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What You Need to Know When Working with Pallets

I can not hide it. And I’m not ashamed. I love pallets. 

If you walked into our very…rustic (that’s a good word for a dilapidated farm-house, right?) … house, your eyes would first see the built-in cabinet made with pallets and old barn wood. It has been a great addition in helping the chaos of our affectionately named “dog porch”. 

And when you climb the stairs and enter the kitchen, your eyes will fall upon the fridge, oh, and the cabinets built to fit the area next to the fridge

And soon, I will have redone all my kitchen cabinet doors to match, and I have an exciting plan for my desk that will also be a window seat area that will keep contained our future home schooling and business items. 

See? You can’t just stop with one! 🙂

But there are a few things to know when working with pallets before you dive in. 

Pallets | Building with Pallets | DIY Pallet Projects | Old Wood | There are at least 5 things you need to think about when you are working with pallets. They are a great tool: when used properly they're even more brilliant!

  • Pallets by nature are rustic… that’s such a good word to use for somewhat dilapidated things, isn’t it? This means that pallets will be:
    • Rough cut
    • Quite likely crooked
    • And probably not square
    • Possibly broken
    • And filled with a lot of charm!
  • A huge pile of pallets is a small pile of boards. This means that:
    • You will need a huge, HUGE pile of pallets to get any amount of projects done.
    • You will drool when a semi-load of pallets drives by…Just ask, I know from experience. 
  • There are pallets made from hardwood and softwood. This means that pallets will be:
    • Either really, really hard wood or really, really soft wood in my experience. All of which changes how you will handle the wood. 
    • I have found that the hard wood pallets are much harder to take apart. You can see how I take my pallets apart and may note that I don’t cut the boards to disassemble them because I like to use every last stitch that I can. And to cut off the ends seems like such a lost waste of 6-12 inches. Most of the projects I’ve done require the longer boards anyways. 
    • For Christmas my husband gave me a nail gun (woohoo!). On my first projects in the porch and kitchen, I didn’t have the nail gun and so wish I had! I used screws to screw everything together and the softer the wood, the more likely the screw would sink deep into the wood very easily and sometimes too far, too easily. I mostly used soft wood and have noticed that they shrink as they dry more than the hard wood does (see below). 
  • Pallet wood has spent its entire life outside. This means that pallets should be:
    • Brought in and dried out by the wood stove (or something like that) if you plan on using the boards in an inside project. The pallet wood will “shrink” as it dries. If they aren’t dry when you nail or screw them in place, cracks already between each boards will quite possibly become larger.
    • Did you know? If you install a new door in your home, you should keep it closed most of the time because the wood shrinks and possibly will warp if left open. Keeping it closed until it dries ensures that it will remain a great fit for the frame of the door. The same is true for pallet wood. 
  • Most likely you will get continual resistance from your husband with your continual string of pallet ideas. This will mean…
    • It will be hard to hoard pallets because he just doesn’t understand the importance of a LARGE pile of pallets.
    • His eyes will glaze over when you tell him, in excitement, your next plans and a fight might ensue as he challenges you to finish the last project. (Where is that eye-rolling emoji when I need it?) 😉
    • But sometimes there will be a chink in the armor, and he will buy you a nail gun.

Pallets are quite possibly just like humans: every one unique, every one beautiful and each quite frustrating.

So I would suggest practicing your sweet, honey laced words and doing some sweet talking as you plan your next project and begin working with pallets. Keep an eye out for piles and start collecting them any way you can!

Pallet on!

Pallets | Building with Pallets | DIY Pallet Projects | Old Wood | There are at least 5 things you need to think about when you are working with pallets. They are a great tool: when used properly they're even more brilliant!

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