Most wooden pallets are a ideal for recycling into different projects. Finding wooden pallets can get tricky since some stores won't give up their pallets because they use a service that pays them for each pallet returned. However, other stores that receive large shipments use pallets and can become your unlimited supplier.
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Wooden pallets are a functional material for building and woodworking. It's possible to build sheds, play forts, chicken coops or even temporary housing using wooden pallets as a pre-fabricated building component. John McDonald of Summerville-NovaScotia.com built a pallet shed that has survived five Canadian winters and looks as good as the day he built it. Wooden pallets can be used whole or broken down in pieces.
Breaking down wooden pallets provides a stock of recycled lumber, which can then be used to make sturdy furniture that will stand the test of time such as bookshelves, cribs, desks and tables. Tom Riley of Charm.net built a computer desk with only $39 worth of materials, which included all wood, glue and hardware. Kirk of KJWoodworking.com found himself short on funds when his son was on the way. He found a crib design he liked in a catalog and built a replica using wood from pallets. He used the crib through two babies and part of it is now the headboard of his son's bed. Using pallets to build furniture allows you to reuse them over and over again.
Recycled pallets can make a cost-effective fence for your yard. From a small enclosure for the dogs to a complete barricade, wooden pallets make a perfect pre-fabricated fence material. Use rebar or steel angle iron driven into the ground to support the fence sections. These cheap but effective materials allow for convenient replacement if sections deteriorate over time.
Show your commitment to recycling by building your compost bin from recycled materials. Wooden pallets work so well as a compost bin, it's almost like they were made for the job. Screw or wire together four pallets to form a box. The bin is instantly ready for compost. If you produce a lot of compost, make a three-bin system using 10 pallets.
The rustic appearance and feel of wooden pallets appeal to artists. Use wooden pallets as a canvas, sculpture material or even to build a guitar. Give your whimsical art pieces added personality by the use of recycled pallet wood.
Things to Remember
Wooden pallets are sometimes chemically treated to prevent rotting. If the pallets you are working with have a green or brown tint to the wood, do not use them. Dust from sawing or sanding these pallets is hazardous.
Removing pallet nails isn't an easy task as these nails were engineered to never pull out. Use a drill with bits designed for metal to drill through the head of the nail.
Don't directly strike your pallet wood with a hammer but use some scrap wood blocks instead. Pallet wood will break and split easily.
Use your cheap blades and tools when working with pallets. The wood is rough, embedded with objects hard enough to break your tools.