Recycling wood palettes - Is it feasable ?

I have been thinking of recycling wood palettes lately for stock material. I suspect that there will be quite a bit of waste, and that I would have to be careful of nails, etc. Has anyone tried this and for what projects has it been used for.
TIA Jerry
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Waste is very high as the wood is the lowest grades. Much more splitting that you'd get with what you'd buy at a dealer. Some are OK, others are just not worth the effort to haul home.
I've used it for a variety of things, mostly smaller as you have to cut around stuff like nail holes and knots. It is often a higher moisture content so if it is new, let it age for a time. If you use a careful eye, you can get some good looking wood at the cost of labor. I've made a few boxes and trays. I'd not attempt a big table. Ed
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Thanks for all the suggestions, esp the one about the wood being treated to cross borders, I would of never thought of that.
Jerry

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Yes wood can be salvaged from pallets and some of it is very nice material. I built a large entertainment center for the owner of a pallet company. He furnished or bought the material and in exchange for my labor he keeps me supplied with wood. The pallets he makes are almost 100% made from used pallets. The pallets are disassembled by sawing them apart using large horizontal band saws. The stringers being full of sawed off nails/staples are of no use except to make another pallet. The slats will have sawed off nails at the ends and in the middle. The slats are typically 40 inches long. Two sticks about 17 inches long that are free of nail holes are the maximum you can obtain from each slat. Most of the hardwood slats are less than 3/4 inches thick and by the time they are cleaned up the stock less than 1/2 inch thick. However, occasionally palettes show up with 3/4 inch thick hardwood slats that after some work yield nice material. Besides the risk of running into nails/staples the wood is usually dirty and full of grit. I start with a metal detector and then run them through my big drum sander to remove the grit. It is only after you get a clean flat surface that you can tell what you have. If I had to start with whole pallets and dispose of the waste it just wouldn't be worth the trouble. Earl Creel

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Earl's situation is quite unique. For the casual woodworker and certainly the professional, using pallet or salvaged wood is not desirable. It takes just too much time(and effort) for these individuals to prepare the wood for use. For myself, I certainly can afford to buy premium grade wood but I only use used wood for somewhat metaphorical reasons. If I chose to do commission work, then I would probably use premium wood because pedestrian clients would not see the character in the salvaged wood that I find desirable and want the no-knot, straight -grain, no-flaw stuff.
Larry
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Lawrence L'Hote
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Lawrence L'Hote wrote:

Sounds like a drive by gloat to me... :)
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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Old stale gloat
When I was a kid, I grew up in the Orient. When we were getting ready to move back to the states, we had a lot of stuff that we were shipping, and my dad (a woodworker) called a packing company to pack all of our stuff. We were given two quotes - one for packing crates made out of rough cut teak - the other for the more sturdy and expensive option of plywood. I remember my dad's grin when he told them that the rough teak crates would do!
On Mon, 05 Jan 2004 13:13:15 -0500, Silvan

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JAW wrote:

How desperate are you for free wood? (If they're not free, forget it. They're definitely not worth buying.)
It's possible, but it sucks. I've never actually used pallet wood for anything. I never could get enough out of any of the pallets I've hacked up to make it worth the effort.
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If you do use recycled palette wood, you will probably want to either be extra careful with the dust (respirators all round) or be really sure the wood hasn't been treated with anything. I've heard of case where people have gotten poisoned working wood from palettes that got spray treated to kill bugs as they cross international borders.
Dave R.

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I have a virtually unlimited supply of pallets. The way I cut them up is to run a circular saw next to the stringers, salvaging the slat halves, avoiding the nails. It isn't wonderful wood but I have made bat houses and small boxes from them. I cut the stringers up for firewood. The bugs do get to these so I am assuming they aren't treated. I have found some shipping crates that have excellent wood in them.
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If you're lucky, some pallets (or packing crate) are made from interesting wood(s).
A friend of mine's dad was posted - and returned - from Vanuatu. They packaged his stuff in a crate and when it was delivered at his house, I was there and my jaw hit the ground. The packing crate was 4/4 New Guinea Rosewood. There were 5 nail holes every 24 inches (like dice) but in between was pure rosewood... The crate was 15 feet long, 6 feet high, and 6 feet wide...

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I have used quite a bit of pallet wood. Most has been some kind of south american pine used on pallets for copy paper (my work buys it by the full tractor load). This is mostly 3/4" thick and needed planed down some and had a nice pinkish heartwood. I have built a number of shop cabinets from this wood as well as a nice looking office filing cabinet/storage unit for my home office. Other pallets I have used had nicely figured woods (also of South American origin) which I have not tried to identify but look kinda mohoganyish. I have made a nice lathe chisel case, a large case for my router bits, shaper bits and molder blades, some drill bit boxes, etc. as well as an in/out box set for my daughter. Lastly, some pallets are made of plywood in approximately 4'x4' pieces. I have had a few (again from South America) with a nice looking veneer on them and have used these in some small stands and tables. I have also tried to use some more standard american pallets either made of pine (crappy wood not worth the effort) or oak & maple. The hardwood pallets provided a small amout of usable wood but was overall fairly useless and VERY hard to get apart - I no longer bother with them.
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We got a bunch of pallets in made of some version of Mahogany. Custom box for digital caliper, custom box for sharp stone, custom box . . . . . .
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

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I'm currently using white oak from a pallet as part of a wooden sword for a nephew*. I've also used boards from the same pallet for table legs. I've been wanting to try bending some oak and I suspect this will be my source of wood. The oak at HD is all kiln dried and this- from my reading- ruins it for bending. I suspect this stuff was air dried in transit.
*I'm using the oak for the hand guard with the tang of the blade passing through a mortise (got to have some where to learn how to use a chisel to make's). The blade is also scrap but pine with western cedar edge strips to cut down on the potential damage to siblings and furniture; planed by hand. I made him one for Christmas but it got laid out sans name-tag and his sister laid claim to that one; it has become and issue in the last couple of days that he wanted one too.
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