Upcycling blog: ‘A Clydebank Singer with great legs is perfect for a Glasgow pallet’

By Becky Donnachie at

If there’s one thing that Glasgow is hoaching with other than good food and wonderful banter it’s wooden pallets.

These bad boys are everywhere. Loads of lovely wood nailed together and hidden in dumps, lanes, gardens – they are screaming out to be reused.

Upcycling blog

Watch out: This blog is about to get very dusty.

My love affair with wooden pallets started when my big pal Jody gave me a shout when he saw a couple of cast iron table legs tossed in a skip.

Naturally he thought of me as he dragged them out, and for that I will be forever grateful.

One of the table legs belonged to a Singer sewing machine table.

I’m sure everyone over the age of 35 will remember what they look like: very gothic with loads of lovely detail and the Singer name and turning wheel inbetween it.

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Star quality: A Singer with good legs

It’s in perfect condition and I figured it would make a fabulous old-style table with a rustic twist.

Cue my amazing wooden pallets…

I’m fairly new to woodwork, so I had to be supervised by another pal, Jamie, who is one of those really annoying people who can do everything!

I told him that I wanted to make table tops with the pallets and he very kindly taught me the best way to do it.

Firstly, we had to separate the planks of wood without breaking them.

To do this we gently prised the nails away with a hammer.

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Raw: take one unloved, come-as-you-find it wooden pallet

No easy task since these nails have probably been in for a squillion years.

When we had six crack-free planks we cut them to a size that would suit its new legs.

Next we had to trim each edge of the wood so they all sat along each other nice and neatly.

Finally we glued them together with wood adhesive and sat them in a clamp overnight whilst the glue worked its magic.

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Bond: bring it all together with clamps and glue

In the morning when the clamps came off, I had a near-perfect table top.

It still had holes where the nails had been and I chose to keep them for a more rustic vibe.

It needed sanding right down to make it as smooth as it could go.

Using my Bosch sander and a hell of a lot of effort I sanded down using the grittiest sand paper I could find.

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Fix it: Securing the top to the legs

To finish it off I swapped to a lighter more delicate paper to unsure the top was as smooth as a baby’s bahookie.

These pallets all had their own unique colour and I wanted to keep that so I opted for clear varnish to finish it off.

To make sure the table was held together with more than glue, I screwed two pieces of wood to the underneath and those were screwed into the Singer machine table legs.

A table made completely from someone else’s junk and turned into a pretty banging piece of house eye candy. Go me!

Finished: Stand back and admire the final product

I’m making these tables to order so please contact me via the junktrunk Facebook page if you want one.

Let’s get these pallets off the streets and into houses!

* You can purchase items directly from Becky or you can ask her questions about upcycling via her Facebook page The JunkTrunk Glasgow or instagram page