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How to Make a Bed Frame out of Pallets
Pallets can be modified for a lot of different uses, and making a bed frame is one of the more interesting ones that I’ve stumbled upon recently. All you need are a couple of pallets that are in good condition and some other common items, and you’re good to go. Let’s look at one example that illustrates how easy it is to put a bed frame together while making good use out of some material that is just sitting around and collecting dust.
4 pallets that are similar in size
12-16 brackets or hurricane straps that are 4” long
1 piece 4×8 piece of plywood
Approximately 80 wood screws
Drill with screwdriver attachment
Paint or stain
Keep in mind that you can improvise as you go based on the materials that you have on hand. The essential parts of this project are the pallets and fasteners. You can also improvise on the size of the bed by connecting additional pallets and adding more plywood as well.
The first step is to remove the top horizontal boards on two pallets and the bottom horizontal ones off the other two. The aim is to stack the boards atop each other by lining up their respective crossbeams and securing them together. This will not only make the frame taller, but it will also create spaces along the sides to insert drawers later. You could also skip this step and stack the two sets of pallets together and secure them in place to create the frame as well. However, you won’t have any storage space when finished.
Adding the Plywood
Cut the plywood into pieces that will fit between the crossbeams and the inside-bottom of each pallet. Glue them in place and add some weight as necessary to create a good seal. Sand down the edges of the plywood as well as around the outside perimeter of the pallets. You want the surface to be as smooth as possible to prevent getting cut, poked or snagged by splinters, nails or any other type of protrusions. This will also help to protect your mattress and bedding.
Painting and Attaching the Pallets
Once the pallets have been prepared and sanded, you can either paint or stain them now or wait until they are attached. If you paint them now, you may find it easier to get into some hard to reach places. It may also be easier to work with the individual pallets as opposed to trying to maneuver the entire frame later on. You may also want to consider treating the wood in order to slow decay and prevent insect problems down the line.
When the time comes to attach the pallets, place one over the other so they are sandwiched together. Align the the center crossbeam in each set and attach one bracket on one side about an inch or two from the outside edge. Attach the another bracket to the opposite side near the corresponding outside edge. Repeat this for the other segment you are creating. Next, attach another bracket near each outside corner of each pallet until you have a total of four brackets and four connections.
Finally, join the two pallet sections by placing brackets on either side of the outer crossbeams the form the border of each section. Place the brackets vertically so they will secure the top and bottom portions of each pallet section. Ideally, you want to have four brackets for each connection, two on one side and two on the other. However, you can get by with using two brackets, one one each side, if the connection is secure and the frame is sturdy.
All you need to do now is place the mattress on top, and you can start enjoying your new bed. Keep in mind that this project will produce a twin-sized frame, and you can scale up with more sections in order to accommodate larger mattresses. You may also want to consider adding some reinforcing pieces of 2×4 throughout the frame in order to prevent the pallets from sagging and promoting better weight distribution.
As you can see, there’s plenty of room to improvise, but this example gives you a general idea of what to expect. Try it for yourself, and see how you can take advantage of this project now as well as during a time when you need to be self-sufficient.
The Long History of the Trusted Utility Knife
Did you know that there have been variants to the modern utility knife since the early days of the Roman Empire? Some believe that pocket knifes emerged before then as well. This is a testament to the practicality and usefulness of this tool, and it also illustrates the importance of having one on hand at all times.
The first known jack knife dates back to around 600BC, and the design hasn’t changed all that much since. A thick and sturdy blade was anchored between two pieces of metal or wood that were riveted or welded together. The blade was a few inches long, and could easily be stored in a pouch or pocket without harming the user. However, they weren’t mass-produced and available to the general public until the 1600s. A company in England is attributed to creating the “penny knife”, which was the first affordable utility knife that was a favorite among laborers and farmers.
Switch Blades and Butterflies
Butterfly and switchblade knives started to make an appearance in the 1700s. A French company is attributed to inventing the first butterfly knife early in the century. It had a rudimentary design that is not fundamentally different to what we see today. Two pieces of material encapsulate the blade which can be concealed easily and deployed quickly. Switch blades were considered to be invented around the same time, but they weren’t mass-produced until the middle of the century in England. It had a spring-loaded locking mechanism that was released by pressing a button.
The Modern Utility Knife
The original utility knife was thought to be made near the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, and it included a rudimentary fork, spoon, pick and blade. However, it looked more like a cheap can opener than anything else. It is thought that the modern utility knife was built on the designs of the jack knife, butterfly and switchblade. It wasn’t until the late 1890s when Swiss inventors came up with the knife that would become the gold-standard: The Swiss Army Knife.
The Swiss Army Knife was made for soldiers who needed a foldable multi-tool that could serve as a can opener while including a special blade and screwdriver for taking apart their rifles. The first Swiss Army Knife was born, and it was originally called the Soldier Knife. It included a blade, screwdriver, can opener and reamer, which was a tool used for working with metal. It also included sturdy grips made from polished oak.
Design improvements by the end of the decade including incorporating a special spring mechanism that allowed more features to be installed on each knife. The next thing to appear, in addition to the items listed above was a corkscrew and then a smaller cutting blade. Later versions would add things like files, scissors, hooks, mini-saw blades and pliers. Today, you can find more than a dozen different Swiss Army Knife products, including one that is almost 9 inches wide and includes 85 tools.
This article isn’t intended to be a plug for the Swiss Army Knife, and there are many different brands on the market today to choose from. However, it is undeniable that the Swiss did create one of the most practical and ubiquitous utilities that turned out to be a total game-changer. More than 20 countries supply variants of the utility knife to their military forces, and NASA included the Swiss Army Knife in tool kits for astronauts.
The utility knife is a staple for almost every prepper, those who love the outdoors, contractors and anyone else who wants access to a multi-tool that can be used right away for a million-and-one purposes. Make sure that you don’t forget to include a good utility knife in your survival kit or bug out bag. However, due to the fact that they are so popular, and many companies produce their own versions, it’s important that you test its quality and functionality before relying on it in the field. However, once you get the right knife for your needs, it will definitely make life a lot easier now as well as in the midst of a survival situation.