Pallet wood for woodworking

All About Pallet wood for woodworking that you need to know

Wooden Pallets are modern woodworking, You can get some gorgeous projects, and you can be creative with pallets. 

I will explain the pros and cons of wood pallets, a safety guide, pallet symbol, tips when working with wood pallets, and wood pallet alternatives.

I’ve built a wind box with nice box joints, rustic wall décor, and even made a snowman for Christmas.

Leftover panels are made out of pallets, making huge panels and cutting these things into almost anything. I think woodworking with pallets is well worth the effort.

Pallet wood are easy to find

Pallets of wood are super easy to find; you can get pallets for free just about anywhere. I know at least three or four places, just maybe a mile down the road, where I can get pallets completely free.

 If you often ask, business owners will send you with them, and they’ll say take all you want.

That means we don’t have to get rid of them; because of the somewhat ubiquitous nature of pallets, many woodworkers are interested in it. Now I have extra long ones.

But actually, it tends to be usually smaller; they’re not like this long because they don’t use it always come like this, but there’s an option to get on like this.

You’re going to get them relatively cheap if you want to pay for them If you don’t start looking around. You’ll find the people have thrown around buildings behind construction yards; they’re all over. So that’s a great Pro to this.

Pallets are split on the end

Now one con about these is sometimes they are split on end, and you may not notice it at first.

This may look like nothing major, but it is cut however you want to use this as a plank.

Let’s say you do grout the nails you get, and you cut through and cut the opiates off.

So me already knowing how I use pallets, that’s already in the bottom, that’s not noticeable, but I can guarantee you, I was to cut this plank off your cut right now.

What might happen if you were to pull that plank off? There’s a massive split in this wood. That’s what happened. More than likely, actually go straight down the middle and separate the wood into two, and then you’d have smaller pieces.

Pallets wood easy to disassemble

Pro Number two is how easy these are to disassemble and Very simple; you can go about these numerous ways, which makes it super easy and super fun to break down, especially if you’re a beginner that wants to mess around with palettes and stuff.

Jigsaw, that’s tool number one. Very simple,  very affordable, get one of these.

Second and final, my favorite and my new tool.

Circular saw, slash skills, soft skills on the brand name but people still cautious because that’s what they were known for back then, and now almost every brand making a circular saw, and it’s incredible.

The fantastic tool, you can come up with a proven palette within seconds, one of these. So, yeah, very, very fast.

Those are the two main ways you guys can cut down a pallet cause, So if you’re going to run these through the plane or join or wherever you’re going to do, make sure you know the actual thickness of these before you do that, okay.

Extra time to woodwork with pallets

It’s a lot of work if you choose to woodwork with pallets, and don’t mean just sort of Pinterest-style woodworking if you want to build some cool stuff with pallets.

I spent a lot of time cutting those pallets up, pulling out all the nails, planing the wood and get it nice and smooth, and then dimensioning it into lovely square pieces of lumber.

I glued a lot of pallet wood together to build some different projects; for example, I made a hand plane tail, an enjoyable task.

If you’re going to do much woodworking with pallets, you’re going to need some nail remover, and you’re going to need some way to remove those nails and do it by hand, which is a lot of work.

On the bottom side of the pallet, you’re going to have a rough piece of wood because these have been in mud, dirt, gravel, everything.

And they’re full of little tiny rocks, gravel inside of actual wood. It’s a lot of weight on it, so it becomes imperative.

Now, what are your chances of messing up those? Those blades haven’t meant for rocks metal fragments; anything there may be strictly wood.

Using pallets Save the Earth?

Now I know this pro is going to sound weird, but it’s true.

Many people grab pallets, and they say their number one reason because they want to save the Earth.

Pallets contain mold

You can’t see mold and why I need to wear a mask, just because I don’t want to be breathing that in constantly. That’s how you get some severe headaches, and it’s just not good for you at all, guys.

Pallets good for business

the pros that I want to talk to you guys about is that it’s great for business.

If you are making it rustic, make it secure, put many brackets on it, and hide those brackets. You only use it for simple projects like that with just a couple of dollars.

