Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Pallet Wood: A Comprehensive Guide

Pallet wood is a popular material for DIY projects, but is it safe? Learn about the different types of pallets, its uses, and how to work with it safely in this comprehensive guide.

Pallet wood is a popular material for DIY projects, but is it safe? Learn about the different types of pallets, its uses, and how to work with it safely in this comprehensive guide.

This post may contain Amazon plus other affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support this blog!

Building DIY project with pallet wood is one of my all time favorite things to work with! Since most pallets you land are free, you certainly can’t beat free lumber! 

I’ve personally used pallets for loads of woodworking already. Here’s a few of my favorite projects:

Pallet wood projects to make:

How to build a pallet shelf for power tools for a workshop.


Enhanced pallet wood tool shelf for a workshop

Pallet wood hammer organizer for a workshop | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Wood hammer organizer

Pallet wood gate on shed by FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Wooden gate on shed

TV pallet stand via : https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

TV stand with soda crate drawers

Pallet wood walkway for a garden path via : https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

 wood walkway – boards are deeper than most pallet wood

Pallet wood office desk

Wood sawhorse blog office desk

Pallet wood coffee table with junk jewelry via : https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

 pallet wood coffee table

Pallet wood chair made from 2 complete pallets via : https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

the 2 full pallet chair – easy to make!

pallet wood paint caddy with paper roll dispenser Toolbox paint caddy

pallet wood drill handled toolbox planter
Drill handled toolbox

how to build branch handled pallet wood tool boxes
Branch handled toolboxes

pallet wood workshop cabinet with pallet wood wall feature
Workshop walls

pallet wood porch for a garden shed

Build a garden shed porch with pallets

Curbside red metal rack to store reclaimed wood in a workshop | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Where I store my reclaimed wood (workshop tour)

And so much more! See all my pallet projects HERE

Although the use of pallet wood has become extremely popular, using pallet wood for building DIY projects also comes with some controversy. Are wooden pallets safe to use for projects? Or not?

Pallet wood comes from ready-made pallets, which are built to tote around all kinds of goods. And in some cases, those supplies can be toxic.

How pallets are made also comes into play. Some wood is treated, while some isn’t.

The good news is, there are some ways to lessen the chances of picking up bad pallet wood or at the very least, choosing appropriate things to make with the type of wood you do find.

Here are some tips and safety information you should be armed with before carrying pallet wood home for your own DIY projects:

Let’s make sure the pallet wood you bring home IS safe!

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pallet wood


Where to find free pallets


  • grocery store retailers
  • manufacturers
  • warehouses
  • farmers
  • homeowners
  • Facebook Marketplace

Many business utilizes pallets to ship their goods in bulk. These business range from large manufactures all the way down to smaller local grocery stores. So it’s possible to find free pallets most anywhere!

Some businesses or even homeowners (ie: farmers) stack them on the edge of the road, free for the taking.

Please ask before taking!


However not all wood is free for the taking. Some place them on the curb for pallet recycling pickup or some kind of return programs. So if there’s no free sign to be seen, it’s always best to ask if the wood is being given away.

Is pallet wood safe? Everything you've ever wanted to know about pallet wood is in this post: how to choose, what to avoid, what to make, etc! #palletwood #pallets #funkyjunkinteriors #reclaimedwood

What did it carry?


I am fortunate to have worked with a fire truck manufacturer that always has stacks of pallets on hand.

Many pallets have been built for the very purpose of shipping fire truck parts because of their odd sizes. Which means a lot of the wood is in new condition, and has been only used for this shipment.

So is this wood safe? There’s really no guarantee. However pallet wood carrying dry goods may be  safer than something that carried pesticides.

Avoid if:


It carried pesticides (green houses, etc), and contaminants. (gas, grease, etc)

 pallet wood - how to know it's safe

How is the pallet treated?


Newer regulations require pallet manufacturers in Canada and the US to treat the wood before shipping. This pallet wood can be treated by chemicals or by heat.

The HT on the above board means it’s been heat treated, or kiln dried. Heat treated pallet wood is safer kind to collect.

If the boards are unmarked, they may be safe as untreated wood, however there’s also a chance that it’s chemically treated pallet wood, which can make them potentially toxic.

