Monday, September 17, 2012

Building With Pallets

Building With Pallets

Pallets are a great source of building material for a wide variety of projects.  They are commonly used for building fences, sheds, lawn chairs and almost anything else that scrap or re-purposed wood is good for.  In earlier posts I have highlighted some different projects that I and others have done but I thought for today a look at how choosing the right pallet can impact the finished project.

How To Re-Purpose Old Shipping Pallets

Recycling pallets by re-purposing them into useful and decorative items is a growing trend.  In fact, some have begun to call it a folk or even a folk-art movement.  Folk Art is defined as a art created by local or indigenous peoples, often the working class, from items readily available to them.  Folk Art is most often utilitarian and decorative unlike true art which is created for the purpose of its beauty alone.  Even though all pallets will need to be recycled at some point not all pallets are good for building material.  Some things to look out for when choosing a pallet include size, shape and condition.

  • Make sure any pallets you use for building projects are clean.  Pallets can pick up lots of different kinds of dirt and grime including grease, rotten food and rodent droppings.  Give your pallets a thorough inspection before taking them home. 
  • While you are checking out your pallets for dirt also look for loose or protruding nails and staples.  Pallets are hastily constructed and not built to exacting standards so it is common for nails and staples to be left sticking out.  A loose nail can ruin an entire day for you and bring a premature end to your pallet re-purposing plans. 
  • Condition is another factor that can influence your choice of pallet.  For smaller projects like birdhouses a broken or cracked board does not make a big difference.  However, for a table or pallet chair condition is everything.  The pallet must be whole, without cracks and pleasing to the eye in order to produce a truly great folk-art quality pallet chair. 
  • These pallets are all clean of debris and made from
    standard sized 2x4's and 1x material
  • Construction is different from condition.  Not all pallets are the same size, built the same way or made from the same size base stock.  Some pallets are a blend of wood, particle board and chip board held together with glue and screws.  Some pallets are made of undersized and flimsy boards, making them unsuitable for furniture or walls.  Be sure that the pallet you choose is attractive to look at and built out of "high quality" materials. 

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Please add your comments, pictures or ideas. Everything is welcome and any form of pallet projects or ideas can be showcased.