food safe pallet wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-16-2019, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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food safe pallet wood?

The thread about charcuterie reminded me of an online ad I saw a few minutes ago:

shot glasses made out of pallet wood.



I know a lot of people love to re-purpose pallet wood, but if I don't know what chemicals might have been absorbed into it while it was used to transport who-knows-what, there's no why I'm going to drink out of it. Especially alcohol, which might act like a solvent on whatever molecules are buried in the wood fibers.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-16-2019, 12:52 PM
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A retired truck drive said he doesn't use pallet wood for anything. Saw too much nasty stuff spilled on them. A friend of the wife got some pallet slats that seemed to be new- no nail holes which is an indication of new. Five bucks for a bundle.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-16-2019, 01:24 PM
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I can see the logic of free wood in a large project if that is the way one wants to go, a few square inches for a product that comes in contact with food makes no sense to me.

"Recycled pallet wood" seems to be a catch phrase to say "Look at me and how responsible I am to the environment", which is really nothing but a sales gimmick these days.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #4 of 23 Old 01-16-2019, 04:18 PM
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You just about need to live where new pallets come from and know their total history.
I do.
My wood pellets are delivered on a fresh, new SPF pallet, a ton at a time (50x40lb bags).
Both come from west of my place, about 200 miles. I get 5 per winter.
I make rude garden tables and benches that never get finished or put away.



Any other pallet? Don't. Even if you think the odds of being "food-safe" are pretty good.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-19-2019, 05:56 PM
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Food safe and ‘pallet wood ‘ are contradictory terms. Don’t do it !!
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-19-2019, 06:01 PM
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Tried to edit my last post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Food safe and ‘pallet wood ‘ are contradictory terms. Don’t do it !!
I have visited at least four local pallet plants,,,and from what I saw, I would NOT use any of that wood anywhere near food.
I know a guy that man beds for his sons, shaped like race cars.............the beds, not the kids. Out of recycled pallet wood.....crazy,,,,I strongly suggested not!!

After a few weeks both boys started showing signs of a mysterious illness......wife said the beds go! Boys recovered..
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-19-2019, 06:38 PM
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Food safe pallet wood? Sure, you can find it at the lumber yard, in the stacks with the rest of the stuff. Doesnt look like much now, but take it home, cut it down and youll find it makes a perfectly workable pallet that you can then take apart and use in your products.

As others have mentioned, dont bother with it. The only way you could be sure that your pallets are food-safe is if you watched over them every step of the way, through production, shipping, traveling around everywhere and making their way to you. Its not worth the risk to yours or anybody elses health
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-20-2019, 12:16 PM
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Some things are bad ideas.

MISUSING LABELS AND IMPLIED LABELS
Let's say that you acquire several newly made glass jars with the word "insecticide" molded into the glass. They are clean and were never used. Would you divert a few of these insecticide-labelled jars to store and serve baby food? They are perfectly safe for baby food, after all. Just this one time. Keep track of which jars are safe and to be used only for baby food. Use masking tape to cover the insecticide labels. Eventually you will encounter another situation and do it again, and then again and again until you are comfortable with using insecticide jars for baby food. What could go wrong with that?

The same is true for pallet wood. Just because you know that a particular batch of pallet wood is virgin and safe, doesn't mean that others understand the subtle issues, requirements, and risks.

POTENTIAL FOR CROSS CONTAMINATION
Why ask for trouble? Are we facing such a shortage where wood is so rare and expensive that we must divert risky sources into our food supply? Really?

Restaurants are supposed to be safe from chemical contamination, but I won't eat at restaurants that are built into gas stations. I feel that there is a higher risk of chemical contamination in the food at a gas station restaurant than at a standalone restaurant. To me, that's common sense.

Isn't it obvious that there is more risk of dangerous contamination if we use pallet wood for food utensils than if we don't?

- - - - -

Simply put, I would treat "food safe" and "pallet wood" as a contradiction in terms. Even if you can find "safe" pallet wood, it is a bad practice, and the thought of bringing pallet wood and food together scares me.

- - - - -
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 12:28 PM
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Cut up a coffee table and make freight pallets out of it. Probably Food Safe.
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obrian View Post
I love furniture from pallets, but I always order new pallets for this.
Paraphrasing: "I buy cheap new wood to build furniture. It is delivered to me in the form of pallets, which I disassemble to harvest the wood that I bought."

I think you missed my point.

I believe that reusing pallet wood started out as a recycling idea to keep some of it out of our landfills. That seems to have changed, and now pallet wood is a new design "style."

You cannot easily tell the difference between toxic pallet wood and safe pallet wood. Because of that, it is a BAD IDEA to introduce pallet wood into our homes. We do not want to get used to having pallet wood in our living areas.