Choose wood if:


  • the pallet is stamped with HT (means heat treated)
  • new pallets that appear clean

 Pass on wood if:


  • there is no HT stamp
  • the wood smells
  • it has an oily appearance
  • shows unexplained stains
  • appears extra heavy in weight
  • too many twisted nails (not worth the effort)
  • looks suspect, period

I’ve also been emailed with a story where someone got a nasty sliver which infected them to the point of requiring hospitalization. So, just be picky. Always wear gloves when handling any pallet wood and choose wisely.

Be aware of bacteria


Chemicals soaked into pallet wood are one thing, however bacteria is another.

Always be safe and scrub the wood down. Start with a pressure washer, then use with bleach and soapy water. Rinse well, and allow to completely dry.

But do remember, wood is porous, so there’s a chance the bacteria is embedded. Just go into this knowing NO pallet wood is 100% safe.

pallet wood - how to know it's safe

How to work with pallet wood

Since working with pallet wood is full of unknown potentials, it pays to work safe. Here’s some safety  suggestions to wear to keep you safe:

Safety recommendations:


  • wear work gloves to avoid nail punctures and toxic wood splinters
  • wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from sawdust and flying splinters
  • dust mask for toxic sawdust protection
  • hearing protection when sanding or sawing
  • remove all nails from pallet wood before storing

And if you regularly work with reclaimed wood, I suggest to ask your doctor if you are due for a tetanus shot. (no joke here!) This can help keep you safe from potential rusty nail punctures and toxic splinters.

Is pallet wood safe to use for DIY? All you ever wanted to know about pallet wood is in this post / via https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

How to dismantle a pallet

While some projects can utilize the pallet as a whole, or even full pallet crates, if you ever wish to harvest the pallet wood planks on their own, be prepared to break out into a sweat. Pallets can be difficult to dismantle, especially those with twisted nails.

I personally watch for loose planks from dismantled pallets like those boards you see above. 

One can also cut the wood using a jigsaw, around the nails.

However if you truly want to salvage all the wood from standardized pallets, here’s how:

Tools to dismantle a pallet:


pallet wood - how to prep

Removing nails from boards

Leaving nails in boards is an accident waiting to happen. Do not store with nails intact. Remove each and every nail before storing any boards.

I search for boards with straight or very few nails, or ones I can saw off easily.

workshop rack 2-6512
How to remove nails:


Pound and pry 


I flip the board upside down and attempt to bang the nail out with a hammer as much as I can, then flip it back over and pry out the rest.

How to saw pallet wood loose from pallet / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Jigsaw or sawzall


Cut the wood right off the pallet just shy of the nails if you can use the planks for shorter pieced projects. This is so much easier!

Nail remover tool


You can also try using a nail remover tool like THESE.

What to build with pallet wood



Many use all types of pallets for building fences, raised bed gardening, indoor furniture, etc. I have at times too, however I’ve always made sure the wood I use is heat treated only.

So this advice is based on uncertainty, and best practices that keep you and your family safe:

Use pallet wood to build:


  • furniture projects (must be well-sanded)
  • garden or yard fencing (that is not food related)
  • 0utdoor furniture projects
  • shelving

Do not use pallet wood for:


  • food related projects (food crates, serving trays, etc)
  • raised garden beds that involve food
  • compost fencing
  • children’s toys
  • avoid indoor projects if possible

How to store reclaimed wood in a workshop using a found metal rack! #reclaimedwood #woodstorage
Metal rack dumpster find HERE / Workshop reveal HERE

The warnings in this post may come across a little like a medical commercial…”Buy me because I’m awesome but you may die in the process…”

But if you heed the advice suggested, you won’t likely need to worry about using pallet wood in your projects… as long as you select appropriate wood for appropriate projects.

If in doubt, pass on it and head to the lumber store instead. Spending a few bucks on new wood is far smarter than bringing contaminated wood home for free.

Visit all my pallet wood projects HERE

Check out all my unique DIY repurposed projects HERE


Other pallet-related projects:

An easy way to take apart pallets or fences with a handmade tool!

How to take apart pallet wood with this easy tool you can make!

How to shop and harvest weathered pallet wood by Funky Junk Interiors

How I shop for pallet wood

Disclaimer: Please use this kind of wood at your own risk.

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Categories: DIY, How To Build, Junk Drawer, Reclaimed wood projects, Tools & Building, What To Get
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226 thoughts on “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Pallet Wood: A Comprehensive Guide

  1. U. R. Amazing. I’ve always eyed pallets because I love wood, but wasn’t sure what I would do with them. Now, I can hardly wait to find my own stash! U. R. also inspiring! Thanks for all the great tips and ideas.

