When we were kids, we were always on the hunt for wood.
We had bike jumps and skateboard ramps to build.
We also had clubhouses, forts, and a zillion other structures to build.
We scoured new home sites, junkyards, and neighbor’s backyards.
Sometimes we hit the jackpot; other times we went bust.
But I do remember that whenever we found pallets it was like Christmas morning.
Wood pallets were good for everything. They were durable, which meant our forts, jumps, and ramps were nearly indestructible.
They were also made out of wood, which means they had a ton of different uses, like kindling and fuel for bonfires
Fast-forward a few decades and most of our searches for lumber happen at the hardware store.
Sometimes the task at hand requires a precise type of wood, specially cured and cut. For these jobs it’s hard to rely on pallets. However, there are many great projects for which pallets are the perfect resource.
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of using pallets for a wide range of projects.
The chances your project needs pallets in their original design is probably remote.
This means you’re going to have to break them down into their component parts, namely strong side boards and thinner planks.
No matter how you choose to break them down, you’re going to have to use some elbow grease.
Using a pry-bar or claw hammer is an excellent method. Not only do you stand the best chance of preserving each piece of wood in usable form, but they’re familiar tools.
You could have a stack of pallets disassembled in rather short order because there is very little that can go wrong with these manual tools.
Your body will also benefit from the workout which includes strengthening your arm and back muscles. Your heart and lungs will also benefit from the cardio workout, and that’s just plain good exercise by any standard.
A friend recently did this exact exercise, on literally hundreds of pallets.
Her goal in breaking down the pallets included the physical component. Her task each day included breaking down however many pallets should could in one hour.
She kept a good pace and to see her several weeks later is to know she definitely benefitted from the vigorous work.
Her overall objective was to build a fence around her backyard. Not only did she have enough lumber for the project, she got the pallets for free, although it did take her some time to collect them all.
She spent several weeks on the project, and today has a great backyard fence to contain her dogs, is in considerably better shape than she was a few months ago, and largely has her pocketbook intact because she saw the value in using a product she could get for free.
One of the greatest advantages of using wood pallets for various projects is the very fact you’re re-using a product.
Every time a pallet is deconstructed and used for something different, fresh pieces of lumber do not need to be created at the mills.
Recycling and reusing these types of resources is just the right way to live, particularly if you concern yourself with helping preserve our natural, limited resources.
If you get really good at tearing these guys a part you can even reuse the nails!
When you make something by hand, it’s automatically better on some levels. The satisfaction of a job well done cannot be matched by any purchase, no matter how deeply discounted.
Another friend is currently in the middle of building a new mailbox out of wood pallets.
Not only did he acquire the materials for free, he’s developed an excellent plan that will result in a sturdy, attractive product he can proudly claim ownership over, start to finish.
His mailbox project, like my other friend’s fence project, is another excellent example of how products can be deconstructed and re-used in an entirely and unexpected fashion.
The exercise and increased strength through physical exertion is legit, the recycling and re-use of natural resources is, without question, a smarter use of their money and these materials, and the satisfaction of creating something new out of something old is just better because it’s the fruits of their labor.
What can you build from unused, tossed-aside pallets? Start thinking about all the different things you can create out of the planks and boards they offer, and before too long you’ll be as engaged in your weekend projects as my friends have been in theirs.
Here is a step-by-step guide for a DIY at home way of making an end table from pallets.
At Cabletv.com we were discussing how we could make desks from reclaiming pallets. If you have any ideas or suggests please tweet them to me. @TimLCooley
- Stand ‘n Plant (myhomelifemag.wordpress.com)
- For the Love of Pallets – DIY furniture (romeosmuse.wordpress.com)
- Recycled Wood Pallet Art (blogher.com)