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Using pallet wood for projects

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Blog entry by Matthew posted 905 days ago 4889 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all,
I was with my FNL yesterday and we were heading to the local crazy wood shop, we got discussing the reuse of pallet wood. He mentioned…....I will get into the back ground in a minute…....that pallet wood is bad to use, BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH.

I listened while he talked and took it with a grain of salt, the reason being that my MIL was poisoned by pesticides about 8 yrs ago and hasn’t worked since, and they can be a little hyper sensitive to these issues. But when I got home I took a look at some articles about it….

http://www.cheaplikemeblog.com/environment/dont-reuse-wood-pallets/

www.pallettruth.com/2011/09/seven-ways-to-introduce-toxic-chemicals-from-wood-pallets-into-your-living-space/

http://www.poetichome.com/2010/08/30/toxic-exposure-the-danger-of-repurposing-pallets/

Interesting reading if your big into reusing pallets. Please note I’m not preaching here, just trying to share something I have just started to look at, specifically since I was really interested in seaking out pallets for reuse.

Matt

-- Save every piece of scrap, the best things come from what others cast aside --



15 comments so far

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

3474 posts in 2151 days


#1 posted 905 days ago

Good information, thanks…...................

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3584 posts in 2358 days


#2 posted 905 days ago

Lettuce is often tainted right in the fields where it grows. International shipping procedures have made chemical insecticides a thing of the past, as ‘heat treating’ is the accepted procedure for palletized offshore shipping requirements. I might avoid pallets with a designated owner, those that might say “Property of XXX Corp, please return” because somebody has a reason to make them last, but most pallets are too cheap to have any attempt to make them last beyond their first shipping destination. Hey, do you clean off the top of a Pepsi can before you drink? I never do. No doubt, there’s pathogens everywhere. You cannot escape it. Better to develop an awareness of ALL sources of surface-borne contaminants, rather than focus specifically on pallets. The discoveries would make your skin crawl!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1128 posts in 1387 days


#3 posted 905 days ago

I used to be a manager of a shipping/receiving warehouse. In my experience, I would NOT use shipping pallets for anything except shipping, The wood is loaded with preservatives and pesticides to prevent rot and insect damage, it just ain’t worth it. Somebody wants to use this DANGEROUS wood, it’s their choice. BE FORWARNED!!

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Martyroc's profile

Martyroc

2708 posts in 930 days


#4 posted 905 days ago

I hear you, about 50% of my projects are with pallets, most of what I use has been in my warehouse for 10+ years, and I am not to worried about pesticides. I do come across some pieces every few ballets that the wood Beatles had been eating through, thankfully never came a cross a live one, the last thing I want to do is introduce one of them into my workshop.

I will check out those articles and repost after I have read them. My love of using pallets was 20+ years ago, Norm on the new Yankee workshop made a beautiful coffee table from some old pallets and I was hooked after that.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Matthew's profile

Matthew

39 posts in 1647 days


#5 posted 905 days ago

Poppiekat, I’m an eight grade teacher and I show “Food Inc” every year to my kids….so I’m well aware of the things around us, I think that is why I posted about the pallets. It doesn’t even need to be something we do to ourselves, my mother in law had pesticides spilled by her desk in an office building…..her exposure has left her diabled.

It is important to be aware or as Rosebudjim says, “FORWARNED”, it is a bummer because pallets are a great source of material and FREE, but the question is what is the real cost?

-- Save every piece of scrap, the best things come from what others cast aside --

View Gabe C.'s profile

Gabe C.

288 posts in 965 days


#6 posted 905 days ago

I think that this is a good subject to bring up. I will pick up and tear apart a pallet to use, from time to time, but I have gotten very discretionary about the types of pallets that I will bring home. They have to be obviously clean, by sight, and I definitely don’t use them for anything that would store food of any kind, or touch bare skin for a prolonged period (chairs, benches, etc.). Plus, I will usually only get them from a store that is not generally involved with the sale of chemicals or substances that might be harmful, for example: clothing, supermarket.
I guess my question would be, that after I have planed, cut, sanded and sealed with three coats of polyurethane…how harmful will it be, as a wall mounted curio shelf or shop step stool? Does the choice of sealant add any protection from potential toxicity? Or a couple coats of paint?
It is a roll of the dice, but for the most part if you’re careful, pallet wood can be reused very usefully, in my opinion. But it is good to be aware of the potential dangers. Thanks for posting.

