Working with wooden pallets
Before you start working with wooden pallets you should know the material you are going to be dealing with. So I feel a small introduction is in place so you know what you’re into :)
First wooden pallets were introduced by Swedish concern BT Industries in the first half of 20th century and have been used in transport industry ever since.
Although pallets come in various sizes and shapes there are two main pallet types:
2-way entry so-called stringer
So there are several basic pallet dimensions like 1000 x 1200mm or 800 x 1200mm (Euro), but if you look closer that differs from country to country. You don’t need to go into specifics. You’ll learn about them more in the process.
Below you find pallet dimensions and how they can look like:
Size and type are not the only features you should consider. There is one more thing you’ll need to look at and that’s pallet weight. Nearly all pallets come in 3 different weights: light, medium and heavy. That property depends on what a pallet is used for and how much load it should bear.
So it may seem that that’s not important for pallet projects, but it is actually very important because the size (width and thickness) of planks depends very much on that feature ie light pallet has thin and narrow planks; heavy pallet has thick and wide planks.
Saying that I recommend using a specific type of pallet for a specific project like decking – heavy pallet has small gaps between planks and that means no need to dismantle a pallet plus is more durable.
How to tell if pallets are safe to use?
Use dry, pretty clean pallets with no sign of spillage.
Usually, you can find a stamp on the side telling you if a pallet was heat or chemically treated.
A colored pallet is a NO as they most certainly have been chemically treated.
If a pallet has no stamp and you’re not sure if it safe, just don’t use it. The euro pallet is an exception.You can use one safely even without a stamp. European regulations forbid chemical treating of wooden pallets.
So where do I get them from???
You do not need to buy wooden pallets. There are so many places you can find them.
Forget about the big sites like supermarkets etc. they usually have a process in place to handle all the waste materials. Instead, try local places like a small garden and hardware stores. If you really struggle to find any pallets you can simply buy them, but that is the last resort.
The last thing is how to dismantle a wooden pallet. All necessary instructions you will find here.