In the summer I started, and completed, a project I'd been planning for a while, and had collected the materials to do so, namely several pallets; it was quite simply a pallet bench to go in a newly renovated area of the garden which I'd done for no cost with several paving stones off Freecycle sites and Facebook marketplace for nothing and cheap sand and gravel from local store. The result was as below:
You'll have to excuse the cushions, they were a 'Freecycle' from my in-laws (from an ever so lovely sofa from their conservatory!) but are in urgent need of re-upholstering...they do fit lovely though, don't they?! So this project (less re-upholstering..a winter job...or 'never job') was done surely? That was until I sat down and was using the chair opposite as a table...a chair as a table..when I'd already made a more complex item than a table with the frickin' bench! I looked around, and there was plenty of spare pallets, and other items... so once I'd already gone through a 'Rocky' and 'A-Team' montage in my head about what was coming next I set at making a table!
I'd already got a basic way of building up from pallet material to form a structure so the table should have been no different, until I saw out of the corner of my eye an old cast iron barbecue in the corner of the garden. I'd already cut the legs off this to make a 'firepit' of small, limited nature, when the idea came that I absolutely HAD to incorporate this into the table at all costs (to my insanity). Like the bench, this was a look, cut, measure, cut, s**t/ f**k I got the measurements wrong, re-measure, find an unscathed piece of pallet, cut again, screw and finally...bodge it. There were degrees of thought going on throughout, like, "surely the fire in the cast iron pit will just set fire to the table" (passing heat by conduction or direct flames)...but we'll worry about that later...it's all free material at the end of the day! I did, however, apply enough thought to secure the firepit into the table with metal rather than wooden struts using an old rake handle I happened to find in the garden to 'womble' this firepit afoot. In the end, do you know...I didn't just f**king go and do it, see below:
I was, in the end pretty impressed with my achievement, having a covered built in firepit table where it can be used as a table as required, then used as a built in firepit later on. The first few fires I lit in it worked brilliantly, a small fire, me sat there alone with a glass of wine, but a plan never survives contact. The first time it was used 'in anger', after an 8 yr old's birthday party (using the pizza oven for pizzas) the firepit table was inevitably asked for a demonstration. The adults, having had to come consume sufficient alcohol to stay sane throughout said party, decided the firepit needed lighting...and the proud constructor agreed! 'Duty driver Dad' offered to go to the local store to get marshmallows while the remaining inebriated parents (constructor included) made a fire 'a little too big' for the pit, when Duty Driver Dad came back with the pink and white fluffy goodness and several children and tipsy adults tried to make s'mores inevitably a few burning ones landed on the table causing superficial 'patina' to the firepit to prove it's authenticity as a viable (albeit risky) fire-provision device. This reputation for 'catching fire' repeated itself with a sole grown-up event (no marshmallows) but equally inebriated (Note - the firepit table has proven it's worth, and reliability so, with a sole adult and single glass of wine, it is the present of several adults and several bottles of wine that causes it to catch light!). In all cases it is nothing having a watering can nearby cannot solve practically without exterminating the flames or smoking out the guests.
In all, I was quite impressed what I'd managed to achieve in re-imagining a part of the garden that had gone unloved and was dumping ground to what is a pretty pleasant area to enjoy.
I'm well chuffed with it now, but it did almost take a setback in Feb 22, just prior to commissioning, when a storm blew the adjacent fence down, a quick bit of digging, 'Postcrete' and 30mins with screws and a hand drill the next day and fence problem averted (to a low standard...but a standard nonetheless).