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Storing my Pallet Wood Planks

Storing my Pallet Wood Planks

Thanks to my friends and other people my stock of pallet wood planks is growing steadily and they need to be stored somewhere dry. So it was time for a bit of re-organisation in the workshop, starting with the old log stores on the back wall.

The idea was to fit old scaffolding boards across the top of that space so that the planks could be stacked on them. While leaving enough space underneath for my power tools workbench to be wheeled in and out when it’s needed.

Here are before and after pictures so you get the gist of what I mean:

Before:

the old log store before being modified

After:

the old log store after being modified to store pallet wood planks

This wasn’t to much of a job to achieve once I had cut out the red pallet from the bottom where the workbench lives now. Also put in a couple of posts to support the middle of the scaffold boards as there is quite a bit of weight on there now.

Problem is that now I need even more space to store these pallet planks as I have lots of pallets to break down. The storage rack above the workbench is full as you can see, there are over 200 pallet wood planks up there.

lots of pallets to be broken down

So far I have stripped 8 of the pallets shown above and they have yielded a lot of planks as you can see below:

more pallet wood planks to be stored

My only option now is to start ultilising the outside log stores which are available because we are not going to be burning logs much more.

pallet wood planks stored in outside log stores

However, using these old log stores has given me another small project, I now need to make some sort of doors to go on the front to keep the pallet wood planks dry.

I have a system in place, any planks stored inside the workshop on the racks has been thoroughly de-nailed and is ready for use. Any that is stored outside hasn’t been de-nailed, it’s a simple system, but one that I hope I can’t mess up!

So there you have it, my solution for storing my pallet wood planks, hope you found it useful and maybe it gave you a few ideas.

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Dismantling Pallets to Salvage the Wood

Dismantling pallets can be as hard or easy as you want to make it!

But the main aim when dismantling pallets is to retrieve as much undamaged and usable wood as possible. A lot will depend on what tools you have to hand and if you want to spend out on specialist tools or not.

Myself, I just use what I have, here’s my list:

  • Lump Hammer
  • 3″ Wide Cold Chisel
  • 1″ Wide Cold Chisel
  • Hacksaw
  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection

My process is very simple, I use the hammer to drive the 3″ chisel between the joint in the wood, just enough to get the hacksaw in and cut through the nails. I find this way I am putting less stress on the wood and reduce the amount of split wood I end up with.

Sometimes I get pallets that have shorter nails, so after initially prizing the pieces of wood apart with the 3″ chisel, I will follow up with the 1″ chisel to finish off. At this point the planks will usually pull apart with no real effort or damage to the wood.

Using this method I can  usually strip a pallet down in about 15 minutes with minimal damage to the wood.

Usually I wait until I have 6 or so pallets to dismantle, then have a session of taking them to bits. I find doing it this way it keeps the workshop organised as I am only focusing on one task. It’s also very satisfying to stand back when you have finished and see that nice new stack of wood you have ready for the next project! The exception to this rule is when I need a specific piece of wood of a certain thickness or length.

There are of course other methods to strip a pallet down into its component parts and we will take a look at one or two of those below.

Other Pallet Dismantling Tools

There are a number of purpose built pallet dismantling tools, also known as Pallet Busters such as the one shown to the right, this model is available on Amazon UK. I have never used one of these tools or anything like but after watching a few youtube videos that demonstrate how to use them I must admit they do look useful. There a few different variation of this tool available from different manufacturers, you can see them here on Amazon: Pallet Dismantling tools available on Amazon

Another tool I have seen widely used for pallet dismantling is the Sabre saw or Reciprocating Saw such as the one shown to the right. It’s used as an electric hacksaw to cut through the nails, and I have to agree it would be an effortless and quicker way to deal with the nails! If you wish, you can see a range of these saws on Amazon here: Sabre Saws available on Amazon

So there you go, a brief look at a couple of ways of how to dismantle shipping pallets so you can salvage the wood to make stuff.

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Unloved Wood Shipping Pallets can become Beautiful Stuff

Upcycled Palletwood Cabinet
Unloved Wood Shipping Pallets can become Beautiful Stuff

Unloved Shipping Pallets are Tomorrow’s Upcycled useful Stuff

Like many I used to see old scrap wood shipping pallets as potential firewood for my log burner. I think the only useful thing I made out of them back then were some log stores. Which incidentally are still in use after almost 8 years of service!

But of late I have come to view these old pallets in a different way, there was a yearning to upcycle them into something useful, be it a clock, a book stand or a cupboard, whatever! And it was only after I started to actually sand down a piece of this wood that I realised just how beautiful it could be. Often one single pallet can provide around 8 pieces of useful wood that all can have different and interesting grains.

Aside from the neccessity for an item around our home the ideas for stuff to make come from my imagination and the good old University of Youtube. In fact I have been amazed at what Pallets are used to make, the ideas seem to be limitless!

So were do you start, where do you find, scavenge or scrounge these old wood pallets from? Often just driving around you local area you will see pallets were builders are active or people are having work done on their homes. Building sites are another good source and industrial estates too, as there are always deliveries of equipment and stock being made.

Palletwood Clock with Aeroplanes

Always ask don’t just help yourself!

My golden rule is never to just take a pallet, unless it’s just been dumped by a roadside in the middle of nowhere. Otherwise I always, always ask if I can take a pallet away, normally the person I ask is relieved that he/she has got rid of the problem of disposing of the pallet and is only to happy to let me have it. Other places to find unloved pallets are Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle, but I find mainly just keeping your eyes open as you travel around is the best way to find them.

Another thing to look out for is the “HT” stamp on the pallets, if they have this stamp it means they have been heat treated against rot, rather than chemically treated. Obviously it’s better for you when working on the pallet that it’s not been chemically treated!

For my purposes I tend to only go for what are called “white” pallets, these are pallets that haven’t been painted so are much easier to use to make stuff. I believe that pallets are painted as a sign of ownership of the pallet, I may be wrong!

Wood shipping pallets come in many shapes and sizes, some are standard like the “Euro Pallet” and others are custom made for a specific task, but all are made of wood that can be used to make useful stuff. If you can find a source of the same or similar sized pallets that will make you life easier when making stuff because the dimensions of each piece of wood will be almost the same which matters if you are going to make a table top!

Palletwood Cabinet

In a future post I will look at how to disassemble your pallets, de-nail the wood and prepare it for use.