  2. we where able to get some pallets a month ago now and hubby has made an adorondaic chair, a planter for a grapevine, a three tiered vegetable garden. i have made a sign using palets and tiles. and we still have plenty left. i am loving all of your ideas.

  3. Well after looking for months, all of sudden palettes are coming my way too. But always to complete kinds, so I have to do the dismantling myself. I wonder if your palettes are the same as ours Your wood seems to be sturdier and the newer kinds here don’t have cross beams anymore but rather pressed wood blocks.
    But I see some palette wood projects in my future. If I only had your speed, they will take me forever.

  4. i’ve got to show my husband this post – he has a hugh pile of wood just like yours. recently he made me an art cupboard out of old facade boards that he found on the side of the road – with all the different paints flaking off – it is a work of art. isn’t junk such fun – the possiblities -i need to go junking again soon!

  5. Question…..Do your neighbors love you as much as we do?

    Our son is now claiming the pallets at work for his momma, and I couldn’t be happier. And for the pieces that are too wonky for use, we burn in our wood furnace.

  6. Wow Donna it sure helps to work where you do AND to have a truck. Pretty lucky! I am a sight trying to stuff a crate one day into my Hyundai…. didn’t fit and had to leave it there…
    I think the safety of the wood is major! I made a pallet table and I was thinking about the dust (after I was finished) and that I should have really used a mask! Who knows what was in that dirty, old, dusty pallet. Thanks for the great story!

  7. Love pallet wood! Now that winter is over maybe I will get more. We are hoping to build a treehouse next. Oh, and wood is just as dangerous at the big lumber stores. I got bit by a spider at one going thru their wood and had to go get antibiotics. Yuk! So be careful in ALL wood, no matter where you are at!

  8. I am so glad you did this post on being smart about pallet wood. Many are also treated with pesticides that can be dangerous and can outgas inside the home if brought inside but have no real odor you can detect. I love pallet wood but it needs to be used with caution.

    • Perhaps this is an odd question, but I’ll ask anyway because I don’t know the answer: would puttig a finish or several coats of paint make pallets safer to use as a table in doors?

      • Hey Victoria, any protective coating would most certainly make them safer, especially around food and potential of splinters. I use pallet wood indoors myself and don’t go to all that trouble.

      • Hey Victoria,

        The pallets would probably really suck up the paint, so a primer would really help, unless of course the shabbie chic look is what you’re looking for. I personally love that look. Rustic is my favourite. Most importantly, just have fun!


  9. I spied some pallets sit out on the curb the other day and yes I called hubby and pleaded with him to stop on his way home and grab them for me. Boy am I glad he didn’t see this post πŸ™‚ He spent the better part of a Saturday dismantling these pallets. I’ll claim it’s b/c he wanted to!
    He will be building my potting table for the backyard. I’ve almost convinced him that I need a cute little garden shed. So for us this pallet wood will remain outside, but it is really good to know what to look for with treated wood.

  10. Thanks for the tips! I’ve seen several projects like this and have wanted to make use of pallet wood. I’m still trying to convince the hubby that it’s worth it. He’s more of a “let’s go to Lowe’s and get what we need” kind of guy. However, the money isn’t always there to do that. We have two pallet companies not too far from us that we buy their cant(sp?) ends from in the winter time to burn in our wood stove. Maybe we can find some broken pallets for building also. Maybe I’ll show the hubby this post and he will see what wonders can be made out of pallet wood. Thanks again!

  11. Hi Donna! I read your spread in Romantic Homes! Very,Very COOL!But of all your projects that desk is still my favorite, oh and I still cant forget those stairs! I have a little stash of wood in my building, my hubby works in the commercial HVAC field and he is at construction sites and brings me home stuff that they dont want or use any more.I cant wait to see what you do with your stash Donna!

  12. Hah! I’d have picked the oak up first, but that’s just me! You have inspired me to use pallets, and I intend making raised vegetable beds this year from the. Thanks for the info re whaat they might be treated with, I was thinking of putting some housewrap or something between the wood and the soil, now I will make sure to do so!

  13. This is an awesome post, because I have five pallets sitting in my front yard thanks to our current patio project. I told the BF that he has to save the pallets (he likes to use for firewood) cause I have a few projects in mind. He works at a lumber yard, so has no idea why I want to save these “ugly” pieces of wood. Not to mention the uneven grains, stains, and holes (the more “ugly” the better!). Good tips for the nails though, thanks!