See how you guys can get used to woodworking, and you don’t want to risk buying a bunch of wood from the store and then not doing it so well.

If you’re a beginner and want to do woodworking, grab some pallets, get used to cut around, just cut it, make nothing try to get used to assault.

If you want to grab a $40 Jigsaw from the store and get a quarter when you have to get cordless, get an important one, plug it into an elegant extension for a dark palette, see how you like it.

Just imagine the feeling of putting down making an actual shape of something or getting a template to come online and make your items. It’s a lot of fun. 

After a while, if you enjoy it, start to sell it; they’re all up on eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, you guys can do it. And I believe in you guys.

I believe in myself, and I still want to keep trying at this business.

Safety Tips For Woodworking With Pallet Wood

woodworking with pallets can cause harm to ourselves or our tools. I’m going to share six safety tips while when working with pallet wood.

You’re going to need some good protection

I have a face shield and also a pair of excellent eyeglasses. Get yourself some good hearing protection because you’re going to make a lot of noise.

You’re also going to need a face mask or respirator. Use these for a good long time, and then I recently invested in one of these RZ masks.

Another suggestion that I would say is to take those pounds outside and break them down. That way, you’re not bringing any extra nuts into your shop than necessary.

Last but not least, in this category, get yourself some suitable gloves. Those dried-out pallets from the sun Splinter badly and roll, tearing your hands.

Dust collection system

if you’re going to be working with pallets and breaking them down and dimensioning and all that, you’re going to need to be sure you get some dust collection

I wrecked my shop with us this year.

I completely clogged up my dust collection system from all that pallet wood, and you’re going to generate a ton of dust and wood particles, so be sure you got your PPS up to date.

Inspected those pallets before you take them home

Often you can see spills on those pallets, meaning you can see chemical stains, or you can see where something is spilled on that pallet.

Those are ones I’m going to avoid a little bit of extra insurance is to take those pallets when you get home and go ahead and spray them down.

If there are any chemical residues left on the pallet, hopefully, we can remove that.

If you have a good pressure washer, I bet that would work a lot better than just the hose.

If I see a pound that looks like it has a nasty stain on it, I don’t have anything to do with it; I’m leaving it where it is.

Consider where you’re getting your palette

I’m not going to get the palette from a chemical supplier or a pool company or some other location where I think there’s potential for chemicals to be transporting on those pallets.

Some of the pallets don’t have any markings on them at all, And it’s really up to you if you want to use them or not, pay attention to where you’re getting them from if it’s a medical manufacturing company or something like that or who knows where.

I think a little common sense can go a long way when considering where you’re getting your pallets, where you’re bringing them to your shop.

I can’t remember the exact article, but a writer discussed how new motorcycles are transported on new pallets.

The rider mentioned that people buying a new motorcycle did not want to buy a bike transported on an old pallet.

This illustrates the point that you can find pallets depending on where you’re looking at frequently. They’re brand new and have never been used except for that one. If you can find new pallets, that’s ideal.

Be sure you have a good metal detector

I’m using the wizard five metal detector I bought on Amazon. It’s been an excellent tool, these pallets are riddled with nails, and I’ve even noticed small fragments of metal that I didn’t even know were there that I found with the metal detector.

One of our viewers even mentioned that he drills out where the nail holes were because frequently, those tiny little metal wires that attach the nails inside the nail gun getting bedded in the wood.

You can’t see it, and it can still damage your planer on multiple occasions.

Learn a little bit of terminology and symbols around pallets wood

Once you’ve got all your pallets, check for the label. Pretty much every single pallet will have a stamp on it.

This stamp will indicate how the pallet is treated and where it’s from; if pallet wood doesn’t have a symbol on it, use it under your discretion.

They’re probably local, but I wouldn’t use them, and I was worried about chemicals leaching into the soil.

There’s a close-up of the stamp you’ll see on most pallets, which tells you a whole lot of information about the pallets.

Often, by looking at the pallet terminology, you can see the country in which it originated.

And you can also see any treatment that the pallet has had before arriving at its destination.

