Old Pallets and Creative Ideas

by Kent Griswold on December 28th, 2011. 19 Comments
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Just a quick post this morning, I’m needing a little break today…

If you think old wood pallets are garbage, think again.

The Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association has launched a campaign to encourage people to recycle and reuse wood packaging material.

Visit their website: CanadianPallets.com

December 28th, 2011and filed in Tiny House Video
Tags: ideas, old, pallets, wood pallets
19 Comments

19 Responses to “Old Pallets and Creative Ideas”

  1. Alba Conte says:

    I had always heard that pallets were treated and thus not appropriate for construction or burning, but I found that methyl bromide, the substance used to fumigate them in the past, is being phased out and heat treatments used instead. Heat-treated ones will have the stamp HT on them.

    • Irene says:

      Thanks so much for pointing this out. I work at a drug company, and a few years ago we had to recall huge amounts of a drug that had been shipped in boxes on wooden pallets (evidently for pharma products, plastic pallets are typically used). Although in sealed bottles, all the drugs smelled like pesticide from being shipped in wooden pallets. Wooden pallets are treated with chemicals, which is why drugs are shipped on plastic pallets. Despite the low cost of wood pallets, please consider what living in, sitting on, or eating off chemically treated product like this could subject you and your family to. Please do research on the safety of this wood before undertaking something as is shown. Thanks.

  2. alice h says:

    The best pallets and crating I ever saw came with some heavy machinery for a hydro power project in Whitehorse. Major pieces of hardwood, even usable lengths of heavy beams. We also had a bunch of snowmobile crating from a few years back,it was mahogany and we made my younger son’s crib out of it. Lots of good ideas in the video.

  3. Jean says:

    argh! This didn’t leave links for me to explore as to how to make any of these!!! I’ve been exploring using pallets for variety of stuffs… and this video gave me new ideas! :-)

    • Maija says:

      I agree… the Canadian Pallet site has nothing aside from that speedy video. They’d do a better service by adding pictures and/or instructions on top of that wonderful (but fast!) video.

  4. David Reed says:

    If you want realistic uses of pallet come visit my site – http://texasnaturalbuilders.info/gallery/Pine-Ridge-Pallet

  5. Cora says:

    30 plus years ago, we used pallets to build our dining table. It has four different wood legs and it is still in use today.

  6. Deek says:

    Good post…

    I’m defintely a pallet wood fan- My Gypsy Junker Cabin was built with a TON of pallet wood- the walls, some of the framing, some of the base….

    here’s the video…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmR3kx660gw

  7. brianna says:

    I helped build a theatrical set out of old pallets a few years ago. They were falling apart, and smelly both from extensive chemical treatment and the beginnings of rot in some places – not something I’d want to eat off of or live in. Cutting them was especially unpleasant. Is my experience atypical, or does it take a lot of work to find pallets that are still in good condition/not pumped full of chemicals, but not being used as pallets anymore?
    (Its possible the designer picked the grossest ones he could find, for the aesthetic, but also that that was all we could get)

  8. et says:

    Time to ask the Canadian Wood Pallet & Container Association to petition for changes to building code!

  9. I guess one is limited only by ones imagination. Those are really cool ideas for using shipping palettes.

  10. Christina says:

    Some of these projects blow my mind. I love using salvaged items to build new things since you are forced to work with what you have, which leaves room for a lot more creativity.

  11. [...] This video on uses for wood pallets keeps popping up despite repeated efforts to educate DIY’ers on the dangers of wood pallets. Wood pallets routinely contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and toxic chemicals. When they aren’t treated with toxic chemicals they are usually infested with mold, fungus or insect pests. You can’t effectively clean wood pallets because anything that is on them seeps deep into the grain of the wood. [...]

  12. Jason Greene says:

    This video on uses for wood pallets keeps popping up despite repeated efforts to educate DIY’ers on the dangers of wood pallets. Wood pallets routinely contain formaldehyde, a carcinogen, and toxic chemicals. When they aren’t treated with toxic chemicals they are usually infested with mold, fungus or insect pests. You can’t effectively clean wood pallets because anything that is on them seeps deep into the grain of the wood.

    But, don’t take my word for it. A couple of other knowledgeable folks, Irene and Brianna, have posted the same cautions about wood pallets on this link. Wood pallets do not belong in your home.

    • Irene says:

      Jason, thanks for the warning to readers. I did not know about the chemicals in pallets until our company had to recall the drug (a prescription product, this is not the OTC consumer drug that also got contaminated by pallets a few years ago). The pharmacists at our company were discussing the problem at a meeting. It was news to me, and I did some further reading. At the time I was collecting pallets because I was going to use 6 or 8 of them to make a small “deck” for our yard. I ended up discarding them. The wood is not safe for burning, either, because of the toxic chemicals that are emitted from the wood. If as a kid you worked at fast food or ever see bags of hot dog buns or other baked good stacked in a grocery store after shipping, they are on plastic pallets. This is why. The wood is not safe for food. I don’t think the average consumer knows how unsafe they are. I didn’t before our staff meeting talking about the recalled drug.

  13. Peg says:

    The project ideas are great – just do not make them out of formaldehyde treated pallet wood.

    • Irene says:

      Also methyl bromide. The only wood anyone should consider is heat treated, and that wood is clearly marked “HT” on the pallets, as someone mentioned above. Anything else is a potential safety hazard.

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