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I love projects that involve pallet wood. Depending on how much or how little a pallet was used during its lifetime, the wood planks can either be slightly used or they can literally be falling apart… and everything in between.
Slightly used planks are great because they can be sanded down to look perfect, or you can just leave them alone for a touch of distress in the wood.
My favorite, however, is a pallet that’s been dropped, beaten up, left out in the weather, you name it. A worn down pallet usually equals wood planks that show off wonderful character such as splits, nails heads and holes, rust, and graying. I’ve used pallet wood for lots of projects, and I’m always on the lookout for cool ways to use it.
For this project, I’m going to show you a basic pallet wood arrow design that’s easy to make, and how to use a Wagner Furno heat gun to add even more character to the wood.
Tools, Supplies, and PPE
I’ve linked to several different retailers below for your convenience. I encourage you to shop around as I’ve found that each item may sell for less at a different retailer.
Wagner Furno 500 Heat Gun
DEWALT 12″ Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
DEWALT Rolling Miter Saw Stand
DEWALT 16-Gauge Brad Nailer
DEWALT Tape Measure
(Optional) Paint Brush
Personal Protective Equipment
Firm Grip Dura-Knit Gloves
RZ Mask Dust Mask
3M Safety Glasses
Related Article: PPE: DIYers Should Use Personal Protective Equipment
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Wood Selection and Construction
Not much is needed in the way of materials. Choose some pallet wood planks to work with, wood glue, and paint if you want to add some color to your arrow.
As you can see from the pictures above, I chose some worn out and weathered boards with lots of splits and some nail heads. In the end I chose to paint my arrow, but it would have equally looked great without paint in my opinion.
Building the arrow is easy. My arrow body ended up being:
- Body: 5″W x 28″L
- Head: 5″W x 10″L
- (4) Feathers: 5″W x 8″L (With 45 degree cuts)
After cutting the pieces to size, I added wood glue then nailed them in place with 1″ brad nails. There really is nothing to it.
Scorching The Pallet Wood Arrow
Now comes the fun part!
In addition to stripping paint, softening adhesives and caulk, and refreshing faded plastic, you can add lots of character to your pallet wood arrow by scorching the wood with your Wagner Furno 500 Heat Gun. This awesome tool has multiple temperature and fan speed settings and is easy to operate.
- Pro Tip: Make sure to read and follow all the directions in the user manual. Also, I recommend being outdoors while using the heat gun to scorch wood.
Scorching isn’t hard; I put the temperature to the highest setting and went back and forth slowly over the wood. The longer you stay in one spot, the more burnt the wood will become. Always pay attention to what you’re doing because the wood may ignite if you stay in one spot too long.
As I mentioned previously, I chose to paint my pallet wood arrow, but I lightly sanded it after I painted it to allow some of the scorch marks to show through.
The best thing you can do is experiment with wood like I have to see what kind of finished looks you can create. Check out one of my experiments with a 2×4 pictured below:
How amazing does that wood grain look? Now imagine using different colors, or even leaving the wood unpainted, or even using metal stencils to scorch letters onto the wood. The potential effects that you can create with your Wagner heat gun are limitless.
Go get you one of these heat guns and try it for yourself!