Tag Archives: Pallets

Another adventure in Pallet Tech?

8 Dec

Oh, those wacky Brits…

People who read the blog know that I love recycling and repurposing materials.

Pallets are among one of my favorite resources to explore.You can do a lot of cool things with these cast off shipping components:

Pallet Planter

Cool right? Here’s some more ideas;

Pallet ideas

Then, I saw this;

Pallet FortThis is a “temporary theater” in England. The Shed, which was opened in April 2013 and is due to close in February 2014, was designed by Haworth Tompkins Ltd.  Sited at the front of the National Theatre at Southbank, this innovative theater will present some of theater’s most exciting artists in an intimate new performance space on the South Bank.

If you look closely, it almost looks like it’s made from recycled  pallets. Of course it isn’t… but it COULD  be. Every Spring, the kids around here build structures in the middle of fields to have “paintball wars”.  Other kids build  forts and playhouses, as their parents push them back outside after the cold of winter has slipped away. This gives me plenty of ideas…

While the reason it was recently publicized had nothing to do with it’s construction…

(It had to do with the entry ramps provided by another company to insure safety…)

I wanted you to look at this structure closely and think about HOW you could utilize pallets to do something similar. What if you were an artist and you wanted to build a”summer run” outdoor event? What if you were an entrepreneur and you wanted to enclose several kiosks into a impromptu “commerce park”? What if you were a promoter and you wanted  to build a temporary concert venue? Hmmm?

Okay, I’m going back to shoveling snow. It’s -6 here without the wind chill factor. “Factor” that in and it’s -19 right now. There aren’t enough gloves or thick socks in the world, let me tell you… Brrr!

RR AvatarHere’s a bunch more pallet resources:

I need a new barn… One that won’t make me sick…

12 Nov

One that won’t have to cost too much, or need some walls that are 3 feet thick…  LOL!


So I’m making up songs played to the tune of old Huey Lewis Classics… Sue me! LOL!

Okay, I’m busted. I stockpile old “Rolling Stone” magazines… I’m saving them to shred up for insulation! Yeah, that’s it! LOL!

Many of you have been following along, while my family builds a new home, as a result of hurricane damage. That’s hardly newsworthy. In fact, thousands of families in Coastal Mississippi and Louisiana (and even [gasp!] Texas) are faced with this same task, as a result of multiple hurricane strikes, in what seems like Mother Nature’s version of “rapid succession.”


There’s my tub! I’ve been looking all over for that! LOL!

However, where my family differs in in the materials that will be used, to rebuild. My family is building a home out of old aircraft hangar components, concrete, and shipping containers. We wanted a home more resistant to Nature’s Wrath, and what could be more resistant than steel, and concrete? Hmmm?


Ain’t this a beaut’? This is “Hull House,” the steel and concrete recipient of just about every award you can imagine. From the foundation to the roof, this house just screams “COOOOOL!”

Alas, the hardest part about getting an “alternative” building built is… getting it started! Or so it seems! And in our case, it’s a little bit harder, because we are using shipping container carcasses as “the bulk” of the “structure” to build our home.

Talk about “alternative!” Oh, just stop it! Of course our “neighbors” are nervous… We said “ISBU,” they heard “ICBM,” and now, they think I’m an insane Jewish Terrorist building a missile silo! LOL!


I’m gonna incorporate, I think… I’ll call the endeavor “Redneck Rockets, Inc.” That should make ’em nervous!

Anyone who has an opinion in this “not in my backyard” town has spoken out against us (operating, I suppose, on the misinformed premise that Shipping Containers are actually just rusting hulks of junk steel that eventually corrode into a pile of dust…)

We’ve heard it all… “The house can’t be built because the finished “house” will bring down neighborhood property values, create a public eyesore…”  and possibly even destabilize civilization as we know it! LOL!

Now, none of these people actually has an informed view on what we’re doing, as that would only cloud the issue with facts…

(However, we knew that the locals/yokels would have “conniption fits,” so we embarked on an “educational experiment” to test the waters. When we showed “sample” elevations and renderings of the home publicly, with it’s “clothes on…” not a single person could tell that it was the result of a “Shipping Container turned Lego” experiment… We received many, many compliments on it’s look, and curb appeal. And we received far more compliments, on it’s budgeted cost of construction. And Mall security only threatened us once, for “creating a public nuisance!”)

But I must be plagued with the only “ill-informed loudmouths” in America, huh? I know, not hardly… LOL!

This home doesn’t go up like a normal house would. Each one of these containers will be “modified,” so that when the whole series of containers is put together, they form the rooms you’d normally find in a “conventional” house.


This guy did it,too. That’s why he’s SMILING! Smaaaaart!

So, when you’re thinking about building a big beast out of scrap, you need a place to assemble it into something you can use. And, unless you’re planning on keeping that “place” forever, you need a place that you can convert into something else, later on.

Me? I need a covered place where I can set a large (winched) roller assembly, to put a container on (so that I can “reconfigure” each one) as I assemble the “jigsaw puzzle” that will one day be my family’s house.

Now, because I’m also using some aircraft hangar components, the obvious thing would be to just build a big, long, “building hangar” to build them in, right? But, I don’t want a big hanger on the property, for the next twenty years. It’s not a farm, or an industrial park (well, the neighbors and local authorities might differ with me on that), it’s a homesite. So I started thinking about how to accomplish my goals, using the same miserly, penny-pinching, frugal… cost-effective, environmentally friendly, green manner possible!

