Rylie also loves gardening and making picture frames from pallet wood. “After making a pallet frame, I can transfer any image from an A4 piece of paper onto the wood itself, which gives it this effect that the image has been printed onto the wood. Very rustic and very cool.”
Building with pallet wood
Rylie started building with pallets after his partner Elise requested a herb garden. “After looking on the net for one, I noticed how popular they were and from there I was hooked on what else could be made from recycled pallets.
“I am always in the backyard thinking of new things to make. Elise gets worried sometimes because she knows I can get carried away. I’ve always got to run things past her. One day she will come home and I will have built a chicken coop, even though we don’t have chickens!”
Rylie sadly lost his Dad when he was just 16, but credits his father with much of his D.I.Y. knowledge and skill. “I was always helping him around the house, from building random things to fixing bikes and mowers. This one time we tried building this two-storey castle cubby house together. It could have passed as a house, but time got away from us and we bit off more than we could chew. So we left It as unfinished project…”
After completing a plumbing apprenticeship, Rylie moved to Perth to be with Elise and worked in civil construction until his back injury. The young family has now recently moved to Melbourne and Rylie hopes that his D.I.Y. pallet projects might soon become a full-time venture.
“I have managed to sell a few things over the years, which has been a good feeling knowing people will pay money for the work I do,” Rylie says. “I have got creative and I now create my own wood stain from vinegar, steel wool and coffee. The time and effort I put into all my work pays off.”
Rylie’s next project is building a pallet benchtop for a kitchen and laundry. “I have also been asked to deck out a van with pallet board lining which will be really cool.
“Whether it’s at work or at home, I’ve always got to be doing something. When I am in the zone in the workshop this is where I like to be creative and not be scared to attack things.”
While most of his tools are currently in boxes following the big move across the country, Rylie is looking forward to “decking out” his new garage with a workbench to house his table saw, drop saw and wood thicknesser. “These three machines play a big role when building my projects to get the best finish.”
But surprisingly, Rylie nominates his trusty FatMax tape measure as his favourite tool. “It’s all about the accurate measuring: great for long distance measuring and with the durability of the tape itself. I have full faith of protection in the thick casing when it is dropped. How’s that for a plug!”Rylie is looking forward to setting up his new workshop.
When at Bunnings, Rylie says he spends “ridiculous hours just walking down every isle”, but probably most time in the stain and varnishes section “trying the find the best finishes for each project”.
“The missus hates it and refuses to go there with me!” he admits.
How to find and select pallets to use
Rylie often sources pallets from work but says industrial sites are also often good hunting grounds. “I’ve always been the one to ask as Mum used to always say ‘You’ll never know if you don’t ask’. And a lot of the times they are out the front to be thrown away. But always ask first as you are stepping onto someone else’s property. It’s not yours until it’s been confirmed.”
Rylie also suggests that people who want to use pallets for woodworking projects select them carefully. He advises to make sure they sit flat. "If not, good chance every slat is twisted including the barers when you pull it apart."
Also check for cracks through the timber and bowed slats. "Quite often I’ll go to pick up a long pallet and see that the majority of the slats are bowed, so I leave it as it’s a waste of time unless you have a particular job that can benefit from bowed timber. I tend to stay from Euro pallets or any other pallets that don’t have solid barers just because they are so much harder to pull apart and a higher likelihood of breakage when dismantling, therefore a lot of wastage."
Introduced to Workshop by another pallet wood enthusiast @Yorky88, Rylie says he was “straight away drawn in by how useful the site was for people of all levels of skills and knowledge”. “It’s great anyone can post photos of their projects and ask questions they want answered about anything to do with D.I.Y., home and garden.”
Rylie reckons the best D.I.Y. advice he’s ever received is to “make your work stand out different to the rest”. He also adds “learn from your mistakes”.
“As I’ve been a tradie my whole life, I’ve learnt there is always more than one way of doing things. I usually do better when I make mistakes, as that’s the best part about learning. It also helps finding information on Workshop!”