IPPC logo

IPPC stands for International Plant Protection Convention, and this is a globally known logo that will help you determine precisely where your pallets from and how it’s been treated.

Most pallets are noticed that they have this IPPC logo. It’s essentially an international treaty that is meant to protect different countries from those invasive species.

These first two letters and to show you which country is from, US are from the United States, GB is in Great Britain, FR will be France, etc. This symbol indicates which country the palette came from.

Facility number

This lets you know which factories come from. The most important for this enables you to see how the wood has been treated. There are three main sets of letters you need to look out for.

DB Symbol

DB means it is untreated and very safe to use. I also say DB with KD, and this means that word has been Kiln Dried.

HT Symbol

HT means this pallet wood has been heat-treated, which will last a lot longer than deep afterward; this is also the one that I recommend the most.

If you see those you know that it’s been certified, you see HT marking, you know that this palette is safe to use, this is okay to work on, and You can almost do whatever you want with these pallets.

Also, remember that even heat-treated pallets with the HT marking are not well-treated wood pallets.

It kills pests and bugs inside them, but they’re not treated with fungicide, so don’t use them outside and expect them not to ride; eventually, they will.

MB Symbol

MB stands for methyl bromide, and this is a deadly chemical known to be a neurotoxin and a carcinogen.

 If inhaled, that affects the nervous system; these chemicals are banned in Europe versus still being used in parts of Asia.

Methyl bromide is not something you want to bring into your shop.

And so you probably shouldn’t even burn it or anything.

I don’t know what you do with it, Probably throw in a landfill some water, but these are ones you do not want to pick up.

Taking up dust labeled with methyl bromide, it’s just something you want to avoid.

It is probably not that common anymore. I don’t think that the United States or Canada is treating palates with methylene bromide anymore,

The EPA logo

EPA stands for  European Palette Association logo, which pretty much gives you the green light to go ahead and use it in your garden.

Color Palettes

These color pallets of wood mainly come in red. Most emerging companies return them to the factory for a fee. They’re also challenging work to be separate and very toxic.

Those are chemically treated more pesticides, and those are not going to work because if you are cutting down and sanding down, a lot of tiny particles, sawdust, get inside the lungs. Breathed that in. That’s called cancer.

You will be breathing in harmful chemicals that can seriously hurt you, It contains a whole bunch of harmful things. Don’t mess with these guys, seriously just don’t.

Would it be possible for me to make an utterly inclusive list of safety precautions when working with pallets? It would be best if you used these tips at your discretion.

I think most of these tips could apply to reclaimed lumber from other sources, except the terminology.

You need to make sure your site and shop are safe, and the environment is safe when working with reclaimed material.

Reasons why not using Pallet Wood for woodworking

Pallets have been used to ship goods all over the world since World War Two. The use of pallets and forklift trucks has relieved the hard-working. 

As a woodworker can be tempting to pick up some of these wooden pallets and start building projects, and there’s plenty of examples all over YouTube of people doing that.

But have you ever wondered whether it’s a good idea to build with pallets? I’m going to give you ten reasons why you may want to reconsider

Before I talk about why you may not want to build out of pallet wood, let’s talk about why people do, and the two biggest reasons are cost and availability.

Pallets are everywhere, and it’s not hard to find them, and most of the time, you can find them for free.

And today, when wood prices are through the roof, it can be tempting for any woodworker to pick up some wood pallets and go to town.

Before we get too far into it, I want to say that this is based on my own experiences, opinions, and thoughts.

Now to start with, the thing you have to understand about pallets is that they are built for one particular function. They are made to move goods from one place to another.

Sometimes it’s down the road, and sometimes it’s across the country, sometimes it’s across the world. And as I go through the reasons you may not want to build a pallet, keep that in mind that that’s the purpose they were made for and nothing else.

The quality of wood pallets

So the first reason why pallets may not be the best to build with is wood quality. Wood pallets are rarely paid to the quality of what is used in the pallet. They want to make sure it can at least last from point A to point B, but many things are shipped only once, and the pallets are only meant for one-time use.

