Finally here’s the long promised guide to working with pallets! ( Updated April 2, 2017 )
This article will be updated often as I am learning something new about working with pallets through each new project. I want to share the questions I had when first started working with pallets, as well as readers’ FAQs. If you have any questions or want to share resources, please feel free to let me know through the comments!
Pallets are so versatile and so full of character!
You can start with making something as small and simple as these crates, which are inspired by vintage farm orchard crates, and decorated with an easy image transfer technique.
Or something ambitious, such as an entire makeover! We turned a rental patio into a tropical pallet outdoor room!
Pallet wood have such distinct beauty, and unique challenges when building with them, so let’s begin!
( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
1. Where can I find free pallets?
Make sure you have a pair of thick work gloves handy when picking up pallets to avoid lots of splinters !
Before my first pallet project, I would DROOL over every pallet project on Pinterest, and wonder about the same question!
Then I realized they are everywhere, especially the places I visit often for my design work!
These are also the most clean places, which means no toxic spills on the pallets – tile and stone showrooms, masonry supply stores – places that sell boulders, rocks, pavers etc, and wood and carpet flooring stores. I also see them behind wine shops and grocery stores.
Garden nurseries, especially wholesale nurseries, often have pallets too. Just make sure they look clean and have no signs of sprays!
When you see a stack of pallets outside these places, just ask nicely whether they plan to reuse them or just discard them. And the answer I get every time is ” You want them? They are all yours!” Yay! Not so hard, right?
2. What to look for when selecting pallets?
Not all pallets are made equal. First thing to look for is the HT stamp, which means the pallets are heat treated vs chemical treated. So far all the pallets I have seen are HT pallets. They seem to be the majority which is nice.
Next, look closely at the boards – are they cracked, or warped? If yes, they would be very challenging to work with, so don’t waste all that time and sweat dragging it home and taking it apart, move on!
Also pay attention and check if anything has spilled on them. If it looks contaminated, move on!!
3. What’s the best way to take apart a pallet?
There are many articles and videos on different ways to disassemble a pallet.
Our favorite method is with this tool – a Duckbill Deck Wrecker we got on Amazon . If you plan to do a lot of pallet projects, then it’s worth considering. It will pay for itself in no time.
This tool lifts those boards easily, and you can take out the nails with a hammer. It is 20 times quicker than any other methods. The wood won’t split as much so you get better boards. We absolutely LOVE this tool.
There are three other popular methods to take apart a pallet, and a few very important things to consider! Continue to next page –