Anyone else love pallets?

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Forum topic by HeavyD posted 12-31-2015 03:48 AM 1264 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2461 days

12-31-2015 03:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question pallet salvage

Free lumber is always great, and when it includes 2 or 3 years worth of free kindling, that’s even better. Anyone else grab up any pallets they can find?

Not sure what all of it is, a lot that looks like pine, but my favorite is the stuff with the orange grain swirls. I’ve used it before making cube in a cubes and finished with tung oil it looks great.

Most of the pieces that are in between being good enough to use, and bad enough to burn get used for shelves and things around the shop. The only thing that gets wasted is the nails. Anyone have any ideas on how to use them?

18 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7482 posts in 2712 days

#1 posted 12-31-2015 03:51 AM

I love pallets… and use them for all sorts of stuff from shop jigs, boxes, picture frames, etc… Have a stack of them sitting out in the barn at the moment waiting to be broken down. Mostly all oak around here, with the occasional odd ball exotic hardwood, but it’s all good stuff.

Oh – be prepared – the safety patrol will be along shortly to tell you how bad the stuff is. Never fails.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View conifur's profile


954 posts in 1664 days

#2 posted 12-31-2015 04:11 AM

Ones mans garbage is an other ones rose. Not my cup of tea, but what can I say?

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View BurlyBob's profile


6516 posts in 2778 days

#3 posted 12-31-2015 05:10 AM

Had a bad experience with some poplar pallet wood. I think it was treated with something that gave it a septic odor. It gave me a sinus infection. I’ve never been interested in pallet wood since.

View IAMike's profile


26 posts in 2000 days

#4 posted 12-31-2015 05:20 AM

If you can get them from food suppliers or the like, you’ll avoid any nastiness that you may get by reclaiming from an auto shop supplier, etc.

-- I'm thinking about starting a blog for my projects. It'll have to be called Woodworking By Dummies

View Mustang67's profile


111 posts in 2067 days

#5 posted 12-31-2015 05:30 AM

I love working with pallet wood, though it takes forever to take them apart and clean. All the below were made from pallets.

View HeavyD's profile


8 posts in 2461 days

#6 posted 12-31-2015 05:38 AM

I agree Mustang67, they can be tough to get apart but a Freud Demo blade in my Skill Saw helps a lot. As long as I don’t try to use it on anything that has been rebuilt with some heavy gauge nails I can cut up a couple of dozen pallets before the $18 blade is scrap. And also, my good friend the Fubar.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1912 days

#7 posted 12-31-2015 05:42 AM

I’ve nabbed plenty of pallets in my time. Once in a while I get a good board or 3. Most get chopped up for firewood. Before lighting a fire, I use a “magna-can”: A magnet (from a microwave magnetron) on a stick, in a veggie can. Gripping it by the stick, I run the can thru the ash, and it picks up any nails. When loaded, I grip the can over a bucket, and pull on the stick. The nails then drop into the bucket. Repeat until I no longer hear the “clickity click click click” of nails being picked up. The nails get recycled when I turn in other scrap. 4 cents/LB., or whatever the steel/iron market is when I turn them in. Same goes for nails (and staples, screws, etc.) removed via other means.

I usually use pallet wood for jigs and other single/limited use items, which usually get firewooded afterwards anyway.

View MrUnix's profile


7482 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 12-31-2015 05:45 AM

Yeah, those spiral nails are a bitch. Sometimes I’ll just cut the pallets up with a circular saw or reciprocating saw to avoid them completely, and other times when I want longer stock, I’ll break out my homemade pallet buster which makes it pretty easy:

Made from a section of chain link fence post and some scrap bed frame angle iron.

As for one mans garbage is anothers rose… way true. It’s amazing what you can find on the side of the road or at the trash dump.


PS: Those are some really nice tables you made from pallet wood Mustang!
PSS: If you search the site, you will find a lot of pallet wood projects that are really cool, as well as a lot of chatter regarding pallet wood in general.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View robscastle's profile


6362 posts in 2717 days

#9 posted 12-31-2015 06:47 AM

Anyone else love pallets?

Well check out the work David Dean does, and there are other LJ hat use it for various tasks.

Although its free you still need to be as fussy as if you were buying it, for various reasons,

Quantity and Condition: Hence the the amount of work that is required to repurpose it.
And you do not want to get 3/4 of the way through a project and find you have not got enough matching material to complete the job.

Contamination: As BurlyBob replied, again be very fussy too its a big issue if it has toxic contamination

Foreign Objects: A magnetic detector is a must and again it may be “free” but if it accidently totals a blade or tool that’s not now free.

-- Regards Rob

View bonesbr549's profile


1584 posts in 3580 days

#10 posted 12-31-2015 03:15 PM

Cool for free lumber, but dangerous. If you luck out and get the heat treated ones ok, but if you get some chemically treated (china) you could be screwed. As Clint would say “DO YOU FEEL LUCKY!”.

Not for me. People do make some great things.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View TravisH's profile


685 posts in 2448 days

#11 posted 12-31-2015 04:01 PM

Not my thing but I still look at the ones we get at work thinking I might find something besides oak and pine. I can buy both for cheaper than the time I would spend breaking it down. I figure eventually I will score something good.

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 2089 days

#12 posted 12-31-2015 04:14 PM

For the amount of hassle they are, and I can get most domestic kd lumber around $2bf, think I’ll just buy wood.

View wmgworks's profile


194 posts in 1498 days

#13 posted 12-31-2015 04:18 PM

Big fan of pallets. Agree that you have to watch where they come from though.

I wourk in a business park and I always find it funny the look I get when I ask someone if I can have the pallet they left out by their back door. “Really? You want… the pallet?”

As a beginner pallets are great to learn on for sure. Even if you don’t want to make finished products out of them (which I do) they are still great for shop jigs, mocking up a project and making practice cuts to ensure accuracy of tools.

-- Butchering wood since 2015

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2745 posts in 3435 days

#14 posted 01-01-2016 10:11 PM

I have, in the past, used hundreds of pallets. I used them to make the mistakes one makes when teaching oneself wood working. When I worked, I worked in a HVAC company and the pallets the sheet steel come on were 4×4s ten feet long . Each pallet had three ten footers and four, four footers. I brought home a dozen or so of these almost every week for a few years. The steel came from Japan so the wood in the pallets was not all fir or pine. Found a lot of appeltong, mahogany and some oak. My employer was glad to have me take it home so he did not have to dispose of it. You might consider finding a local sheet metal shop that does industrial work and ask them for their pallets.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1999 days

#15 posted 01-01-2016 10:19 PM

Check rail yards. Especially if they deal in pipe. Have one locally that only uses white oak and paid a company to pick up what what was left if no one wanted it. Gorgeous stuff. A lot of spalting.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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