Deconstructed the pallets with a reciprocating saw, sanded the crap out of them (80 & 120 grit), then a couple coats of tung oil.
Here’s a recent project I took on. My wife has been begging me to do something with a dining room table for a while. I’ve been reluctant to paint the one we have because it has a laminate/formica top, and I wasn’t fond of the idea of the finish chipping off.. But after some research, I felt more comfortable with the idea. After sanding the crap out of it, I ended up using oil-based kilz as the bonding primer. My cousin Pete suggested XIM, but I had already completed the priming process, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with kilz over the years. But while talking to him, I did get some invaluable advice for which products to use to ensure durability for years. Since This table project is not something I’m looking to repeat any time soon, I took his advice to use a lacquer paint followed by a lacquer clear-coat. I hauled it over to a friend’s cabinet shop where he let us loose with the HVLP cup gun. We gave a it a couple good coats of white, came back the next night to scuff it up a little to give it that touch of shabby chic, and then gave it a couple good coats of clear.
Overall, I’m super happy with result, and I think it’s going to hold up even in our hazardous environment (we have 3 kids, I’m sure you understand).