(One “Jewish” joke outta the lot of you, and I’m gonna start slapping skulls together… You’ve been warned… LOL!)

What I wanted was a place I could use, where the slab from the “building hangar” could be re-used as a driveway surface later on.

Enter the “Pallet Barn.”

Warning: For the squeamish among you, the following photograph depicts “nudity.” You’ve been warned!


Now you have officially seen everything. A “naked” barn, built out of scrap pallets.

Now before you start the “Man… that Ronin is a real genius!!” backslapping prematurely… I have to tell you that I didn’t think of this one. Not even a little bit. Some really bright guys at hiveMODULAR did.


These guys are the “geniuses.” In fact, I’ll state for the record that I find them inspiring. They not only see solutions, they actually BUILD them.

I get so tired of “you could do this” or “you could do that…” kinda “experts.” My blog seems to be a magnet for these types. I’m surrounded by people who talk a lot, but few of these people actually put their ideas to the test (and their reputations on the line) by actually following thru, and “building the beast.”

However, these guys at hiveMODULAR are “Alternative Housing Studs! (and “Studettes!” Let’s not forget the ladies, okay?) They have actually built container cabins. And these “nuts” built one in the worst possible place, surrounding it with snow, ice, and freezing cold. Just seeing what they’ve accomplished, has made me really proud of them, and I don’t even know them!

Now, I suppose that I could just tell you to go to their blog, and read all about their exploits, but that would deprive me of putting my own “absolutely brilliant, yet devious” spin on things, eh?

And you wouldn’t want that, now, would you?

Okay, so just like the guys at hiveMODULAR, I know guys who get stuff shipped to them all the time. And that stuff comes on pallets. So, behind their warehouse, they have piles and piles of pallets, stacked like a childs blocks, all over the place. Every once in a while , they pay somebody to haul them off, or take them home to be recycled into beach bonfires, kindling, or whatever.

And the guys at hiveMODULAR (have I plugged these “geniuses of things GREEN” enough yet?) actually did something that makes me want to erect a monument to their genius. They used the universal “working man’s currency” to obtain the pallets they needed. They used BEER.

That’s right… They traded BEER for building material. My faith in humanity is restored!


Oh sure, they could have offered to help those “prince’s of pallets” empty out their yard, out of the goodness of their hearts, or maybe even sweet-talked them into actually paying them to haul them off, but… they ponied up a pilsner or two… Actually, they traded off something called “Surly Furious.” In fact, they traded off a couple of “growlers” of it.


Now, I have no idea what a “growler” even is, in this context. I can recognize a scrapyard pitbull in a “New York Minute,” but I’m still scratching my head about this one… so, it’s off to Google, I go…


Okay! It’s evidently a 64oz glass pool of pleasure that will warm the cockles of your black little heart… I don’t even drink much (anymore), and I want one… possibly two.

Hmmmm… three. I want three!

Now where was I? Oh yeah…

Everybody who’s ever seen one will tell you that pallets are big, heavy, cumbersome wooden platforms on which everything ever used by humanity has been piled, so that it can be transported from place to place. And, since they’re so sturdy, they’ve gotta be recyclable into something cool, right?


Damn Right! And, like containers, they are everywhere…

So, once you’ve bamboozled building materials with BEER, it’s just a matter of getting all your friends over for a barn-raising. Now, that’s where the guys at hiveMODULAR and I differ.

Since I have few friends (I could never really figure out why… I seem like such a nice guy)…

I’ll suppose that I’ll have to pay a couple of guys to help me hoist these puppies up into place.

But, since they’re employees, albeit temporary, the BEER I withhold from the pallet transaction will be mine, all mine! Muuuuwahahahah!

Now, pallets come in all shapes and sizes. But, for the most part, a pallet measures either about 42″ by 42″, or 48″ by 40″…

The place I’m getting my pallets from gets a lot of stuff from everywhere including China (Imagine that!), and those pallets are of the 48″ by 40″ variety. I guess it differs with country of origin, and supplier, so your mileage may vary. They had tons of them, literally over a thousand, in several sizes (but I needed them to be consistent) to prevent chaos during construction/assembly.

Why? Because I’m not nearly as bright as I used to be (er… um… claimed to be, if I have to be completely  truthful!) I guess…  LOL!

Now, unlike the hiveMODULAR guys, I’ll use smaller (conventional) shipping pallets. And, I figure I need about 180 of them, since the plan is to build a 3-sided box that is 4 pallets high on each side (using the 48″ length) and 4 across the top, to form the roof (again, using the 48″ length).

The result will be a 16′ tall “barn,” 50 feet deep, and 16 feet wide. (All dimensions “approximate.”) It’s purpose is simply to keep the rain and wind off while I toil inside, safely wrapped in a “rapidly modified” steel cocoon. I’ll stretch tarps over it, to “waterproof it.” In fact, I’ll use a bunch of that “blue roof” material that I scrounged a while back. That should do it.

A power pole (again TEMPORARY) will supply the plasma cutter and welder with juice, while I build my “Frankenstein Monster…”

And, before you start blasting me about “structural integrity,” and “property values…” remember that this “building”is only temporary, okay? I’ll dismantle it at the end of the build, and use the pallets for something else.

Now, if I can just find a few guys willing to hoist pallets for about a weekend, who will work for beer… Any takers?

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin