Unloved Shipping Pallets are Tomorrows Upcycled useful Stuff
Like many I used to see old scrap wooden 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.
When you see Shipping Pallets, 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!
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!
In a future post I will look at how to disassemble your pallets, de-nail the wood and prepare it for use.