I just discovered Palette wood... - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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I just discovered Pallet wood...

and OMG I feel like I just discovered El Dorado!

In fact I found 2 unlimited sources for them!

I'm using some of it for my new French Cleat system for the wall strips - works great!

The rest I'm slowly disassembling and hoping to make some rustic items.

Anyone else working with this resource? Would love to see the work.

Thanks as always in advance

Last edited by new2woodwrk; 11-22-2017 at 09:50 PM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:16 PM
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You have to be careful using pallet wood. Pallet wood traditionally is the worst cut of wood and never kiln dried. You may have acquire wood which is green with unknown chemicals on it. It might be a good idea to wear a chemical respirator cutting the wood. At the least you probably should get a moisture content meter to determine if the wood is dry enough for projects.
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:29 PM
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fear not

I live in a state that makes pallets from natural species, mostly Red Oak. I see them on semis driving around to various factories here. Unless they have been used to transport hazardous chemicals, no need to be afraid. Look to see what type of factory they are being disposed from and stay away from the chemical ones. Manufacturing of heavy machinery, auto parts etc should be OK.

Overseas shipping pallets are more suspect, and not knowing the origin of the wood and the country where environmental laws may not be strict. Generally speaking they will be made from larger timbers for shipping massive machinery. I have sourced some of these but they are made from really nice Pine, tight grained, some 6" X 8" in shorter lengths. Maybe a workbench is on the list of things to make....?

The proper spelling is pallet, not palette which is an artist's paint holder or their range of colors..... FYI. :smile3:
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post #4 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
You have to be careful using pallet wood. Pallet wood traditionally is the worst cut of wood and never kiln dried. You may have acquire wood which is green with unknown chemicals on it. It might be a good idea to wear a chemical respirator cutting the wood. At the least you probably should get a moisture content meter to determine if the wood is dry enough for projects.
Yah I also have a pallet stamp that tells me which pallets are safe, chemically treated etc.


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post #5 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:36 PM
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I use pallet wood once in a while but mainly for small things. Most of the stuff I see go through the shop i'm in is all pine or REALLY crappy fir. If I find a pallet that's oak or any hardwood I immediately take it for work as for whatever reason whoever makes them just shoots nails every two inches or so and then cuts off the heads. It's worthless for projects but great for storing all my doors!

Last time I did a french cleat it was for cabinets my junior year in high school. We put the cabinet on the wall just like the teacher said, he looked at it and realized he had told us to do it wrong. We took it down and never tired it again, our time was better spent actually making the cabinets themselves anyway. When done right I'm sure there great but I've never tried them since then.
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:40 PM
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It's more than just how the pallets are made. You don't know if the pallet was used to carry leaking drums of some unknown substance. Not knowing the history of how the pallet was used you just don't know what you are getting into.
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
The proper spelling is pallet, not palette which is an artist's paint holder or their range of colors..... FYI. :smile3:
LMAO - thanks for that. Not sure why I typed it that way but love the "gotcha"!

Do you take off for spelling as well? LOL

Title corrected

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post #8 of 22 Old 11-22-2017, 09:57 PM
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Pallet wood comes from all over the world. There is such a mix of wood that I know you can find something beautiful if you look long enough but you have no idea what may have been on the pallet. It could have been something toxic, dripping blood or worse.
The wood is not kiln dried as already stated by Steve but itís probably air dried so the drying part Iím not as concerned about as the hidden nails. Many pallets are rebuilt several times to stay in use. Nails break-off inside the boards and can ruin your jointer or planer knives.
Just one nail can negate any savings you thought you may have from ďfree woodĒ.
Iíve had access to lots of pallets but itís just not worth it in my opinion. And I see some nice stuff made from pallets.
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post #9 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 08:36 AM
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SWMBO wanted to do some pallet wood projects. I nixed the idea when, as Steve said, you don't know what is in the wood. A post by a retired truck driver stated he had seen all kinds of stuff spilled on pallets. You don't know what had been hauled on a pallet. There is a place about two mile from mi casa that reworks pallets. They put out scrap at the curb. People pick it up for firewood or kindling. Not me!
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 09:54 AM
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the bio-hazards of pallet wood

If there are hazardous chemicals used in shipping, they are closely monitored and any spills must be reported internally to the shipper and to a HAZ mat agency. That agency comes in a cleans up the spills and will destroy or remove the remains. Other chemicals like solvents or oils will not be a hazard to your health, unpleasant maybe.

