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Thread: What to build with wooden pallets?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    What to build with wooden pallets?

    So my local garden center has a whole bunch of wooden pallets with a big "free" sign on them. Not sure what type of wood they're made of and I'm sure they're in pretty rough shape.

    Other than firewood, are these good for anything?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Little Rock, AR.
    I've seen some with some very striking grain and figure in them. Most are made either from a cheaper wood (trash tree or such) or material that for one reason or another didn't make the grade for more marketable material. Other than not knowing if it's oak ,gum, or whatever, it should be OK. After all what have you got to lose - it's free.
    The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.
    - Marcus Aurelius ---------------------------------------- ------------- [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3

    Taylor Guitars did this

    You'd be surprised at what you can do with pallet wood

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Webster Groves, MO
    Blog Entries
    Be careful about metal in them. Other than that, it can be okay free wood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKean, PA
    Around here most pallet wood is oak and it is not dried. It might be free wood, but you get what you paid for. I would highly recommend a metal detector before running any through your saws or planer.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  6. #6
    You can plan on throwing out the one-by cross boards.

    Then, take the thicker board and look for any nails, staples, etc. Then, put on your 40 or 60 grit sanding belt on your belt sander and give 'er the once over to remove sand & rocks that might've been mashed into the wood.

    I made something out of pallet wood once. Wound up nicking the hell out of my planer & jointer knives. It was NOT worth it.

  7. #7
    If you have enough, you can make a cool fort....


  8. #8

    giving some back...

    Just finished making thirteen birdhouses from the pallets on which my table and band saws, and lathe arrived. Just could not toss all that clear lumber. Not suitable for much else since it is all softwood, except one beautiful brown piece that is twice the weight as fir, and cuts like a dream. Used the little available to make a few fence attachments for miter gauges on my saws. Will be sending sample to determine species. Would like to find more of this wood somewhere.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northfield, Mn
    What to build with wooden pallets?
    A nice warm fire.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    It's not worth the price.

  11. #11
    Hey Carl I'm up here in Farmington and I'm with you, they make for a great bonfire. Other than that I wouldn't put any of my blades or knifes near that stuff.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northfield, Mn
    Matt- Time to get some more pallets. We're supposed to get 6-8 inches of the white fluffy stuff tomorrow. YUCK! Isn't it supposed to be spring soon?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Cincinnati Ohio
    I run a retail garden center and sell my pallets. I have a hard time keeping them. The "pallet pirates" come at night and take them. I know guys that make a living buying used pallets and resell them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Rio Rancho, NM
    A lot of pallets for machines that come in from the Orient are some very nice Philippine mahogany or other exotics (to us) that are trash wood (to them). You can make almost anything with decent pallet wood - boxes (jewelry, keepsake, etc.) come to mind, as do small tables, children's furniture (table and chairs). You can make the same things with pallet wood that you can with wood you buy at the lumber yard. Yes, some of it isn't worth messing with, but you have to look at it good, and make sure it isn't full of metal. You'd be surprised what you might find under a layer of dirt and/or oil.

    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported.
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  15. #15
    BTDTNA - One must be very poor and very desperate to wrest lumber from pallets:

    1. Most pallets are assembled with ring nails, which are designed to be impossible to remove. For the bird houses mentioned, it is possible to cut the 1x slats out of the middles with some hope of success. The 2x and 4x will almost always contain hidden nails.
    2. Most pallets are built from the lowest grade of lumber. If the lumber were suitable for projects or furniture, it would be priced accordingly.
    3. It is nearly impossible to get all the nails, staples, brads and trash out of pallet lumber. The cost of ruining one good carbide blade has to be factored in to the savings. Think about ruining a saw blade, planer blades, jointer blades, shaper cutters. Hitting a nail with a router blade scares me.

    thnx, jack vines

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