How to Prepare Pallets for DIY Projects

We all know that pallets can be used to ship goods. They are practical and efficient for transport but what about the used units? Before you decide to throw away perfectly good pallets, consider reusing them in creative projects.

You may be surprised how many impressive things you can build with old pallets. However, before starting any project you should remember that some used pallets can be dangerous. Be aware of any chemical spills or bizarre stains visible on the surface.

To stay on the safe side go for natural, unpainted wood that hasn’t been exposed to any toxic treatments or materials.

Select and Test

Some pallets might be more suitable for projects around the house than others. Start by finding a place you can trust to provide you with safe pallets. You can also follow these tips:

Avoid pallets that were used to ship food or other perishable products. The residual bacteria may not be visible but there is a chance it is still there.
Make sure the pallet is not mouldy or rotten.
Look for any stamps or marks that explain the origin of the pallet and what it was used for. Also, remember to look for any codes indicating chemical treatments it may have been subjected to.

Keep in mind that the pallet you choose may end up as a coffee table or bed support in your house, and take your time to select one you can be sure is safe for you and your family.

Break It Down

When you find a perfect piece, you can start disassembling it into smaller pieces, being extra careful not to damage the surface of the wood.

Make a list of all the tools you might need and wear your protective clothing and equipment. There are many techniques to break down pallets but you should choose one that matches your skill level. If you need help, ask a friend or a family member for assistance.

Start with loosening the nails and carefully removing them. If you want to keep it simple use a hammer and a crowbar to slowly remove the boards. If you feel confident operating power tools you can use a jigsaw for more precise cuts.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Once your pallets are disassembled it will be time to remove all dirt and undetectable substances from the surface. Prepare a full bucket of water and a non-soap detergent and clean the wood with a scrub sponge. Remember to wear your safety gloves to protect your hands from splinters.

Once the wood is dry you can start sanding it to level the surface and smooth rough edges. Always remember to wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling sawdust. As a final touch, apply some beeswax for better preservation or use wood stain to achieve your desired colour.

Use these simple steps to prepare wooden pallets to create a new piece of furniture or other useful or decorative item. Recycling pallets is a great way to save money and utilise materials that would otherwise be wasted.