Pallet wood for projects? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 08-11-2011, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Pallet wood for projects?

While it may be a bit longer before my shop is up and running, I am still thinking about things to do in it once finished. In a recent topic on where to acquire wood for projects someone mentioned using wood from shipping pallets. I started to think this might be a good way to get wood for me to practice on while learning things like cutting dove tails and other joinery without wasting good wood. I have a place near work that puts them out for free. Anyone use these for certain projects or have any projects that might be good for such wood? Should I avoid this idea completely?
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post #2 of 49 Old 08-11-2011, 02:11 PM
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The wood itself is usually decent wood, although it will have a lot of knots in it. The nails they use are next to impossible to get out in my experience, so your 2x stock will be limited to areas without nails. The 1x pieces work fine with a little cleaning up as long as you don't mind nail holes. I've used the pieces I have for jigs and misc. framing around the garage when I need something quick. They pallets I have are pine so the wood is easy to work with, although depending on where I'm cutting it doesn't always cut cleanly with a chisel / plane.
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post #3 of 49 Old 08-11-2011, 03:35 PM
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Pallet wood can be good to practice on but sometimes it awfully hard wood.

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post #4 of 49 Old 08-11-2011, 06:15 PM
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I use alot of pallet wood for things like shadow boxes and small projects..this is completly pallet wood



and these drawer fronts are pallet wood


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post #5 of 49 Old 08-11-2011, 06:42 PM
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I too, have torn apart some pallets and used the wood for various things, from practice to the fireplace. Grab some and give it a go.

Never Stop Learning - You Stop Living.
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post #6 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 12:50 AM
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Make sure you get all the nails, staples, screws and other metal/stone things out before letting anything sharp get near it!

If Woodworking is so much fun why isn't it called WoodFUNNING?

I've made a few videos
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post #7 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 01:57 AM
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Cool

You're on the right track!

With a FREE source nearby, GO FOR IT!

It will take time to develop a technique using Dikes, etc. to remove all of the nails... After practicing on 2-3 pallets, taking them apart, you will learn how to get the nails out of them without messing up the wood surfaces.

Make sure you get the wood clean of small sand, dirt, pebbles, etc. A good brushing with a strong wire brush works good for me... ... will mess up a planer really FAST! Saw blades can tolerate them a little but they cause havoc on joiners & planers.

As you have seen, good looking things can be made from them...

It beats paying good money for the wood...!
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post #8 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 02:51 AM
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If you want to get into pallet wood, I would suggest investing in something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Detectors-24902-Little-Detector/dp/B00005NMUO
Cheaper than a router bit.

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #9 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 03:27 AM
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Pallet wood and other recycled timber is often dented and scared .
With machining the these are often no longer visible , but when the finish is applied the dimples can swell out to become pimples.
Between planing and sanding I give the pieces a good wetting down and an overnight drying off to deal with the problem .

Last edited by Manuka Jock; 08-12-2011 at 03:33 AM.
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post #10 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Lyddon View Post
It will take time to develop a technique using Dikes, etc. to remove all of the nails... After practicing on 2-3 pallets, taking them apart, you will learn how to get the nails out of them without messing up the wood surfaces.
can you elaborate on that? I have a couple palletes in the garage that are still together and i'd rather keep the 2x's if I could.
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post #11 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 02:54 PM
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I will try to elaborate on a way I get nails out...

Using a rubber mallet, lightly pound the wood strips away from the boards they're nailed to... to possibly loosen them so when you pound on the nail-Head side (not on the nail) wood, the nail heads end up sticking up a little. If you hit too hard, you may end up splitting the wood... so be careful & try to pound, balancing-out where you're hitting... to get the whole piece of wood breaking loose from the other board. If you can get all of the nails pulled from the nailed board, all you have to do is turn the wood over & pound-out the nails & removing them with a claw hammer with a piece of sheet metal placed to protect the wood...

If you can't get ALL of the nails out as above, but get the heads protruding a little... go on to next method...

I use a pair of Dikes and small sheet of stiff metal (scrap).
With the tips of the dikes, I wedge the tip just around the nail head...
Then, I place the metal sheet flat on the wood up fairly close to the nail and while maintaining a tight grip on the nail with the dikes, I first move the handles down forcing the tip to be tilted upward removing the nail... let-up on the grip & move the grip closer to the wood, gripping etc, until nail is out.

The metal sheet prevents the dikes from digging into the wood...

Sometimes, it works out better to Roll the dikes sideways
... or to Lift the nail with the gripping point full into the dike's bite, and the metal sheet on the wood under the dike tip, then pulling the handle UP.

