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Oak pallets?

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Jun 19, 2013, 11:41 AM
GardenSprite
Oak pallets?
A friend of mine was telling me that her woodworking husband has been collecting oak pallets to use in his projects. She said he's never had to sand any of them.

The only pallets I've seen are of junk wood, rough and requiring too much work to be useable.

Does anyone have any idea what locations would be good to search for oak pallets? What kind of transit would require such high quality pallets?
Jun 19, 2013, 01:22 PM
nona
Sprite,unless your project is small and not needing a good finish, forget pallets. I don't believe that there is such a thing as a high quality pallet because of what they are used for. which is to make handling of goods easier, and usually by fork-lift. Does it make good sense to use good quality wood to only be used to abuse ?
Also, most pallets today secure the slats with ribbed nails which are almost impossible to remove
On the other hand, I have been able to salvage wood from pallets for small projects that don't require pulling nails, occasionally finding a slat or two that has a good grain structure
Sometimes, you might find a pallet of some kind of exotic wood supporting a device, such as a stationary tool, made of a wood that is desirable and is common overseas and used for pallets, but this is rare
You might also find a pallet with wood, either foreign or domestic, that has been used to carry highly toxic material that might have spilled or leaked, or the wood itself might be an irritant. When you saw it, you stand a good chance of inhaling the dust
My advice is to forget the pallets unless you really know your woods and are certain of its previous uses. Wood is cheaper to buy than doctor bills
There is a story that when Henry Ford started mass producing cars, whenever he needed a material shipped in, he required the part or material to be packed in a certain container made of the wood he designated. When the box was disassembled, he used the wood for running board and bumpers, but don't count on being that lucky

This message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
Jun 19, 2013, 02:48 PM
CommonwealthSparky
Oak pallets were and are still quite popular in the freight and transportation industries, mainly because of oaks strength. As I recall from my millwork distribution days, that is.
And when you think about it left over "scrap" pieces of average quality would be the main source of those pallets. Better grade oak stock would find a home in other areas. And as most pallets being a somewhat uniform size say 48" X 48" they could be assembled from stock left over from other operations.
And one final note, working with oak can be a real treat without pre-drilling as you would notice rather quickly. But you can not beat the beauty of oak. Well, chestnut [if you can find it], cherry and black walnut do come to mind as well. Big Grin

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jun 20, 2013, 12:15 PM
nona
presently, both oak and pine are used equally in the manufacture of pallets, rarely , very rarely cherry and walnut. and always , regardless of what wood is used , it is wood rejected for other purposes. Occasionally you might find a usable piece of a slat, but not to often. Sometimes you may even get a surprise when sawing pallet wood, such as a nail or spike embedded in the wood. That could be a REAL surprise. I once found a bullet embedded in a slat, fortunately , I was using a bandsaw, so the damage wasn't too costly
Jun 20, 2013, 01:27 PM
GardenSprite
Nona and CommonwealthSparky,

Point well taken in that the use of pallets isn't for high quality purposes, so it isn't ever going to be high quality wood.

My experience has also been that there's very little usable wood, but the thought of free oak was tempting and worth exploring.

I've also had to pull nails out of pallets. Never found a bullet though! I can't even imagine how it got there, whether the pallet was used for target practice, or some nefarious purpose.

(On an unrelated issue, my father once found an arrowhead in a beef roast. He took it back to the grocery store and got a refund. We never did figure out who was shooting arrows at that poor cow.)

The real issue that unsettles me though is the possibility of pallets having been used for toxic waste hauling. Given the level of contamination in some Chinese consumer products and that country's growing toxic waste problem as well as the fact that so much of its manufactured products are destined for US consumers, this to me would be a big risk.

That in itself is the biggest reason to avoid the pallets. I don't know that there's any real way to tell what the previous use was without standing around and watching them being unloaded, which isn't realistic or practical.

I had planned to use the slats for shallow depth book shelving, so the pallet size would have been just about right for that use. But I'm thinking strips assembled from several pieces of stock wood wouldn't be as strong, so that might not have been a good use.

I've never worked with oak other than to assemble furniture kits, but I think I'd be better off buying what I need and spending less time looking for hidden nails (or bullets Big Grin ).

On the issue of other woods, I did have a nice cherry tree that I planned to use for furniture but some worms got to it first. My father grows black walnut trees and has a good crop. (We like to DIY our wood from the ground up!)

Sadly, the local utility took down some of the walnut crop when it cleared the secondary lines. But there are still several good walnut trees left.

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to respond.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jun 20, 2013, 02:52 PM
nona
I neglected to say that I found out that the pallet that had a bullet in it was used as a backdrop for Jimmy Hoffa
Jun 20, 2013, 02:53 PM
CommonwealthSparky
Sorry, I did not mean to imply that pallets were made of walnut and cherry. Just that they are fine woods to work with. My mistake if that was implied. Still wish I could get my paws on American chestnut though.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jun 20, 2013, 04:58 PM
GardenSprite
Nona,

Well, at last a clue as to the mystery of Hoffa's final resting place here on earth. I trust you saved the bullet and pallet and gave them to the Feds so they can backtrace for clues?