  14. AH, this was a much needed read for me. My husband gets tons of pallets for his products and I always stand and ponder “how does Donna manange to make that wood look so awesome???” Now I feel more educated and hopefully I can come up with something cool to make with pallets now that I am not as afraid(not AS AFRAID,lol). Thanks for the tips and excellent post Donna!

  15. My hubby gets lots of pallets, but won’t let me touch them! He’s such a snob! I love what you have done with them though. Your projects are inspiring. I may just have to sneak some home. I wonder when he is going out of town again….

  16. amazing! i recently paint some pallet wood and reuse it as a table. I really love it and thank you for all these ideas.
    I love pallet wood too!!!

  17. Thanks for all the tips. I am going to keep my eye out on craigslist. They have them listed every once in awhile. And I have hubbys truck to use at the moment too. Once it’s here, he will see the light! HA!

    Glad you had a great Easter. We did yard work as well. It was good to get a lot of it done, still more to do though.

  18. This post was made for MOI!!!! I have a MAJOR collection of pallet wood on the side of my house. I just can’t stop myself. Every Wednesday my son has guitar lessons and the drop off goes behind a flooring store. They were ecstatic when I expressed interest in their wood pallets. Now it has become the bane of my side yard. I have many grand plans, but haven’t quite made them materialize as of yet. This summer is the goal, (for at least a few of the boards, hee hee). I should show this post to my husband so he knows I am not the only girl out there who lusts after lost lumber!

  19. Hi Donna, just wanted to say that I love your blog and like you I am a single Mum renovating my own home on the other side of the world in Australia! You inspired me to start my own blog, so this week I did! Well only 2 posts so far but you have to start somewhere. Thank you for your tutorials you gave me the confidence to give it a go. Gina

  20. Awesome post! Especially the part about avoiding the treated stuff and how to tell the difference. I have been wanting to use some pallete wood, but didn’t know how to recognize which. This is great info. Thanks again.

  21. I loved this post Donna..very informative!
    My hubby collects pallets and we make things from them too…glad to read your safety tips. He said that the painted ones are not to be used (at least thats what he’s been told by them)
    Thanks so much Donna!
    I love all your creations and advice and always thoughtful and helpful hints!
    Ya, you are just amazing!!!

    Deborah xoxox

  22. I heart you…your blog and your creative talent!!! I wanted to stop in and let you and your readers know about my slipcover giveaway…well, actually, my GIVEAWAY SERIES…

    Xo, Meme

  23. Great Post! I have a pallet company a block away from my home. We go their weekly just to get wood for our fire pit outside. I am going to do a few projects with pallets this summer. You did the pallet daybed didn’t you? I have been saving pictures in my creative inspiration file of pallet furniture.

  24. This is awesome! Of course I don’t usually NEED pallet wood for anything…but just the other day I looked out our back window at all the paraphernalia laying about from the flood and noticed a clean looking pallet leaning up against one of the trees. I told EC, “for some reason, when I see that pallet it makes me happy!” FOR SOME REASON!! FOR SOME REASON??!!! All this blogging is rubbing off on me! Can you tell??????

    You rock, GF, for posting this because while I don’t use pallets for ANYTHING I was curious about them!!!


  25. It’s amazing that so many objects around us can be re-used, if only more people thought of it this way! Your designs are very interesting, I like the long table the most, but generally the idea of furniture made from pallet wood is great. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I walked past a huge pile of pallets the other day and YOU popped into my mind, Donna! lol! Go figure! lolol! Thanks for this informative post. You’ve got my mind whirling again with ideas! My fav projects of yours are your round table w/stencil, your gate on your fireplace, and your stenciled stairs. β™₯ Congrats on the feature in RC mag, too, girlie! How exciting for you!

    xoxo laurie

  27. So very cool…I’m going to keep my eye out for any pallets I can find now…have a few projects in mind – inspired by you πŸ™‚

  28. Thank You Funky Donna! Your posting was perfect timing because I scored an entire pile of pickets for fencing on the side of the road today. Happiness. They are all full of nails and now I know how to get them out.

  29. Hey. Lisa at the dilletante proprietor made a similar post with video earlier this week. You two should get together and rate pallets. Kind of like the Olympics. The Canadian Judge gives this pallet a 9.5. Oh! The US Judge agrees! A great score! So close to perfect. Hmmm … I think my imagination is getting away with me again!

