Pallet Craft #14: The Truth Must be Revealed!

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Blog entry by Ethan Harris posted 07-31-2012 12:25 PM 1286 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Progress, Progress and more Progress! Part 14 of Pallet Craft series Part 15: Heat treating lumber »

This is an entry from my blog: Pallet Craft!

Hello Readers!

I have been writing to this blog for the past few weeks to share my endeavors with pallet woodworking, and over that time I have seen my blog grow exponentially. This is definitely an exciting time for me as I get to share all of these experiences with more and more of you, however, it has been received with some mixed reviews as well.

I have had several readers express that they are wary of pallets and their use in woodworking. When I dug a little deeper into the vast array of internet forums and discussion boards, I uncovered there to be quite a number of opinions, fears, and some confusion. Most of the hysteria was centered on how pallets are perceived to be a hazard to health and unsuitable but for the garbage. So I have decided to set this record straight the best way I know of… by blogging! The following are laws and regulations that are in place in the U.S. and abroad.

1. Pallets being shipped internationally must be treated to prevent insect invasion and transcontinental contamination.

2. Pallets in the USA are regulated by the USDA with two organizations handling different types of treatment. (ALSC manages heat treatment)

3. Heat Treatment is an acceptable solution to this (simple chamber heating to 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum 30 minutes).

4. All pallets must be marked (and I have yet to find one unmarked) with the type of treatment used. Pallets without mark will not be allowed through customs or be shipped.

It is by these reasons that I say heat treated pallets are in fact safe for use. Yes, chemically treated pallets do still exist (managed by NWPCA), and you should use precautions when dealing with any wood type (glasses for eye irritation, respirators for dust inhalation), but this is not to say that you should not use any of them in your own woodworking.

For more, check out more of Pallet Craft! The safe, recycling solution.

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

2 comments so far

View bridgeton's profile


14 posts in 2650 days

#1 posted 08-04-2012 04:22 AM

My family has been in the pallet business for years. The main problem with using pallets for projects is not if they are treated but what was shipped on them, but not every pallet had hazardous waste on them. A good rule of thumb is to look at the size of the pallet its not 100% but it’s a start. A 36” x 36” pallet is used for soda, A 48” x 48” pallet is used for concrete blocks and cement the 40” x 48” pallets are the standard and are used for everything you should give them a good look before using them most are OK but better to be save then sorry.

P.S. I make all of my projects with pallet wood

-- bridgeton

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 2627 days

#2 posted 08-08-2012 01:42 PM

This is a great point. And this is why I try to catch newer pallets that have had shipments from hardware stores on them.

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

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