Uses for Leftover Wood Pallets

By Wade Shaddy

Wood pallets are everywhere. They are commonly used as a platform for shipping large items that need forklift access. When truckers or warehouse operators are finished with them, they are often discarded. They are rarely used again as a pallet and are often left to rot or sent to a landfill. But pallets can be recycled and reused for a variety of purposes.

Fence

Pallets utilize1-by-4 lumber nailed or stapled to 2-by-4 studs. They are solid and built to last. When placed together side by side, they can create a formidable barrier. For a rustic look, simply screw the pallets together with a cordless screw gun using 2-inch screws. For a more civilized look, dig holes and insert some 72-inch pressure-treated posts in them. Run pressure-treated 2-by-4's horizontally and then screw the pallets to the 2-by-4s. To make the fence look more consistent, trim the ends of the pallets off evenly.

Firewood Stacking

It's never a good idea to stack firewood directly on the ground. Dry firewood needs a barrier between it and the ground to prevent moisture penetration. Wet firewood needs airflow underneath to dry properly. Place four pallets side by side on the ground. Place four more beside the first row. This row of eight pallets should be plenty of room for a cord of wood. Having this measurement on the ground also helps to judge and measure a cord of wood, which is almost always an object of discrepancy.

Signs and Crafts

Pallets are built from rough-sawn fir, pine or poplar, woods that are perfect for rustic signs, crafts and western-style picture frames. Disassemble the pallets to get at the wood. This can sometimes be tricky, because staples are often used to build them. If you can't get the pallet apart, cut the wood from the pallet with a handsaw. You can use power equipment, but you run the risk of hitting debris, staples or nails. It's better to cut the runners from the pallet by hand. After you inspect the wood, cut it into 2-inch strips that you can glue together to make panels or use as-is in your woodworking projects.

Firewood

Pallets that are smashed by heavy loads or crunched by forklifts may be good for nothing more than firewood. Use a thin, 12- or 15-inch pry bar with a sharp notch on one end, a saw and a hammer to bash and cut them into pieces small enough to burn in your stove or fireplace.

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