And so the wood they’re going to use in the pallets will be the cheapest, most readily available, what they have and the quality often is deficient.

The following reason is damaged. Now some pallets, get so damaged in moving things from place to place that they become unusable, and somehow it’s good for nothing else but a bonfire.

Because pallets are built with whatever happens to be lying around, They’re sometimes not made out of the same species of wood.

As pallets get damaged over time, they’ll be made from one place ship to another. If they’re damaged, they’ll be. They’ll be fixed in one place.

The wood species that they’re going to have their quality would be different, so often you’ll see pallets that have been repaired, they’re going to have other wood species.

For some people, that’s interesting. Some people like to look at the different species of wood, and that’s fine.

But the problem with that is that when you build using different species, other pieces interact with moisture and humidity differently.

If one’s drier than the other, they’re going to react differently, and I’ve seen things that people have made out of wood that got torn apart over time because of how the wood movement works. So, building things out of multiple species is not always the best thing to do

The usable wood on a pallet is minimal

The pallet slats tend to be thin, and a lot of times, the larger pieces or thicker pieces of wood are cut in to make room for a forklift.

Reducing the amount of usable wood on the pallet means that building big things becomes much more difficult.

Now pallets can also be challenging to take apart. And the reason for that is that pallets, for a particular purpose, are meant to ship things from place to place, and the one is not supposed to come apart now it sometimes does, as it travels and gets beat up, but that’s not supposed to happen.

That makes pulling them apart very difficult. Pallets use what are called screw shank fasteners, they’re essentially like nails that look like screws, and they’re firm and challenging to pull apart.

If you’ve ever tried to take apart a pallet, you know what I’m talking about.

Many people don’t even try to remove the nails, and they try to cut off the wood around them.

And again, that reduces the amount of wood you have available to you, making pallets less desirable.

Another essential thing to think about with pallets is that they are frequently stored outside. They are exposed to damage from the sun, rain, snow, insects, mold, and fungus, which are all things that are destroying the world.

That does not just impact the quality of the wood, but it also means that how wood could contain some things like insects that you don’t want to bring to your home.

What pallets are very prone to warping and cracking, and there are a few different reasons that they have left out the elements.

You don’t know how pallets are treated

You may want to avoid using pallet wood because many pallet blocks of wood are treated using a toxic chemical to humans and are used to treat pallet wood to kill insects.

While some pallet wood may be heat-treated, you can see that they’re not treated in the same way as quality lumber.

The heat treatment of palettes is mainly meant to kill insects.

Still, it’s done very quickly and at shallow temperatures, usually about 130 degrees, for about half an hour, and that’s enough to kill insects.

But not enough to dry out the wood to a point where its stable quality wood is usually dried for weeks, sometimes weeks in a kill, to get out all of that moisture from the wood to get down to that level. It makes pallets’ wood very prone to warping or cracking.

Not all Wood pallets are free

While they may be easy to get your hands on and may even be free, they’re not free.

You may have seen some of these blue and red pallets out there. What these pallets are is they are owned by chap or PICO. Both of these companies have schemes where they rent pallets out to customers and expect them to return.

And so they’ll go out searching for pallets, they’ll go and pick them up, and if you use one of these pallets, you’re technically stealing.

Not that they would track you down or get you in trouble or anything like that because it’s tough to keep track of all of them, but they do say that they’re the property of someone else they don’t belong to you and so you really should avoid them.

Aside from that, they are brightly colored, so they’re easy to spot but also you’re going to have to clean off that blue or red paint, which means that the wood underneath it will be thinner, less usable. And just something you want to avoid in general.

So all that brings me to the last reason why you may want to avoid building with palette one, and that is because you don’t know where these palettes come from.

Not all palettes are marked, and most palettes that don’t have markings were made within the country your rent.

They usually were made for domestic use, not for international use, but you don’t know it could have been chemical or oil spilled and seeped into the wood.

You don’t know what the pallets were used to ship, how they were treated, and You don’t see what was done with them.

Take wood that you don’t know much about, and bring it into your shop start cutting and creating dust, breathing in that dust potentially bringing it into your home, not knowing what it is. It’s just something really that you want to avoid.

