- Remove screws, nails, and staples
- Measure cuts twice and cut once, starting with the other edges and then reinforcing with the top and bottom and measuring your shelves and backers around that frame.
- Use pilot holes for stronger, longer lasting holds
- Remember the poor man's counter sink
- Sand smooth
- Optional rotary tool for personal touch
Could your household make use of a pallet spice rack?