To get to the bottom of this issue, I would talk to the company who is disposing of the pallets and see what their policy is and what products they provide that were shipped on them. If this request is denied, then move on down the road and find a different source.
there are many manufacturing companies locally here that use pallets and shipping containers, some of which are set out on the curb for the taking. Typically they are metal machining, stamping, tool and die, welding fabricators etc. which just use the pallets to assist in trucking them about with forklifts. I would have no issues using these personally.
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post #11 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
To get to the bottom of this issue, I would talk to the company who is disposing of the pallets and see what their policy is and what products they provide that were shipped on them. .
This is what I did when I was looking for resources - my 2 resources are a car stereo installation and sales store - they get pallats of stereos, speakers etc. These are the smaller of the pallet resources - they had a few which I passed on due to coloration and age etc.

My other resource is the local news paper. Their pallets bring in paper rolls, boxes of ink and supplies.

Before taking pallets from anywhere it is best to ask the business first. The big box stores have a recycling program that picks the pallets up and resells/reuses them.

The smaller local businesses usually do not have this service as it can be quite expensive nor do they usually have enough worth the effort.
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post #12 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 12:16 PM
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There are primarily three types of pallets: the expendable pallet is made to use basically one time and throw away after the delivery is made. These are usually Pine pallets. Some are stapled together rather than nailed.
The GMA pallets are usually a made of a mix of hardwoods. They are made to give years of service.
Specialty pallets are different either because of an irregular shape or excessive load. For very heavy loads as Woodnthings described for the metal manufacturers a thick top deck up to 2Ē thick might be used. These thicker dimensions will clean up best for some nice projects.
Like I said in a post above, Iíve seen some very nice projects made from pallet wood. Iíve also found hidden nails deep inside the wood that nicked my jointer blade. That was my last time to use pallet wood.
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post #13 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
SWMBO wanted to do some pallet wood projects. I nixed the idea when, as Steve said, you don't know what is in the wood. A post by a retired truck driver stated he had seen all kinds of stuff spilled on pallets. You don't know what had been hauled on a pallet. There is a place about two mile from mi casa that reworks pallets. They put out scrap at the curb. People pick it up for firewood or kindling. Not me!
I sometimes see people using the acronym SWMBO. What does it stand for?

George
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post #14 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 01:27 PM
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I like the type used for rigging heavy machinery, typically 4x4 oak beams or larger, but haven't found any around where I live now. Everything around here is green pine..pine trees are everywhere here in SC..
I used to have stacks and stacks of white oak, but that was back in Dayton Ohio when they still had a lot of machine shops building large machinery.
I suspect if you go to an area of town where there's a lot of industrial manufacturing going on you might find some of those great oak beam pallets..
I had a bunch of 12 foot 4x4s and 6x6s.. I either sold them or burned them in those days..
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post #15 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 01:28 PM
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Years ago pallets coming out of the Philippines often were made of mahogany. I still have some small pieces around somwehere.

George
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 02:13 PM
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One of my first jobs was in an envelope factory, in the days before pallets paper arrived on skids, a platform on two runners, top boards would often be 7/8" thick 6 to 8 inches wide. Runners were about 3" thick and 8" high, finding a new one in oak or mahogany was a gold mine to any of us doing woodwork. Only problem was they were often built with 3" spiral nails so they were tough to get apart.

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post #17 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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I sometimes see people using the acronym SWMBO. What does it stand for?

George
Here ya go @GeorgeC
"She Who Must Be Obeyed"
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post #18 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 05:11 PM
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Here ya go @GeorgeC
"She Who Must Be Obeyed"
OK, I will bite. Just who is that? The current president is a male as are the heads of all the military branches.

I guess you have to obey police when they give a lawful order.

So, ???

George
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post #19 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I will bite. Just who is that? The current president is a male as are the heads of all the military branches.

I guess you have to obey police when they give a lawful order.

So, ???

George
LOL - it usually refers to ones other half @GeorgeC - Wife/Girlfriend etc
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-23-2017, 06:03 PM
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The pallets I used to get 5x10 sheets of sheet metal on were some good pallets two 4x6x120 generally of oak for the runners, you could rip them up and get pretty good wood out of them some were veneer backing to they had the pith in the wood but I could cut around them if they were a problem

The thing I don't like about pallets are the hidden nails, what you save on lumber can be negated real fast by hitting some nails
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