-- If I could just get this whole "Time/Money" problem figured out...

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3584 posts in 2358 days


#7 posted 905 days ago

A trucker friend of mine works for a major distributor of foodstuffs that caters to restaurants and institutional kitchens. He was asked by a very popular er, restaurant to wait for 30 minutes as they prepared the day’s spicy chicken wings: They dumped a vat of wings on the nasty kitchen floor, then poured 5 gallons of sauce over them, then schmooshed it all together with squeegees and corn brooms. Then, back into the garbage cans with the snow shovel awaiting the broiler. I myself was a receiver for a medical-device manufacturer, my education on the perils of blood-borne pathogens when I touched used previously implanted pacemakers and other devices made me nauseous. However, getting pallets with genuine mahogany or walnut slats made it all worthwhile. Though I understand your point, Mathew, we should not focus on one potential source of infection or toxicity and disregard others.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1621 days


#8 posted 905 days ago

I use re-purposed lumber (mainly old doors, ) You need to be careful with the dust, there are products on the market nowadys to SEAL up any contaminats. The end result is just as SAFE as todays furniture made from, RESINS, POLY’s GLUES, PAINT, sawdust and WHATEVER else is swept off the floor (Now they say titanium used in todays paint is safer than the old lead ?) In the first report you gave it talked about PLASTIC pallets being used for food stuffs…..... When I worked in LAB we had trouble with #1 hospital grade distilled water that was stored in plastic containers . The plastic from the container absorbed into the distilled water making it UNUSABLE for our projects .
AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE. The PEOPLE that PAY the money to do the STUDY can make it say what they want it to (Usually in their favor)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1128 posts in 1387 days


#9 posted 905 days ago

People come up with a lot of excuses to justify something that is cheap. I will peraonally NEVER use pallets for anything. Pallet manufacturers are the ones who use pesticides or preservatives, not the shipper. Proof – I had a large air compressor shipped into us, the organization it was destined for did not have the building built it was to be installed in. It was so large I could not get into our warehouse, rollup door was 18w x 10h, so I stored it outside for 18 monsths, covered. The pallet was constructed of unmilled kiln dried red oak. After 18 monhs of sitting outside in snow – rain – heat – etc, it did not rot. I was thinking I would scrounge the wood when I delivered the compressor to where it was destined – NOT – because I had called the compressor company to find out how come the wood was in so perfect condition after being stored outside. Their response, “Pressure treated”. So go ahead, breath in all the saw dust crap you want, just not around me.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1621 days


#10 posted 905 days ago

Go to the REPORT on pallet:
“McNeil says all of the conditions reported by consumers were temporary and not serious.”
The organization also identifies chlorine bleach (used in cork processing and as a general disinfectant in facilities) as one of the chemicals that can be degraded by fungi and therefore converted into TCA or TBA.

Maybe we should NOT wash clothes, go swimming in pools, Hot Tubs, anymore either !!!!!!

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7674 posts in 2676 days


#11 posted 141 days ago

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3584 posts in 2358 days


#12 posted 140 days ago

Nice, Joe!
I wonder, if you ordered pallets for fencing, would they come shipped on a pallet?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7674 posts in 2676 days


#13 posted 140 days ago

LOL… Good one!

I thought it looked like a good idea… A country fence…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3584 posts in 2358 days


#14 posted 140 days ago

I’ve seen hog pens built with pallets, same idea, with sunken fence posts. Kool.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3584 posts in 2358 days


#15 posted 140 days ago

Grrr.. nevermind! duplicate.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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