  30. Thank you, you are to kind! I made a compost bin years ago and never thought of the chemicals!!! Good information, and I do love the hunt for just the easy ones! Your projects are supper, Bench is my favorite!

  31. Hey Donna! Thanks so much for this post- very informative! I do have a question for you as you are the reigning queen of pallet wood :). My husband has tons and tons (literally!) of pallets and I called the stone company he gets them from to find out if they are pressure or heat treated. turns out they are not treated in any way at all! hooray! BUT- after bleaching and sanding them getting the boards ready to install in the bathroom and make a bed with- how do I seal them to keep any critters or bugs that may be inside them from getting out? Is there even such a product? and if there is, is it safe to use? Planning on getting this project installed and finished this weekend- if you have time to respond to me that would be beyond excellent!!!!! Thank you!! piacrook@me.com

  32. Thank you for sharing your experiences.I have been using pallets in Australia for some years and always go for the clean new wood kind. Thus far have had no issues.We have even used them for garden beds at school. I recently turned some into rustic letter boxes because some people asked at a market where I sell my work.Please keep doing the recycle message. You experience ring a strong bell with me also.
    Thanks again. Roy – The Leura Bodger

  33. Thank you for this important information. While I love the look of pallet projects, I’ve been afraid of using them for the reasons you state. You’ve given a clear idea of what to look for, how to work with it, and where to use it. Just what the doctor ordered!

  34. Hi and thanks for your creativity I love it… I operate a pallet recycling company and have moved over 5 million pallets in the last 20 years πŸ™‚

    you mentioned pallets marked with HT these are generally safe to use… watch out for the ones marked with MB they have been treated with Methyl Bromide as well when a pallet is marked HT or MB it will also have a 2 letter “country code” US for USA, CA for Canada and so on this mark generally identifies the country of manufacture you can generally trust wood from the USA and Canada to have not been chemically treated

    keep up the creativity


  35. Thank you very much for this post, I am planning to work with pallet wood and I had no idea how to work with it or how to choose it.
    I was wondering if it would be a good idea to use lacquer or something of the sort?
    Thank you very much.

  36. Another warning you might add is to look for critters – we found several black widow spiders in some pallets we had brought home!

  37. My father actually owns a pallet company. So I have pretty good access to pallet wood. I’m getting ready to build a privacy fence using pallet wood.

  38. So glad to have stumbled across this, even if it is over a year since you posted it! I used your tips to safely create my first piece of pallet furniture and have credited you on my blog πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your talents!

  39. So what’s the risk if they have been treated? I mean, unless kids are gonna be gnawing on them like a beaver – how could it possibly hurt them? Some people work with pallets every day in their jobs so contact with the wood can’t possibly be harmful. And isn’t it ok to leave some of the nails in? They look so much more vintage that way! And there’s no risk of the nails falling out considering how much work it takes when you WANT them out. But anyway, if someone can give a link to any articles showing about the chemicals, that would be of great help. Thanks.

    • Nails should be removed because if they protrude beyond the wood, they are extremely dangerous. If you’re able to cut them flush with the wood, that is an option. Still be aware that any rusty metal can lead you running for a tetnas shot.

      Chemically treated wood is toxic, plain and simple. It can contaminate the air and food making you sick. I’d suggest to use any chemically treated wood for outdoor projects.

      Pallet wood can also get contaminated during transit. Wood is porous and the contaminates can soak in. I’ve heard of a story where someone got a sliver from a contaminated pallet and had to be hospitalized. It can happen.

      If you google about contaminates on pallet wood, you’ll find endless resources to read. I’m not saying don’t use it, but I am saying to be aware of what you are using and use it for the right reasons. Good luck!

  40. Great post! I’m just starting out working with pallets and love it! I have found, when taking them apart, use a wedge to loosen the board enough to get to the nail head, then take a drill (without a bit) secure it around the head of the nail and unscrew it. Works like a charm and I’m able to use most of the boards.

    Happy Palleting!

  41. If you sand and stain or paint them would they be ok for kiddos to be around? I have just seen a lot of projects for book shelves, coffee tables, or side tables. I have also seen a lot of planters for herbs etc. Are you saying one shouldn’t use these to make planters from?

