PALLETS, pallets and more pallets

File:Crowbar (PSF).jpg

There is a pandemic sweeping the world and infecting women (and some men) to take intense interest in anything to do with Pallets… and I think it’s madness.

This is a post especially for you pallet obsessed creatures out there. First off I will start with a negative – SAFETY FIRST. You may think your saving the world, practising the ‘natural living’ mantra and being eco friendly by making your child’s bed frame or cot out of pallet wood – You’re NOT – it’s not a good idea….. and I am not talking about pesky splinters….. read on.

wood pallet reuse

Here’s some interesting bits taken as an Excerpt from Wikipedia article on ‘Pallets’; listing alternative uses for pallets

….pay heed to the toxin mentions….

Discarded wooden pallets should not be used for firewood or crafts unless it has been determined that the wood in these pallets has not been treated with wood preservatives, fungicides and/or pesticides. Various pyrethrins and propiconazole are common treatments for wooden pallets. In addition, imported palletized goods are routinely fumigated with highly toxic pesticides. During use, harmful materials or chemicals also may spill on the pallet wood and be absorbed…….

…….Items made from pallet wood are likely to be durable and demonstrate good weather resistance due to these treatments. However, close contact with pallet wood or inhalation of dusts from sanding or sawing can be a source of exposure to pesticide and fungicide chemicals. It is likely that the January, 2010 recall of Johnson and Johnson Tylenol[TM] and other drugs was due to their being stored on wooden pallets that had been treated with the fungicide/pesticide 2,4,6-tribromophenol. This chemical can be degraded by molds to produce 2,4,6-tribromoanisole whose strong, musty odor caused consumers to complain.[23] There is no acute or chronic health data on 2,4,6-tribromoanisole,[24] but it is believed that the contaminated drugs caused nausea and other health effects in some people.

Wiki Footnotes

  • 23} Chemical & Engineering News, January 25, 2010, p. 18
  • 24} Sigma Aldrich, MSDS, 2009

Moral of the story is take care when working with found timber especially if there is the slightest possibility that it may be treated with some nasty chemicals………..

Right, now that all that doom and gloom is out of the way, I am still a fan of Pallet creations – sensible ones. There is a lot of talented people out there doing some crazy and wonderful things with pallet wood, but if you’re not cool with the chemicals (I am reluctant to make anything that is deemed bad for the health and ideally I try to reduce my families’ prolonged exposure to any nasties…… i.e. anything I sleep in or eat off/with/near is a no no. I have taken an oath not to lick anything I make out of pallets…) – how about substituting the pallet wood for, well um, rough sawn untreated wood? Try it, you probably wont know the difference and you will be healthier for it.

Here are some of my PALLET Fav’’s from around the net….

The well-known American quality acoustic guitar maker Taylor Guitars famously produced their high quality “pallet guitar”[21] made from pallet wood, in order to demonstrate their prowess and the importance of construction technique versus expensive exotic woods. “The original pallet guitar was made for fun and to prove a point: we can work with non-traditional wood and still make a great guitar. Oh yeah, and we had fun.”—Bob Taylor.

Pallet Art


Great idea, although for an EDIBLE garden I would substitute the pallet wood for something else…I say NO to the side order of toxins thanks *polite smile*…….

Pallet Furniture

Plenty of easy ideas here!!

pallet reuse
Love the headboard idea although I would change out the wood……
wood pallet reuse

Or, Construct a house out of pallets………?

pallet reuse
pallet wood reuse
The pallet wall – I LOVE the tractor seat stool – I WANT IT!!
The humble garden shed
I-Beam Design, an architecture and interior design firm based in New York, NY won an award in a 1999 competition sponsored by Architecture for Humanity for their submission of “The Pallet House”, a design solution to house the returning refugees of Kosovo. Full-scale prototypes of The Pallet House were featured in the “Casa per Tutti” Exhibit at the Milan Triennale and the Earth Awards in HRH Prince Charles’ Royal Gardens as part of The Prince’s Charities Foundation’s Conference on a Sustainable Future organized in collaboration with IBM and The Financial Times. The Pallet House is an affordable transitional home that can become permanent over time. It can be used as refugee housing or as affordable housing as well. Due to the nature of the Pallet module, the wall cavity can be insulated with a variety of materials that are accessible to the user.
pallet reuse
Pallet House at the Venice Biennale
wood pallet reuse
‘The Palettenpavillion was built in 2005 for the Skiing World Cup and was meant to be a temporary shelter for users and media to congregate, create and be inspired by the unusual, cave-like space. Matthias Loebermann choose pallets because he wanted to reflect the surrounding wooded region, while also constructing a sustainable space. It was constructed out of 1300 shipping pallets, 20 tie rods and 100 tension straps.’ – excerpt and image from inspirationgreen.
The humble pallet ?


  1. I just love all the things you can do with Pallets, trew lack of funds I started recycling, I hate throwing stuff out that could be used for something or another one day. These idea’s with pallets and what I can do and how beautiful some of them look I just have to find myself a place where I can get pallets from preferably free here in cornwall UK. As for the wood being rough sawn, sand them down and put a paint or stain on them they look a million dollars thanks Mall


    1. *Cringe* I know right? I really don’t want to be a doomsayer, but I also couldn’t live with myself for promoting a hot-for-the-moment craft craze that potentially could hurt people and their families further down the track. I just wanted to promote a rational approach, rather than be swept up in the craft storm….. 🙂


  2. glad I ran into this blog! I never thought about what could be infused in pallets. I’ve been after my husband to pick up the free ones but now I think I’ve changed my mind!


    1. Thanks for visiting. Sorry to be all doom and gloom, I think it’s OK to recycle pallets but common sense has to play a part. My rule is don’t sleep near it and certainly don’t lick it. Hope that helps.


  3. If your pallet is stamped “HT”, that means it was heat treated rather than chemical treated, and these are safe to use indoors or around food. They are not as easily found as chemical treated pallets, but are worth grabbing when you do see them. I take when apart as I get then, and store the wood until I want to use them.


    1. Hi Dee, thanks for your comment. I’ve never seen pallets with an HT mark before and I know the ones we’ve picked up over the years all come from semi industrial areas and have carried paint, chemicals, concrete mixes etc. This is really good to know, I am gonna keep my eyes peeled for the HT heat treated variety in future. 🙂


  4. Very interesting and creative stuff, Pepper, but like you, due to the pesticides, etc., I’d prefer to use new wood, then age it down. Just a note: many pallets are made from ‘rough-sawn’ wood (unplaned), which becomes a real dust-catcher…not particularly good for anyone with allergies.


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