How to Make Wood Pallets

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Wood pallets help you keep things organized and orderly when storing or transferring large quantities of material. They keep stock elevated from ground moisture and serve as a stable base for stacking goods. A standard 40 by 48 inch pallet has cutouts on the sides that allow the prongs of a forklift or pallet jack to slide underneath for easy hoisting. By following the steps outlined here, you can build your own sturdy, reusable wood pallet.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood lumber stock:
  • (8) 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch boards
  • (4) 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch boards
  • (3) 3-1/2 by 48 by 1-3/8 inch Boards
  • Nails: 2-1/4 inch helically threaded or twisted shank
Wooden pallets are often made from oak, fir, spruce or birch.
Wooden pallets are often made from oak, fir, spruce or birch. (Image: Damien Scogin/Demand Media)

Step 1

Fashion the "stringers," which are the three 3-1/2 by 48 by 1-3/8 inch supports that run the length of the pallet. Cut out two forklift notches from each stringer, starting 6 inches in from the ends. Cut out a section 9 inches long with rounded corners. Cut the round corner at a radius of 3/4 inches.

(Image: Damien Scogin/Demand Media)

Step 2

Assemble the bottom deck of the forklift by nailing two 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, mounting one flush with each end of the two outside stringers. Nail the third stringer parallel to the others in the middle. Use nine nails per 5-1/2 inch crosspiece, three at each joining. Then fasten three 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, one in the center of the stringers and the other two just to the inside of the forklift notches. Use six nails per each 3-1/2 inch crosspiece, two at each joining.

(Image: Damien Scogin/Demand Media)

Step 3

Turn the pallet assembly over and fasten the boards of the top deck. Nail two 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch cross boards, one flush with each end of the stringers. Use nine nails per 5-1/2 inch crosspiece, three at each joining. Then fasten five 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, one in the center of the stringers and the other four evenly spaced between the middle crosspiece and the end crosspieces. Use six nails per each 3-1/2 inch crosspiece, two at each joining. With a rough sanding of the top deck, your durable homemade pallet is ready for use.

(Image: Damien Scogin/Demand Media)

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