Key point is to keep the metal sheet between the dikes & the wood to stop big gouges from getting cut into the wood.

Sometimes a nail gets really stubborn and you to really have to dig in around it... messing-up the wood... but, that's the way mop flops.

I hope I have described it the way I do it so you can understand it...

For the most part, it beats a Claw Hammer doing it the old fashioned way.
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post #12 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 05:55 PM
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I've used pallet wood for a number of carving projects. Most of the pallets I've stripped are basswood. A few were cedar. But I've never really gotten any good, long pieces. The nail holes ruin it. But when carving you can often work around nail holes and no one is any the wiser. I carved a cool back scratcher for my son out of a basswood pallet rung.
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post #13 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Lyddon View Post
I use a pair of Dikes and small sheet of stiff metal (scrap).
With the tips of the dikes, I wedge the tip just around the nail head...

I hope I have described it the way I do it so you can understand it...
Almost - What are dikes? I'm guessing that is a terminology difference since I can't seem to find anything on the intertubes that relates to a tool other than pliers of various sorts.
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post #14 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
Almost - What are dikes? I'm guessing that is a terminology difference since I can't seem to find anything on the intertubes that relates to a tool other than pliers of various sorts.

Diagonal cutters.

Scott
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post #15 of 49 Old 08-12-2011, 11:07 PM
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reaming the nail holes out with a morticer and pounding in a square tapered peg will hide a hole in most softwoods fairly well

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Last edited by lawrence; 08-12-2011 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Because I spell like a 102 yr old blind retarded guy
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post #16 of 49 Old 08-13-2011, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
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reaming the nail holes out with a morticer and pounding in a square tapered peg will hide a hole in most softwoods fairly well
Thank you for that; great idea.
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post #17 of 49 Old 01-07-2012, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ressurrecting an old thread, I picked up some pallets today at the place near my work that has them curbside. They must put out a hundred at a time. The pile was getting pretty picked through by the time I got to it. It has been about a week. Next time I will get oput there first thing. Anyway. I grabbed five. I was not really sure what I was looking for, just less damaged with bigger pieces. Anyone know what this wood looks to be? It is pretty thin on the tops and bottoms, but the pieces in the middle have some size. What are some things I could do with it?






Thanks for looking
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post #18 of 49 Old 01-07-2012, 09:56 PM
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Cool

Looks like you got a pretty good haul!

Just guessing... some Fir & Pine...

If a board is split a little, you can always put glue into the crack, work it in, & clamp it to get a good piece out of it.

A lot of what you're looking for has probably already been said...

Once cleaned & checked for metals, you can start cleaning them up on the jointer & planer. Cut clean & square ends.

Depending on what you want out of them...

You can fill nail holes... glue pieces together to get thicker pieces...
if you want longer & thicker pieces, stagger the gluing, etc.

If you will be painting, you can do anything you want with them!!

Make your own custom lumber pieces... then play like you just came home from the lumber store... Have a BALL!

Use your imagination...
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post #19 of 49 Old 01-08-2012, 12:37 AM
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I'd like to throw in a monkey wrench into this thread if I may, but 1st, let me say that in another woodworking group, I saw a whole kitchen full of beautiful cabinets made from pallet wood. Pallet wood can offer different wood patterns and shades that can look very attractive. When working with cherry wood, I don't cut off the sap wood because I like the shades and patterns in it.

But having spent a lifetime in the trucking business, I see pallet wood as being problematic. It is free and can be used to produce attractive projects, but pallet wood can be dangerous to your health. First, we now live in a global economy which means the pallet wood you are using may look and feel familiar, but it may be made of a foreign wood that may be hazardous to your health. It's a long shot, but some exotic woods are hazardous to our health if you breath in the sawdust.

But closer to home - I'm a retired truck driver with all kinds of endorsements on my license, one being the "HM" (hazardous material). To get the "HM", I have to take a written test every time my license comes up for renewal. To pass the test, I need to know all kinds rules and regulations concerning hazardous materials. I know to look for UN #'s and what they can tell me. I know the classes for #'s 1 through 6 + and what threat they can pose. I'm familiar with all kinds of rules and regulations concerning spills and what to do in case of emergencies. There are even regulations concerning the proper handling of used containers "last said to contain". But no rules exist to instruct folks what to do with the pallets that had chemicals spilt on them. They are thrown into a pile for future use.

The purpose of my comments is to raise awareness. If you see a pallet with stains on it, be careful with it, If you don't know, use a facial mask to protect your lungs. Pallet wood needs to be approached with caution!
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post #20 of 49 Old 01-08-2012, 12:43 AM
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Interesting.
Good points.

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