Along that note, though, if you check out the MPA boards, you'll see I have a pin-board dedicated to DIY projects, and I've pinned a whole bunch of ideas for re-purposing wooden pallets. I LOVE all the ideas that are out there. Old pallets have this amazing patina to them that remind me of reclaimed barn-board or old milk crates. I've found pallets made from soft woods, sure, but I've also found pallets made with maple, cedar and oak. It is important to know, though, that they treat pallets with chemicals to keep them from rotting. Kind-of like how they pressure-treat wood for fences and decks, but without the green hue. These are pretty ugly chemicals, so I highly recommend doing any sanding of this wood in a well-ventilated area or using a dust mask. Wash your hands after sanding. And clear-coat the entire project when complete with a water-based urethane product to seal it in (I'm a huge fan of Benjamin Moore's Stays Clear; it was used on every gym floor throughout the Toronto School Board--this stuff is tough, dries in about an hour, and barely has any odor whatsoever).
I also happen to love reno projects and making stuff myself. My hubby and I have this beautiful dining room table idea we've fully drawn plans to build, but I want to make it from Douglas Fir which is not a common wood in Ontario (unless you have a really old barn to tear down) so we haven't been able to get out and get the lumber to make it. But at some point, that will happen. And until then, I'm building some of these weekend projects using pallets that I can get hold of for free (which fits my budget perfectly).
So, the pallet in the front is the one I chose for the shoe rack. It doesn't have a nice patina at all, but that doesn't matter if its going in the closet. I think it's actually spruce, so it's pretty crappy lumber, but the width of the slats and the spacing between them was already perfect.
This is such a simple and genius project. We measured the space we had in the closet, decided we didn't want the shoe rack to go up above where the coats hung, and cut the top off to the right height. We used a skilsaw for this. Then I dragged it out onto my driveway and used a palm-sander with 80-grit paper and sanded all the rough fronts of the slats, the ends, and got between the slats as best as I could. I didn't want rough splinters marking anyone's shoes. I took a sanding sponge to it after that, just to get between the slats a little bit better. It wasn't perfect, not by any means, but it was better than it was before.
Now, it was a bone-chilling 2 degrees Celsius outside and I was just freezing my @$$ off outside, so I dragged the whole thing into my front hallway to seal it with the clear coat (and hopefully seal in some more of the rough edges). Like I said, the Stays Clear has almost no smell whatsoever and dries fast, so why not?
Two coats of Stays Clear (with a light sanding between coats), and the project was done. It took less than a half day. My cost? $4 for more wall plugs to mount it in the back of the closet. We were out of them.