Maybe now his body can be found and all the time spent digging up fields can be put to better use.


CommonwealthSparky,

No apologies necessary. I took your comment to be a general one on the desirability of woods rather than that walnut and cherry might be used for pallets.

I'll check in my father's garage for any chestnut he might have found. Smile
I know there's a large diameter walnut log he picked up someplace.

In case you haven't guessed, we're both scavengers. Big Grin
Jun 22, 2013, 07:35 AM
CommonwealthSparky
I sold two large pallets of locally grown Black Cherry years ago. It was sticked and air drying. Wonder what I was thinking, maybe I bumped my head.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jun 22, 2013, 08:31 AM
GardenSprite
quote:
Originally posted by CommonwealthSparky:
I sold two large pallets of locally grown Black Cherry years ago. It was sticked and air drying. Wonder what I was thinking, maybe I bumped my head.


It's sometime strange what we've done in earlier phases of our life that we later regret, isn't it?
Jul 08, 2013, 03:57 AM
EchoLin
quote:
Originally posted by GardenSprite:
A friend of mine was telling me that her woodworking husband has been collecting oak pallets to use in his projects. She said he's never had to sand any of them.

The only pallets I've seen are of junk wood, rough and requiring too much work to be useable.



Does anyone have any idea what locations would be good to search for oak pallets? What kind of transit would require such high quality pallets?


i think pinterest is a good place to research patterns like that, you can have a try.
Jul 08, 2013, 09:09 AM
GardenSprite
quote:
Originally posted by EchoLin:

i think pinterest is a good place to research patterns like that, you can have a try.


Dear EchoLin:

It may have come to your attention that despite your repeated posts with embedded links, you have gotten very little if any response to the majority of your posts.

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You’re wasting your time and have created a chilling effect on the Crafts sections, which used to be much more active prior to the beginning of your ongoing spamming.

Those posts of others which you do answer reflect your lack of understanding of the basic issues. Your so-called answers are worthless and aren’t even close to being on point.

In short, you are wasting your time, as is your alter ego SandyLee123. So use your time more effectively and stop posting - no one is interested.

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This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jul 11, 2013, 07:07 AM
Frodo
if you have a planer machine. oak pallets can be salvaged for small wood projects.
oak that is beat up and scared. actually brings in a pretty good penny. to the right client.
not all pallets are junk. i was shipped large air handlers AND BOILERS THAT SAT ON oak 4x4 [ sorry button stuck] 1 shipment was 8- 4x4 8' long. thats enough to make a oak table top, destresed, antic looking, planed out and sanded, that top easy 800 bucks...


https://www.youtube.com/*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E
Jul 11, 2013, 11:53 AM
GardenSprite
I think my father does have a planer somewhere in his tool shed. Now all I have to do to get some good pallets is order some large air handlers and boilers! Big Grin
Jul 12, 2013, 12:38 AM
Frodo
believe it or not. truckers are always looking for a place to dump off old pallets and dunnage. it gets left on there truck. they dont want it. in the way


https://www.youtube.com/*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E
Jul 13, 2013, 07:42 AM
CommonwealthSparky
quote:
Originally posted by Frodo:
believe it or not. truckers are always looking for a place to dump off old pallets and dunnage. it gets left on there truck. they dont want it. in the way

True. My 18 years of part time millwork/warehousing back in the day I saw that on a weekly basis. We would tell the drivers yea throw them on the junk stack. Most deliveries we had over time were from the same trucking companies and same drivers. A good company guy remembers that and you could build a better working relationship one on one. Plus a mulch company near by would haul out the scrap pallets to recycle free of charge as well.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jul 13, 2013, 08:02 AM
GardenSprite
So would a lumber company (a real lumber company) be the best place to go to get potentially good pallets that could be planed and used?
Jul 14, 2013, 05:25 PM
CommonwealthSparky
Yep. While you may not find the best of the bunch I'm willing to bet that you have first shot at broken pallets sitting around taking up space.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jul 14, 2013, 08:19 PM
GardenSprite
quote:
Originally posted by CommonwealthSparky:
Yep. While you may not find the best of the bunch I'm willing to bet that you have first shot at broken pallets sitting around taking up space.


As long as I don't get arrested for stealing pallets Big Grin.
Jul 15, 2013, 09:54 AM
CommonwealthSparky
Suppose so. Cool
A nearby masonary contractor has been for years deleting his unwanted pallets in a timely fashion. He stacks unusable wood products outside his fenced in stock yard. The "free" sign, cardboard and Sharpie printed, blew away years ago. But he never seems to have a problem reducing his waste as far as I can tell. Plus wood finds a second life whether it be a craft or a wintertime fuel. And less goes to the landfill.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...