I thought I’d talk about one of my all time passions. And that’s
Creating with pallet wood
Here are some tips and safety information you should be armed with before carrying pallet wood home for your own DIY projects.
I am fortunate to work at a firetruck manufacturer that always has stacks of pallet wood on hand.
Many of the pallets have been built for the very purpose of shipping the firetruck cartons because of their odd size. Which means alot of the wood is in new condition and has been only used for this shipment.
While that’s no guarantee that the wood is chemically or bacterial safe, it’s far safer knowing it wasn’t carrying pesticides or the like!
Pallet crates have to be ripped open to retrieve the contents so I come across a lot of loose boards.
But no fear. Even if you don’t land loose boards, remember you can always saw the boards off the whole pallet if you can work with shorter pieces.
But you WILL have to endure removing some nails eventually. It’s possible, but be prepared to work VERY hard for that wood.
Newer regulations require pallet manufacturers in Canada and the US to treat the wood before shipping. This can be by chemicals or by heat.
The HT on the above board means it’s been heat treated, or kiln dried. This is the safer kind.
If the boards are unmarked, it may be safe but there’s also a strong chance it’s been chemically treated, which makes them dangerous.
- it smells
- looks oily
- is stained
- is extra heavy
- too many twisted nails (not worth it!)
- it looks suspect period
I’ve also been emailed with a story where someone got a nasty sliver which infected them to the point of requiring hospitalization. So, just be picky. Always wear gloves and choose wisely.
- wear gloves to avoid nail punctures and splinters
- wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding or sawing
- store it without the nails. (dangerous!) Pry them out ASAP.
Many places of business that utilize pallet wood actually recycle them. They may use them over again or they get picked up and reimbursed for their return. So before you help yourself to what you think may be free could also be viewed as theft. Ask for permission before helping yourself.
This post must come across like one of those new medication commercials. “Buy me because I’m awesome but you may die if you take me.” :) You will have no need to worry about using pallet wood if you simply heed the cautions and use it for appropriate projects.
If in doubt, pass on it and head to the lumber store instead. Spending a few bucks on new wood is far smarter than bringing contaminated wood home for free.
Thank you, Donna! I love your fabulous pallet wood creations and all of your helpful hints!
Donna does WAY more than just work with pallet wood! If you have never been to her blog before, you seriously need to drop by and check it out. She is a precious soul with beautiful heart, and her blog reflects that. Plus, she’s just plain ole stinkin’ cool!