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The beauty of up-cycling pallet wood is that it gives you that instant rustic look. Building boxes and frames is a great starting point for somebody just thinking about getting into woodworking. The processes are similar, and there is no right or wrong.
Of course, I use power tools, but you could do this project with a hand saw, circular saw, and maybe a chisel. I use some white vinegar that has been previously used to remove rust as my stain. If you are starting from scratch, pour some white vinegar in a container, add a few rusty bolts, nails, whatever. Let it sit for a day or so, and you are ready to apply it to your wood.