    • Hi Julia, using reclaimed lumber is always a risk due to it being porous. I personally wouldn’t risk using it around food or small kids myself. But any protection is better than none. Planters would be fine, but I personally wouldn’t use them for the edible variety unless you were able to line the soil with a barrier of some sort. (plastic?)

  42. Donna,
    I live in an area were spiders, scorpions etc are in love with pallet wood as much as you are : )
    Any suggestions on how to be sure that the pallet wood I use wont be full of embedded eggs that will hatch INSIDE my house later on?

    That has been my only real fear of pallet wood.

  43. i also use used wood to get the nails out i straighten them frist then cut them off about a 1/2 in long then pound them out and use a nail puller or crowbar i reshape a nailclaw puller to get the staples out hope this helps ed

  44. My neighbor works at a tractor dealership and brings the pallets home and burns them in a ditch. I did get some from him but they are so cover in staples that they were pretty much worthless. Very disappointing!

  45. I wouldn’t recommend using bleach and soap together. The combination can create dangerous gasses. Use bleach OR soapy water, not bleach and soapy water.

    • Soap and bleach are NOT toxic. If that were true, women who have done their laundry for hundreds of years using the two, would be dead.
      Combining bleach and ammonia makes a toxic gas.

      • It depends on what soap is combined with the bleach. Some liquid dish washing soap states on the bottle “Do not mix with chlorine bleach”, but some do not. Laundry soap is okay.

  46. Hi Donna! First of all, i wanna thank you so much for all your ideas and tips when it comes to pallet wood working. But i have a question… All the other sites i visited informed me that the pallets marked HT are treated with formaldehyde, which is as we know Highly toxic. So i would just like to ask you where you got the information that it is in fact the safer kind. I mean, those other websites may also be worng, so i just wanted to make sure… Cause mine are marked HT do i’m realky hoping you are right;) thank you so much once again!

    • Hi Ana, I emailed someone who worked in a pallet manufacture, I’ve talked to an owner of a construction site, and various other wood workers that know their stuff. They all told me HT stood for heat treated, which is safe from chemicals.

      Regardless, please use any pallet wood at your own risk!

  47. I love all your ideas. I am going to use my pallets for my raised veggie garden this year. Plus I have made my own compost. i am hoping for the best garden ever. I will post photos when things are in growing good. I can hardly wait. My mouth is watering just thinking about all the fresh organic vegetables.

    • I would caution you to not use pallet wood for a vegetable garden. There is no guarantee that wood is bacteria nor chemical free and I wouldn’t want to hear about you getting sick.

      Flowers, sure. Anything you eat, I personally would not.

  48. Love your projects and thanks for the useful info! My husband and I just covered a wall in our bedroom with reclaimed pallet wood and I also built a beautiful headboard (the stain should be dry enough today to move it into the bedroom!!! yippee!) My husband took the pallets apart super fast using a reciprocating saw, and then I just removed the cut off nails. It made for a super fast job!

  49. So the information is great but am a bit bummed that you clearly state that NO pallet would should be used for food related items. I take it even the heat treated pallets. I had planned on making a herb stand using a pallet. Bummer but thank you for the info and will try to make something similar from purchased wood. Your ideas are great however! Thank you for sharing and educating.

    • Hey Laura, I understand. I wouldn’t see an issue if you lined the wood with plastic before you filled in with soil though? Just a thought! As long as the soil doesn’t touch the wood, I’d think you’d be ok to go.

      But please do so at your own risk!

  50. Chemically treated wood can be nasty I agree but on the upside most of it is treated issuing boron which is nothing more than a concentrated salt. But there’s no way to tell what has been used. Your recommendation are spot on. I usually plane my wood because most treatments only penetrate a very small amount.

  51. Be especially careful of pallets imported from Europe/Asia. These have been chemically infused with insecticide to prevent to importation of bugs. If you do get one of these destroy it in a very hot fire and DO NOT stand in the smoke as you’ll be inhaling chemicals.

  52. I’ll pass this on to a couple of handy kids that will rent our recently purchased condo, 4 nice pallets were left by the sellers! How about a patio table for 6 or two smaller 4-person tables? Thanks for the safety tips!!!

  53. I just inherited pallets every week a truck and trailer full of them. My hubby goes and gets them from a business and My my I am a happy girl…the things I can make…woot woot…thanks for sharing your ideas..

