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Pallet wood opinions, my take

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Blog entry by Ted78 posted 05-04-2017 07:56 AM 827 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A lot of hate toward the whole pallet wood craze thing lately I don’t quite understand. Some Pros Cons and clearing up of myths about it.

Pros

It’s cheap, the importance of this is hard to overstate for those of us not flush with cash. You can get large quantities of dry seasoned very hard woods for free. hard to beat that.

It’s re-using, this is good for the environment. a pallet takes up a lot of space in a landfill re-using it is good for the environment, AND you prevent another tree from being cut down for whatever project you are making.

South American and South Pacific hardwood oaks are available that can’t really be gotten any other way.

Often you can find very interesting and figured grain, a ‘defect’ to one is an aesthetic plus to another.

Cons

It’s going to add a LOT of labor to a project vs wood from a lumberyard, if your time is worth more than the money you would save, not such a good bet. If you are broke and have time on your hands, it’s a great bet.

Nails. You have to be religious about removing nails, running a metal detector over every square inch of every board. You can buy a lot of wood for the cost of replacing a set of jointer blades.

Most boards will be pretty short

Unless your are making something ‘rustic’ there will be a lot of lumber prep and dimensioning to do. The face jointing, edge jointing, ripping, planing, routine is going to take a while.

Some misconceptions

“Only cheesy ‘rustic’ stuff can be made with pallet wood” not true highly finished high end things can start as pallet wood and no one would be any the wiser the wood was ever part of a pallet.

“The pallets are full of nasty chemicals and fumigants” Many pallets are treated with Methyl Bromide this gas IS dangerous and its use IS an environmental concern, but it is a gas and wood treated with it is not dangerous as there is no Methyl Bromide on or in the pallet after treatment. It’s not a preservative like pressure treated wood. There is no Methyl Bromide residue or anything like that left. The sawdust itself may be an irritant, use dust masks and be good about dust collection like you would with any hard wood like walnut or something.

“There could be all sorts of nasty stuff spilled on the pallets.” Most industrial spaces are pretty hygienic, use some common sense, big greasy or oily or bright green stain on the pallet?, don’t use that one. re-use the clean pallets. If old barn wood doesn’t bother you with a hundred years of God knows what splashed and sprayed on it, I wouldn’t be too worried about a six month old pallet that was probably used to deliver a stack of yo-yos to Wal-Mart or something.

Oh, and I’m not harping on Alaskaguy, a bonfire seems like a perfectly good use for some pallet wood as well. nice hard short ‘split’ chunks of seasoned oak. That fire is at least as pretty as anything I’ve ever made.

-- Ted



8 comments so far

View nkawtg's profile

nkawtg

263 posts in 1065 days


#1 posted 05-04-2017 02:35 PM

I have thought of using pallet wood, but the nail holes put me off.
Which means I’d have to cut out the nail holes which would leave me with many short length pieces that in my mind I couldn’t do much with.

What’s your solution?

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2576 posts in 1986 days


#2 posted 05-04-2017 03:38 PM

Thank you for a very thoughtful and informative article. I always look at the pallet piles and businesses that are giving the wood away sometimes find some nice wood. It can be a lot of work involved in tearing the pallets apart.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

312 posts in 1814 days


#3 posted 05-04-2017 03:53 PM

nkawtg, Make tiny things :) Actually the nail holes don’t really bother me I sometimes fill them in with wood filler. but yes, nail holes is certainly another con.

-- Ted

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

452 posts in 364 days


#4 posted 05-04-2017 09:52 PM

I personally like reclaimed wood of almost any kind. I understand some of the “dangers” of working with it but if u actually hav some common sense it is about as safe as any other kind. If ur like me I hav multiple different hobbies. I don’t really like sinking a bunch of money into any of them. Plus if I build some just because I want that experience of building it it is nice not to hav a bunch of money in it so I can give it to someone down the road when I’m needing room Some projects wouldn’t look right with the left over nail holes but some they just add character.
Ultimately I guess everyone should just use what they want and can afford but I hate seeing folks dismiss pallet wood just because they don’t hav the vision of what it could b. In the hands of a good craftsman I’m sure u couldn’t tell any difference at the end of a project

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9970 posts in 3866 days


#5 posted 05-05-2017 01:23 AM

Thank you for the very informative report on Pallet wood, etc.

I find it nice to use the stuff too… When I can get’em… :)

-- 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 finns's profile

finns

147 posts in 2930 days


#6 posted 05-05-2017 06:10 PM

Thanks for the info Ted. Although I don’t use PW for any projects I am happy to see folks that can and do recycle wood. I stack three or four pallets outside my shop on a monthly basis and have a Hispanic guy that comes by and takes them. He says he resells them and also takes my scrap wood and uses that to heat his home.

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10473 posts in 2194 days


#7 posted 05-06-2017 12:34 AM

I think I’m broken because i don’t care what wood other people use.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9970 posts in 3866 days


#8 posted 05-06-2017 03:27 AM



Thanks for the info Ted. Although I don t use PW for any projects I am happy to see folks that can and do recycle wood. I stack three or four pallets outside my shop on a monthly basis and have a Hispanic guy that comes by and takes them. He says he resells them and also takes my scrap wood and uses that to heat his home.

- finns

GOLLY… Holy moly… If Minnesota was not as far away, I’d be beating your door down for your Pallets & above all, your scraps! I would LOVE such a deal! Lucky guy you have… !! :)

I also really don’t care what wood other WWr’s use… that’s their desires and ability to use…

I use what I can… if it’s free, fine; else, I have to pay through the nose for it!

Right now, I get most of my wood from Trash Day when people just throw away good stuff… if not Wood, good hardware!!

To each his/her own… :)

-- 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"

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