Used, discarded, wooden pallets are awesome. Seriously.
Pallet wood is free or very cheap when new wood is pricey and “reclaimed” wood is sometimes even more expensive than new wood. They come in many sizes and wood species, although the most common are pine and oak. And best of all, they are loaded with character.
Where to Find Pallets
Also called skids, pallets are everywhere. Businesses receive large deliveries on pallets and then have nowhere to put them but in the trash. Since most waste removal trucks won’t touch them, pallets frequently stack up in the back of stores and restaurants. Either you and I take them or the business will call a service to haul them away.
If you don’t know for certain that a business wants people to take their used pallets away, you simply ask them first. You shouldn’t mess around where you don’t belong. That’s just asking for trouble.
If you’re nervous about talking to people, do a search on Craigslist for free pallets. Chances are that someone needs to get rid of old pallets right now within 10 miles of your house. Show up, take them away, and you won’t have to ask permission first.
If you’re lucky, like me, you might even live near a pallet re-manufacturing company. Not two miles from my house is a large depot where used pallets are dropped off and rebuilt into new, stronger pallets. Some people even make money selling used pallets to places like that, but I just sift through their discarded piles and take home the ones they don’t want.
You can’t imagine how many things people have made from pallet wood. Go to Pinterest and search for pallet projects. You will be amazed. It’s kind of ridiculous.
A few things on my short list to make with pallet wood are picture frames, serving trays, and candle holders. I’ve made them before for gifts and use in my own home. Now I’d like to improve my techniques and see if I can make a buck selling on Etsy.
Set for Winter
Thanks to my wife’s keen eye, we caught the largest stack of pallets we’d ever seen at my local pallet spot last week. I grabbed five and then headed back later with my neighbor for two trips of 10 pallets each. With 25 pallets in my driveway, I prepped for a massive undertaking to break them all down.
At last count I have 200 pieces of pallet board, a bunch of thicker stringer boards (like 2x4s), and nine pallets left to break down. Unless I start selling pallet projects like hot-cakes I will undoubtedly have plenty of pallet wood for a winter’s worth of woodworking.
What would you make with pallets? What have you already made? Let me know in the comments.