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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.



Pallet Types

Although pallets come in various sizes and shapes there are two main pallet types:

  • 2-way entry so-called stringer   


  •                    and 4 –way entry so-called blockblock-pallet

Pallet Dimensions

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:

pallet dim all


Other Features

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.


pallet stamp
Image courtesy of Eric Brennan

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.

6 thoughts on “Know Your Pallets”

  1. I am really interested now what you are going to do with dose pallets)) worked with them for years an i know there is plenty things you can do with them..I wonder WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO WITH THEM!! I am waiting inpatient…!!

    • I have few ideas already. Just need time to actually do it. I’ve made a sanbox for my little one, so that will be coming up and a quick tutorial on how to disassemble a pallet. In a mean time reaserch, reaserch and reaserch :)

  2. I have a guy who says his pallets are chemical free because the place he gets them told him so. No stamps nothing on them. Reading this I dont know what to do.
    If in fact pallets that do not have a stamp on them and we have no idea where they came from….what do we do? Take a chance or just wait for stamped pallets. In the past year I have never seen a stamped pallet. So I just dont know what to do as I have many orders using pallets.

    • Usually, unstamped pallets are used for domestic destinations and I don’t think they chemically treated. In Europe, most pallets are stamped as they usually used for international freight purposes. Saying that it depends if you can trust the guy and what he’s saying. Also, you can be sure if there wasn’t anything spilled on them but that goes for all used pallets. You can ask in Pallet Crazy group on facebook there are many people there and I’m sure someone could answer your question more thoroughly. I’m sorry I couldn’t help more.


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