Reclaimed Oak (Pallet Wood) Flag Box

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This flag box was built from reclaimed oak that came from a few super thick (1″) pallet slats I had been saving away for a rainy day. The backer panel is made from hardboard and the front is a 1/8″ thick acrylic sheet. I built this as a gift for my grandmother for my grandfather’s World War II veterans flag. The flag is bigger than a typical flag so a flag box couldn’t just be bought of the shelf, but I wanted to build one anyway. Win, win!

Thanks to Rockler for supporting what I do, check out all of their awesome products that I used in this build:

> Taper & jointer sled –
> Expandable dust hose –
> Hose reel –
> T-track table –
> Bench cookie kit –



Notable Materials:
> Reclaimed oak pallet wood
> Wood glue –
> Plexi-glass
> Hardboard
> Painter’s tape –
> Tung oil finish –

Notable Tools:
> Planer –
> Table saw –
> Spring clamps –
> Band saw –
> Miter saw –
> Strap clamps –
> Router lift –
> 1/8″ round over bit –
> Random orbital sander –
> Screw gun –


Build Details

I start this project in one of my many stock piles of pallet wood. I’ve been saving these particular pallet slat waiting for a project like this because they are 1″ thick rough sawn lumber, some really useful stuff. I ended up with 2 sides being white oak and 1 red oak.

First step is to flatten and plane the slats down to 3/4″ finish thickness. I skip plane them by taking very light passes until one side is flat and then I can bring them down to thickness using the flat surface as a reference surface.

This Rockler jointing sled is the best thing ever. I don’t have the floor space for a jointer, so I use this instead. Each slat is loaded into the sled and clamped in place so I can cut one side to a straight reference edge.

I can then use the flat edge against the fence to cut the sides down to width, just short of 3″.

Since the box has a couple of 45 degree corners, which means that the ends that join in these corners have to be cut to a really steep angle of 22.5 degrees. I do this with a super simple jig that rides along the fence of my table saw. It’s just an “h” shaped piece made from plywood that I clamp each side onto.

Then I run each of these sides through the blade set at 22.5 degrees with the fence set to exactly 3/4″ so the oak piece is cut to a point on the end.

The square corner is much easier to cut. Since I’m already set up on the table saw I tilt the blade over to 45 degrees and use my miter gauge to cut the remaining two angles.

To finish shaping the sides of the box, I cut a dado along one edge where the backer panel will attach and also a slot around the perimeter to accept the plexi-glass front panel.

Then it’s just a matter of measuring out the backer panel and cutting it down to size on the miter saw.

The backer panel is the same size as the plexi-glass front so I use it to trace the triangle shape out onto the plexi-glass.

I then go over to the bandsaw and slowly cut the triangle front panel down to size.

Prior to assembly, I make sure to sand all of the pieces because I won’t be able to get to the inside surfaces of the box after assembly is complete. I also pull up all of the edges of the protective plastic from the plexi-glass so that I can slide it into place but still keep it protected from scratches for the rest of the build.

Then it’s finally time to clamp up the box! I apply glue to all of the joints and use blue tape at each joint to hold them together while I roll the sides into a triangle. To make sure all 3 of the joints are pulled perfectly tight together I also use a couple of strap clamps to hold it while it dries over night.

The next day I trim up the plastic protective sheet and apply tape around the perimeter of the plexi to protect it during the finishing process.

Then last step before finish is rounding over the long edges with a 1/8″ round over bit along with a final sanding on all of the outer surfaces.

For finish I use Waterlox tung oil and rub it on with a rag. I apply a total of 5 coats, sanding with super fine sandpaper between coats.

I love how the finish soaks to deeply into this grain and with pallet wood you always get super unique grain patterns like this because they just throw whatever lumber into the pallets they have. I also really enjoy the symbolism of the repurposed lumber that has been through a lot and is beautiful but still shows a couple of nail holes from it’s previous life. Like my grandfather, he went through a lot, but always wore a smile on his face.

It was so satisfying to go for a little trip and install the flag.

The back is just held on with a few short screws around the perimeter.