Ignorant, careless, or greedy people will make stuff from toxic pallet wood. Imagine an unsuspecting young couple buying a toxic pallet wood coffee table. They throw it away after a few years. One of them dies 30 years later at the ripe old age of 54, never knowing that the long forgotten toxic pallet wood coffee table was the catalyst that triggered their illness.

We don't want clean new "pallet wood" in our homes for the same reason that we don't put baby food in new insecticide jars or mix salad dressing in new paint thinner cans. That should be common sense.

Note to others:

I am not as naive as the post would make it seem. I realize that wood is wood. Once separated from pallets, its origin may be lost, especially if cleaned up or sanded down. You can also get toxic waste on wood that did not come from pallets.

Nonetheless, pallet wood is intended for specific purposes that may include contact with toxic waste. Once it is labeled "pallet wood", it should not be introduced into our homes, whether clean or not. That's my point.
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Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 03-27-2019 at 12:57 PM.
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post #11 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Cut up a coffee table and make freight pallets out of it. Probably Food Safe.
Shakespear probably couldn't have said it better

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 01:54 PM
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In this crazy world we live in fads have to play themselves out, won't be long until we are commenting on that ridiculous old idea of using pallet wood to make things.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #13 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Obrian View Post
I love furniture from pallets, but I always order new pallets for this.

????


If they are new pallets, what is the point. Why not just buy the wood?


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post #14 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 04:05 PM
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For me, where I am, a fresh new pallet shows up under every ton of compressed wood pellets for my stove.
I burn 5 tons per winter (10,000 lbs) and I have 5 new pallets in the back yard when the snow melts in the spring.


So, if you like, a new freight pallet costs me $250.00 and the 2,000lbs of wood pellets are free.



I don't have room in my house for more furniture of any kind.

I have no desire to build furniture, certainly not #4 SPF.

So, I build ratty pallet outdoor tables and chairs that live in the weather out back.
Perfectly suitable for all back yard activity.
When I run out of ideas, I give them away because they are known to be clean.
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post #15 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 08:40 PM
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My daughter is always coming up with artsy projects like plaques etc.. to do with the pallets we have from the wood pellets that we get. Which means I get to cut them up saving the good pieces and the bad pieces get burned, what a pain that is.

I would never consider pallet wood food safe.
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-27-2019, 09:08 PM
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I'm fortunate in that the pallets are built next door to the pellet plant. 200 miles west.

Those are the only ones that I would be confident of being fresh, ugly wood and food safe.
Funny. So many pellet stoves here that you can stack pallets

outside your back alley fence and nobody wants to steal them for anything.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-28-2019, 10:23 AM
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I never use pallet wood from anywhere -never. I wouldn't burn it in my wood stove, for kindling in bar-b-que pits, not even in a bonfire.



In my career I had the opportunity to see hospital holding areas where medical waste was held in large barrels awaiting disposal. They were stacked on pallets. Some leakage occurred. Employees wore haz-mat suits to clean it up.

Enjoy your supper tonight with your dinner tables, cheese trays, and cutting boards made from pallet wood.

Sorry, I must decline your kind invitation to join your family in breaking bread.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-28-2019, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
I'm fortunate in that the pallets are built next door to the pellet plant. 200 miles west.

Those are the only ones that I would be confident of being fresh, ugly wood and food safe.
Funny. So many pellet stoves here that you can stack pallets

outside your back alley fence and nobody wants to steal them for anything.
... and the pellet plant will notify you when they change to a different source for pallets, eh?
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-28-2019, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gj13us View Post
The thread about charcuterie reminded me of an online ad I saw a few minutes ago:

shot glasses made out of pallet wood.



I know a lot of people love to re-purpose pallet wood, but if I don't know what chemicals might have been absorbed into it while it was used to transport who-knows-what, there's no why I'm going to drink out of it. Especially alcohol, which might act like a solvent on whatever molecules are buried in the wood fibers.
I dont know in U. S. A .. some pallets are we can use some pallets for recycle... We cant use some pallets for recycle....

At the E.U. ..
If signs are black colour at the picture1 ... We can use it for recycle... no problem..

If signs are RED COLOR at the picture1... IT IS SO DANGERIOUS...We cant use it for recycle...especially for human health... its very big risk...

You can find more informations at the picture2...

You can search these internet adresses in the picture2. ..

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk

SECOND CHANCE & SECOND LİFE
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-28-2019, 12:16 PM
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The pallet factory west of my place would not exist but for the big wood pellet mill right next door.
They both use the same log feed stock. It's clean wood (beetle kill) for everybody.
The pellet mill has no economic option to change pallet suppliers.


Here, we can't assume that we are sudrrounded by any kinds of sophisticated industry of any kind.
Imagine towns 50-100 miles apart and nobody at all has any reason whatsoever to live in between.
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