Pallets are everywhere and they are incredibly popular when it comes to woodworking projects. Countless projects are created from discarded pallets, from shelving to tables, boxes to artwork. Pallets are cheap and easy to get hold of. Here’s what you need to know all about pallets so you can get the best from this versatile material.
We take a look at why pallets are interesting and valuable to the woodworker, how to choose the perfect pallet, what to build with pallets, and what to look out for when you are creating a project from wooden pallets.
What’s So Great About Pallets?
So pallets seem to be all over the internet in different DIY projects. But what exactly is their appeal? After all, they are cheap bits of wood that look ugly in their normal state. They are used for transporting goods around the world and are not known for their aesthetic appeal.
But pallets are popular because they are so versatile. They can be turned into practically anything with just a little effort and some imagination. Pallets are also ideal for upcycling projects. You take a free pallet that would otherwise have been discarded and create something useful or beautiful from it. Plus, since pallets are so numerous and they normally have the same dimensions, it is easy to get plans for DIY pallet projects. These plans are easy to follow and practically anyone can create their own pallet project with great success.
Considerations for Using Pallets
Pallets are not completely stress-free to work with. In fact, the most difficult part comes when you need to pull them apart. They are constructed to be strong, and it often takes a lot of effort to take them apart so you can construct something new. And you need to be careful when you initially work with pallets as they are treated with chemicals that can make it hazardous. But with the right precautions, you can create something useful and something that will last a long time. More importantly, you can create something unique.
Where to Use Pallets
Pallets may have been exposed to chemicals, bugs, and mold, but that doesn’t mean they will be impossible to work with. However, it is probably not a great idea to use pallets for a child’s bed, for example, or a dining table. Pallets can be used indoors when treated correctly and they are ideal for outdoor projects.
How to Choose a Pallet
1) Look for the logo. Most pallets have a stamp or a logo on them that says how it was treated. If there is no logo then it is best to steer clear of this particular pallet. If there is an HT stamped on the pallet then this means it was heat-treated, and this usually means the wood will be bug-free. But that doesn’t mean it will be chemical-free, which is why these pallets are not used for firewood.
2) Choose where your pallet is from. Most pallets are reused throughout their life in the same industry. Make sure you avoid pallets from a chemicals company or a pesticide producer as these will have been exposed to significant amounts of chemicals. The best pallets are typically from industries that handle dry goods so there are no stains to worry about.
3) Look closely and smell. Don’t pick the pallet if you get close to it and you smell something strange, mold, or see a weird stain. Move onto the next one.
Picking a pallet may take a little time but once you get to know all about pallets you will be more skilled at choosing the right wood for your project. Pallets remain the most versatile wood you can cheaply use for woodworking projects.