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Pallets

 
master gardener
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I like to keep a minimum of 25 pallets around. They are just too handy because they have multiple uses.   I am getting ready to tear down a rotting shed.  Doing this will require me to relocate a pig.  So, I used the pallets to quickly put up a temporary fence and shelter.
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pollinator
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Clever, although 25 seems a lot.
Bit of OCD there!!--- short for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Its like more system oif having plenty of roofing iron about.
 
pollinator
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Yeah, 25 seems like a lot -- until you hit the jackpot of good, stout ones that are all the same size. Then you find room for them, somewhere.
 
John F Dean
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Hi John and Douglas,

Stacked, they eat up 32 sq ft of ground space on my 11 acres. The worse that happens is that they are converted into firewood. ... actually, I have never had to do that.   My most common use is for gates and emergency fence repairs.   If it is pouring down rain at night and I discover a broken fence, it is nice to be able to patch it with a few pallets until the rain stops and daylight comes.  
 
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It is an emergency on our farm, we are down to one pallet!  Wood is so expensive here people are keeping their pallets.  I haven't even got a broken one in 6 months.

Our first chicken coop was made out of pallets.  Worked great for 5 hens.

Now my wife says I have too many barrels.  I'm like , but honey we make waterers, feeders, rain barrels, turkey boilers, RHMs....
 
John F Dean
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Hi Christopher,

Maybe it is a male thing, but I have no concept as to how many too many barrels might be.  It strikes me as something like having too many buckets or too many pairs of gloves.

 
pollinator
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Come here. every year we get 8 pallets with our wood pellets. they just accumulate I cannot find any use for them. Well I have used one, it is leaning up against the house wall making a ladder for the cats to get to the window, they are perfectly capable of jumping up, but they dig their claws into the window if they do.. so the pallet is to save the window from kitties.
I need to build a chicken coop inside the barn, but pallets will not do the job, we lost a lot of ducklings to rats at our previous place so all walls have to be masonry or wire, no wood.
 
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Yeah, 25 seems like a lot -- until you hit the jackpot of good, stout ones that are all the same size. Then you find room for them, somewhere.



HA HA! yeah, I've got a good source for some of those... they seem to generate 3, twice a week, and it is "on my way home" (if I choose to go that way...and I do). So, now I have about 60.

This Spring, I dismantled 12 of these stout ones and made a picket fence across our small front yard to enclose an exercise space for our dogs. Another fence replacement is upcoming, which is the main reason for the stockpile...
A few other pallets were sectioned up to make a corral for waxed vegetable boxes ( knocked-down flat) to be returned each week, for a CSA pickup that we host.

The past few years, I've also made some of the stout ones into portable/stackable firewood racks. My other post about it is here. These make moving with the tractor + pallet forks quite easy, for stacking the wood in the place wherever it is cut or split, moving it around for storage and use, they are also stackable, 3 high... because I dare.

Our greenhouse and outdoor nursery benches are all pallets on salvaged/scrounged concrete blocks. Both wood and plastic.

Most of my stockpiles of brick, pavers, block, stone, barrels are on pallets so that they can be relocated (blocks for benches mainly) to/from where they are needed seasonally, and to be stackable by tractor for more efficient use of our small-ish space. Some other things like pipes and fencing are also stored on pallets just as a separation from the soil, so they don't decay while waiting to be of use. These pallets are "sacrificial" and usually not the "good" ones I prefer.

I'll even "double-up" on pallets if I expect it to be long-term storage... one for the Earth to swallow up, and then my "good one" with my "stuff" on top. This way I have a better chance of picking up the "good pallet" in a few years.

 
John C Daley
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Well I will be damned!
It seems pallets are next in line after the wheel in ingenuity!

I do get plastic ones to put on the ground here, the termites leave them alone.
I love the double up concept, one for the earth and one for the job, very wise.
 
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My fear with using pallets, or any reclaimed industrial wood for that matter, is the chance of hazardous chemicals leaching out of the wood. Are pallets generally not treated with heavy metals or other anti-decomposition agents? Is it easy, or else not terribly important, to identify the chemical treatment or lack thereof?
 
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pallets that are treated with chemicals should be stamped. I forget what the stampings are but its a real thing
 
John F Dean
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I can’t speak for all, but I was CEO of a company that built pallets as a side line. All of our pallets were made of untreated oak. Those going internationally were kiln dried locally....no chemicals were added to the process. Of course, once they got out of our hands, I can’t say, but I doubt it.   Pallets are generally used for one way shipping. There is very little reason to add to the costs by treating them.

 I have had end users of our product charge a deposit to force a return. Even then, there was little reason for chemical treatment. With a little care, an oak pallet will last for years.
 
John F Dean
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Hi John,

In northern Minnesota, I have seen Jack Pine Savages ( people who have lived alone in the woods a little too long) makes houses out of pallets.  

I know of one person who built an outside furnace that burned whole pallets.
 
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Harmony d'Eyre wrote:My fear with using pallets, or any reclaimed industrial wood for that matter, is the chance of hazardous chemicals leaching out of the wood. Are pallets generally not treated with heavy metals or other anti-decomposition agents? Is it easy, or else not terribly important, to identify the chemical treatment or lack thereof?


I worried about this too. But from my understanding, the majority of them are heat treated. Those are stamped HT (if they're being shipped internationally). Ones that are chemically treated are stamped MB for Methyl Bromide. I think the ones painted blue tend to be iffy as well. I have been collecting quite a number of pallets, as we are building our chicken coop out of them. I've only found a few that weren't heat treated or unstamped and left them. Sometimes the stamps are hard to find, but most of them seem to have one.

Pallets are so incredibly useful! As I mentioned, we're building a 6x8 foot chicken coop out of them and have been able to avoid buying any lumber except for a few things. We did buy a pallet buster, which has made using the pallets much more practical. They break down in about 5 minutes with that tool, not including pulling nails. Many of the pallets we found were all oak.

They make great compost bins, storage and so much more! I'd probably have more if I had more space.
 
John C Daley
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I know of one person who built an outside furnace that burned whole pallets.


hahahahaha, now that would save 'breaking down' time dramatically.

definitions
A person descending from northern Minnesota's iron range that does all things to satisfy their instantaneous desire. They can be found wearing winter boots year round and carrying multiple guns.
A:"that guy just shot that endangered pileated woodpecker for no reason"
B:"It's ok, he is a jackpine savage"
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Aside: It seems methyl bromide was largely phased out in 2005. It's one of many ozone depleting chemicals that were being reduced on a schedule.  https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout/phaseout-class-i-ozone-depleting-substances

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread!  UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Exceptions apply for items like pallets that are being exported to/from certain countries, to prevent disease/insect movement. Buyer beware, I guess.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Kenneth,

My pallet inventory varies between 25 and 100.  I have a large farmer neighbor that keeps me supplied.  My present inventor is around 50.....and dropping.  I suspect I will pass on my neighbors next offer. I just can’t see having a use for more than 25 over the next 12 months..
 
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