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Display your plants with pride using a leftover pallet and a little bit of woodworking know-how
Need a beautiful display for your plants? With a few tools and a little woodworking knowledge, you can create these mid-century-inspired planters. This project requires making a mortise and tenon joint – one of the most common joints in woodwork. Here, we show you how to make the smaller of this pair of stands – for the larger stand, follow the same steps but work to dimensions of 61 x 41cm.
Separate six slats from a wooden pallet
(you don’t need to take the whole pallet apart). Use a saw to cut four pieces measuring 6.5 x 35cm (these will be for the legs). Then saw two pieces measuring 4.7 x 25cm (these will form the crossbar that the plant pot sits on).
To construct the crossbar, start by finding and marking the centre point of one piece. Then, measure the depth of that piece (ours was 1.9cm). Halve the depth figure (so 0.95cm for us) and measure out that distance horizontally either side from the centre point. Using a set square to draw a line between those points, then draw 2 vertical lines down to the edge to create a rectangle. Cut out the rectangle using a saw and chisel. Repeat for the other crossbar piece.
Now cut out the tenons. Stand each crossbar piece vertically. Measure 4cm in from each end and mark a line across each piece at that point. At the 4cm line, measure in 6mm from each side and draw lines from there to the ends to mark the tenon shoulders. Saw off each shoulder (clamp the pieces if needed).
Now make a mortise hole on each of the legs. Measure the height of your plant pot, then measure this height down from the top of each leg and mark that point (this will leave the pot slightly taller than the legs when it’s sitting on the crossbar). Line the crossbar up with the pot heights on each leg and mark where the tenons meet them – these will be your mortise holes. Use a drill to start the mortise hole then chisel out the corners. Make sure each tenon fits its respective mortise hole (use the chisel to gradually pare back the wood further, if needed).
Find the centre point of each tenon and mark it. Drill a 12mm hole through each mark, then use a chisel to square off the outer edges of the holes. Roughly sand every surface that’s been cut.
Fit the crossbar together, clamp it down and drill a hole through the centre of the rectangular slot joint in the middle. Secure the crossbar with a screw in the hole you’ve just drilled. Fit the legs to the crossbar (use a mallet if needed). Using the leftover pallet wood, make four wedges (approx. 1 x 1cm at one end, and 1 x 0.5cm at the other). Slot the wedges into the holes in each tenon to secure the crossbar.
For a more polished look, use the sander to round off the top corners of each of the legs and the ends of the tenon joints. To finish, seal the stand with a coat of teak oil and leave it to dry thoroughly.