Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recycled Kitchen Cabinet and Wood Pallet Workbench

I needed a workbench in the garage. I also wanted one place to store all of my tools in my workshop. I’m low to the ground at 4’11”. It makes more sense to store my tools in my workbench than above the workbench on shelves or peg board.  

Originally my plan was to buy matching bathroom cabinets at the Habitat Restore since bathroom base cabinets aren’t as tall as kitchen cabinets.  I would finally have a work surface that is at the correct height for my size!

kitchen cabinet wood pallet workbench

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Father in law said there were  two mismatched kitchen base cabinets that have been forgotten in his garage for years and offered them to me.

Change of plans. Free is good.



Now I can spend that money on more tools! Save these base cabinets from the landfill. (Well, both things actually.)

Father in Law wasn’t kidding when he said the cabinets were in rough shape. I removed the doors and drawers and gave them a good clean with plant based dish detergent and water. When dry, I reinforced the shelf and drawer glides and replaced the missing toe kick on the white cabinet.

kitchen cabinet workbench before
I was doubting myself all the way up until the end of the project that I could make the cabinets coordinate.

I broke out my sanders to prep the kitchen cabinets for paint. I took my time and sanded in several sessions because each cabinet had different needs. The brown cabinet was easy. It needed a light sand to remove the glossy finish. The white cabinet needed more attention. I had to sand the areas I filled with wood filler as well as evening out the uneven chipped paint patches.

Lacey inspected my work after I put my tools down for the day.

sanding cabinets to paint
Lisa tested the smoothness of her sanding with her hand. When she was satisfied, she wiped down the cabinets, doors, and drawers with a damp rag to remove the sawdust. She waited until everything was dry and wiped down everything again with a tack cloth. That way she will had a super smooth surface to prime.

I opened my trusty can of Kilz No VOC Primer which has never failed me in covering damaged drywall and blocking stains. It is the only primer I use. Kilz comes through again! It locked in the musty smell I couldn’t get out of the cabinets – Hooray! The primer  gave me a smooth and even finish to paint – even the white cabinet. 

Instead of using a paint brush or roller I use a paint edger to to paint my kitchen cabinets without streaking. I get even coverage and a streak free coat with a paint pad every. single. time.


I am a house paint geek. After hearing so many DIYers rave about Benjamin Moore paint, I  got a pint of Aura a couple of years ago through a paint store promotion thing. (It wasn’t a special blogger thing. Benjamin Moore doesn’t even know I exist.)

After forgetting about and finding the can during my garage organization project I figured this was a great project to see what all the hub bub is about.  The color I used is named Perspective. It is a light gray with a blue undertone. It goes well with the blue wall in the garage.


paint workbench cabinets retouch
Wowie zowie! You Benjamin Moore fans are right. Their paint is sustainable and the coverage is fantastic. The Aura line is zero VOC and a little spendy but worth it. I Love. Love. Love. Painting with this stuff! I’ll probably buy it to repaint our bedroom.


I cut wood to size and screwed it to the top of the shorter cabinet to make the top of both cabinets level.

level mistached cabinets_retouch
Two sides down, two to go!


To make the mismatched cabinet hardware got a couple of coats of black spray paint. Sticking the cabinet hardware screws into a scrap piece of foam makes is easier to paint. An old catalog makes a good small object drop cloth.

how to paint cabinet hardware


I had several old belts waiting for the chance to make leather cabinet door handles. I wasn’t sure  if I should use the handle style or knob style leather door pull on my cabinets. i flip flopped over which one was my favorite throughout the project.  I took advantage of the situation. I and kept the original cabinet hardware holes in each door and made one in each style.

leather belt cabinet handles Original
I cut a belt to size, punched a hole in the leather, and screwed it to the door with a screw, washer, and bolt on the other side of the door. 


I had two sets of unusually long wood pallets. My first plan was to make a pallet workbench top by pocket hole screwing the planks together horizontally. Unfortunately my pallet wood had just enough warped and uneven planks to not make this work. My choices were either:

  1. Buy a bench planer and use it to even everything out (and then find somewhere to store such a delicious and wonderful thing and come up with a gazillion more projects to justify the purchase.)
  2. Cut the pallet planks to fit vertically, drill pilot holes, and screw them into the cabinet frame with wood screws and my impact driver.

make pallet wood workbench top
Option two wins! For now. A bench planer is on my wish list if I can justify how much I’ll really use it.

I didn’t want the pallet top to stay rough. I sanded it with several grits of sandpaper and my belt sander. It isn’t smooth as a baby’s butt smooth but smooth enough for me.

Not bad for a two dollar workbench!




The only thing I had to buy were the washers I used to make the leather drawer pulls.


how to make workbench from kitchen cabinets with pallet wood top


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