Wilkinson Bros Handmade Pallet Desks

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  • On 16th November 2013

Pallet Desk Framework

Check out our vintage-themed office desks built with upcycled pallet wood. With a little creative elbow grease, you can build these functional conversation pieces on a limited budget. Scroll through these pics to peer in on our process…

Pallet Craft

A challenging part of the project can be finding a source for old pallets that are free, in decent shape and have some character. These looked neglected, but we still asked permission to take ’em. Really though, you don’t have to look far to find a pile of these somewhere.

Pallet Craft Desk

TIPS: When dismantling the pallet boards, you may wanna use a sawzall (reciprocating saw) to cut the nails. Trying to pull the nails can be blister inducing and back breaking. When applying the old boards to the new framework (above) nail guns reeeeally help.

Pallet Desk Base Coat

We painted the desk surface with a Kilz primer followed by a brown. The white/brown base coat seals the grain nicely and looks cool later when we sand through the yellow top coat, which is a basic latex paint.

Pallet Desk Process

The inspiration for this desktop was an old motorcycle manufacturer. Love the old font treatment and its board track racing history. We created a vector trace of the logo, imported it into our sign-making software and cut a vinyl mask (like a stencil).

Wilkinson Bros Pallet Desk Prep

We somewhat roughly painted the lettering, intentionally making heavy brushstrokes visible to create a hand-painted vintage vibe.

Pallet Desk Prep

Vintage Sign Desktop

Once we peeled off the vinyl mask, it looks close to final. But, to enhance the “old sign” look, we pulled out the palm sanders and put the hurt on the surface with really heavy grit pads…like 100. Maybe even a 50 grit was used. There’s an art to picking places to wear, but it’s not a science. You can really go crazy on it, but try to make it look consistently worn, not patchy with old/new areas.

Vintage Sign Distressed Desktop

Vintage Sign Distressed Desktops

For the second desk, we imitated an old Studebaker service station sign. We love the old days of auto and motorcycle manufacturing; for this piece, just up the highway was the origin of the once prominent brand.

Pallet Desk Prep

Vintage Sign Desktop Process

Same process as desk 1: Prep surface with layers of color, create vinyl mask (stencil), brush in lettering and distress the heck out of it. Afterwards, we applied a polyurethane protective coating; we’d recommend a satin.

Vintage Sign Desktop Distressed

The beauty of having casters is that we can wheel them around easily to different configurations. The undersides also allow for a lot of out-of-sight storage.

Wilkinson Bros Pallet Desks

We often have visitors who are compelled to walk up and feel the desks. We like that. A handcrafted, distressed work station with some nostalgic flavor helps create an approachable mood in the office. It’s the kind of roll-up-yer-sleeves style we aim for.

Wilkinson Bros Pallet Desks in Office