Now, in the end, if you want to use pallet wood, go ahead. I’m not here to tell you you can’t, and I’m not here to judge anyone for building anything out of how it was.

All I want is to provide you with information so that you’re informed.

Now, a few things I would avoid, I would never use for anything going to come into contact with food. So like a cutting board or a countertop, stuff like that, I would not build out a pallet wood.

As I mentioned earlier,  People like to use pallet wood because it is cheap and walk times free, and lumber prices are skyrocketing the way they are.

Pallet Wood alternative

If the pallet wood crate is dying down and picking up steam, if you’ve done anything in carpentry and woodworking over the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly run into hundreds, articles, blog posts about how pallets make for great reclaimed wood for projects.

You probably don’t want to burn pallet’s wood, but if you’re looking for cheap, possibly free lumber, there’s a source that’s infinitely better than pallets.

Suppose you don’t want to use pallet wood for the reasons I’ve mentioned or some other reason. There are some alternatives, and there are some things that you can do to get wood at a lower price.

It’s referred to as cull wood, and everybody has access to it.

Cull Wood Vs. Pallet Wood

So let’s make a quick comparison of these two lumber sources, pallet wood versus cull wood.

A quick rundown of why I think pallets are bad. Yes, you can often get it for free or just for a meager price.

The reason pallets are so cheap is that they’re low-grade wood.

The vast majority of them are other pine or oak, and those are words that we frequently use for projects, but how it represents the lowest caliber of those types of wood.

Full of knots in the end grain is a very current display; plus, they’ve already gone through the construction process once, so they’re full of spiral or ring shank nails, which tend to be very hard to find out.

Yes, you can pull them apart, but still full of nail fragments, which, if you don’t take out, every little piece can damage your soul blades when you’re cutting into them and possibly harm you.

Many pallets get used to shipping chemicals that occasionally bust and spill on those pallets, further contaminating whenever you get a pallet to work with; you can never be too sure what’s really in it.

What better option for pallets wood?

Cull wood is just one that’s been pulled off the shelves in lumber yards because it isn’t quite up to saleable standards. 

Sometimes it’s bowed and warped; sometimes it’s chipped or damaged, and other times it’s just being moved out to make room for other goods lumber yards.

In big stores are constantly picking through the materials to clean this stuff out and clear out their shelves.

They don’t trash it right away; instead, they’ll typically market with some spray paint, then set it aside on a cart where it’s still available for purchase, but at a drastically reduced price. 

It typically marked down as much as 70%, sometimes smaller Lumberyard will even give this stuff away to get it out the door.

Cull wood is superior to pallet wood, and it’s the same product in the exact dimensions you typically buy off the shelf.

We’re talking about actual lumber here, and a wide variety of on any given day in a cull woodpile, you might find treated lumber kiln dried framing lumber sheet goods, trim, siding, and much more.

Some of the stuff is a little banged up, but it’s easier to work around these defects than work around the imperfections and pallet wood.

You’re going to be able to cut that out of the majority of the boards, and the great thing is this stock is constantly changing.

Stores constantly call out more material, not to mention that none of this stuff has nails in it. It hasn’t had anything spilled on every Lumberyard does this to some degree.

Still, it’s weird because every store will sort of have its unique way of doing it.

Some places will only let you buy this stuff in bulk, and other businesses will let you buy individual, or you need to get to know the lumber yards in your area.

It’s going to show up to these places often and get friendly with the staff, let them know what you’re looking for overtime.

Many people will say that reclaiming pallets is good for the environment because it keeps this stuff out of landfills.

The next stop for that stuff is the dumpster.

Take advantage of this unused inventory. You can build a lumber collection over time at a fraction of the cost.

I think you should avoid pallets because they only have one good stated purpose shipping things.

Anyway, that’s my rant on the subject. What do you think about it?

Do you like pallets or that shabby chic look they give you a piece of furniture?

Have you used them effectively in the past?

I’m by no means a super expert authority on palettes, but you know I’ve done some research and use quite a bit of them.

Scroll to Top