Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mister Jalopy's Shackitecture Pallet and Ziptie Construction

Considering the ubiquitous presence of wooden pallets, I started thinking about them as a source for cheap building material. Actually, I have been considering it for years. It takes me a long time to form ideas into action. As anybody who has ever attempted to take a pallet apart can tell you, the dreaded pallet nail with its signature twist means the wood splinters far easier than the nail is removed. Rather than fight the pallets, I decided to come up with an application that could use them whole. The standardized 40" x 48" size meant that I could construct with Lego block uniformity.

Thumbing through the Grainger catalog is a favorite lunch pastime and I was amazed to find such a variety of heavy duty zipties. Perhaps strong enough for construction...

120 lb rated, 30 inches long and UV resistant

In 2.5 hours, I assembled my outdoor garden with zipties, a pair of lineman's pliers, a hammer, and a saw to cut the top pieces down to size.

It got stronger and stronger as I added more components.

To brace the corners, I varied a smidge from the all-pallet theme and ziptied some old crates as shelves.
Extra zipties - the repair kit

Rather than fighting the gaps and lateral boards, I made the top tier into planter boxes and I have since planted them with rosemary clippings, a poblano pepper and a tomato plant.

The rose bushes came from a San Fernando Valley church that was pulling them and planting ficus in their place. I am endlessly fascinated by how minimal, spare construction can define a space into a room.