Monday, August 5, 2013

Pallet Side Chat #1

When I first conceived of this blog, I thought it would primarily be a picture blog. Personally, I tend to enjoy those more especially when it comes to technical information. However, I've come to realize that there has been some information that is not transmittable via pictures.  My friend, Tyge, who had an excellent blog once told me... take notes and post them later.

Unfortunately, I've not taken any written notes, but I do recall some important insights that I'd like to share. I've also recently been listening to Ken Burns "The War" documentary about World War II.  I mean no disrespect in doing this, but I'd like to call my posts of random thoughts... Pallet  Side Chat.

So, Pallet Side Chat #1 will be a list of insights I've had through all of this. Hopefully, you won't read them with the voice of Jack Handy in mind.
1: A reciprocating saw (think Sawzall) became my very best friend in all of this. The Diablo flush cut blade proved to be the best for separating pallet wood into useful pieces of lumber.

2: Beware that if you do the above, it only cuts the nails, so most of the nail head remains. Aesthetically, this works for the overall construction, however it doesn't take too many of these unnoticed pieces of iron to dull an expensive table or chop saw blade.

3. Some of the wood I cut actually smelled like hot buttered popcorn. Not the cheap home version, but the really tasty theater kind. Go figure.

4. This probably goes without saying and should probably be #1, wear safety glasses, or better yet, safety glasses and a clear face shield when you us the table or skill saw. You only have one pair of  eyes.

5. If you plan to build with pallets, you need to have the space to store them while you build. We don't have much yard, so juggling where to put the pallets until I needed them was an added challenge.

6. Just like when traveling in a foreign country, when it comes to acquiring free pallets, you can't say 'Thank you" too much.

7. Linseed oil makes a great sealer for the wood. You don't need the expensive wood sealing "products".  I used a standard garden sprayer which is far better than brushing it on. I recommend you thin it down a bit so it will spray better and make the oil go farther. 1 part mineral spirits to 3 parts oil worked for me, but I think you could use as much as 50/50 and get good coverage. You have to wait until the rainy season has passed before doing this. Also, rinse the wood first and let it dry overnight before oiling. Pallet wood has a lot of residual dirt on it, believe it or not.

8. As you'll see from my pictures, I love Tiki torches and firepits. However, linseed oil soaked wood is highly flammable. Please be careful.

Until later....


  1. I bought a reciprocating saw a few years ago and actually tried to come up with reasons to keep using it. I relocated my bathroom door in my bedroom because of it! There's a pallet making mill in my hometown of Clinton, Michigan. It's the only thing really going for the town these days. I'm planning to resurrect my blog, although it's been hacked by pseudo Libyan Army and apparently it's embedded deep because my hosting company is having probs getting it fixed. Soon though!

  2. Libyrate yourself from Libyan terrorists. I don't know how, exactly, but it seems reasonable.