  54. Great information. I’m going to be starting my 1st pallet project and have been wondering how to remove the nails.

  55. can i let ya know a secret that i do to break em apart? ……sawzall! use a metal cutting blade, stand pallet up (fork end up), get blade to slide in between the 2 pieces of wood and start cutting. it will go easy and fast as long as you don’t cut wood also (takes practice) remove both end 2x4s this way then stand it up in other direction. and start on the center 2×4… remember, the sawzall blade is FLEXABLE πŸ˜€ . sometimes you can just simply push down on one end and get the nails loose enough to cut in between the boards! i can cut 50 pallets in about 3 hours this way with no arm, hand, back pain!!!!

    • Thanks Kelli! I will try and repin, but I can’t change the pins of all the others out there unfortunately. I think they are going back to my blogger blog so a redirect is necessary. All I can do is try! πŸ™‚

  56. I used to pass a place that did kitchen counters on the way to work. They got long sheets of solid surfacing material on pallets…these things were 12 feet long! They consisted of two 12 foot hardwoood 2x4s, with 1/2″ x 6 crosspieces and a few hardwood 4×4 spacer blocks. Keep an eye out for those.

    Needless to say, I grabbed all I could get. After disassembling my haul, I built a worktable in my garage, using the 2x4s as a frame and some salvaged 3/4 plywood as a surface. The thing is solid, very solid. And extremely useful.

  57. I just made a bench for my patio out of pallets! I am loving the way that it looks but wondered if I should seal it in anyway. I really like the rustic look so stain isn’t something I’m wanting to do. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Hi Allie! I haven’t sealed my furniture, but then it isn’t outside in the elements. I’d probably recommend it if the weather hit it full force. Just ask a paint store what they’d recommend for outdoor durability. I’d go satin or duller in order to maintain more of an organic wood look.

  58. hi, i liked your web site! i bought pallets to make a sofa for y living room. i don’t know what too do πŸ™‚ can you help me if i send you their photo? Please help me..

  59. There is a way to remove boards from pallets that does not require muscle. Simply center punch the nail heads. Then with an electric drill and a bit approximately the same diameter as the nail drill through the nail head. Once you have reached the nail shank the head will fall off. Do that to each nail and the board will lift off easily without damage.

  60. What are your thoughts on using pallets to make a bed?
    Another question, do you think pallet gardens that are so popular are dangerous?

    Great article, thanks!!

    • Hi Christina! I would caution against the use of pallet wood for a bed or a garden. You really don’t know how contamination free the wood is. I most certainly wouldn’t use it near a vegetable garden myself, but flowers, no problem.

      Please do so at your own risk!

      • Thanks Donna, I thought it might be a bit risky for a veggie garden. I am thinking about making a daybed for my 6 yr old daughter and had seen some cool ones done with pallets but will took for some other material after reading this!
        Thanks again!

  61. Hey there, just reading this information you have posted it’s great. I have a question for you, I’ve located some pallets that have been sitting among the tumble weeds out here in Ashcroft, BC and know they were used for stone pads/brick and have been outside atleast for 5 years or more, do you think I would have to worry about using them, they’re still in great shape except for a couple that have rotted out, but out here it is so dry and we never really get rain?? what do you think?


    • Hi Kurt! Using any wood that’s been sitting outside has some risks. Especially with mould and mildew as wood is porous. I’d say if it’s well dried it may be ok, but if in doubt, I’d use it for something outside. Have fun!

      • Hi there, thanks for the quick reply and info. I’ll drop you a pick of the finished product.
        Cheers from the desert!

    • Hi Nicole! I have in some pieces and not in others. But if you leave them in for added character, be sure to clip them flush with the wood on the other side before storing otherwise it’s an accident waiting to happen!

      • So, if there are none sticking out, I’m good to go? This pallet is in really great shape other than some pretty nasty splinters! I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a specific reason to take it apart. Thanks!!!

  62. I really appreciate you posting this info. I’ve been interested in trying a pallet wood project, but I’d heard vague things about them being dangerous and hard to work with. This will help me try my first project.

  63. Hey Donna,

    Love your site and what you do with pallets! I would love to make some of your projects, if my husband will allow me to take pallets home. Looks like a lot of fun. Thank you for the important safety tips. πŸ™‚


  64. I want to use blue chep pallets as an alternative to lattice panels and also as a deck on my log home. How to I cover up the blue and make it look like natural wood??

    • Hi Tammy! That’s the only way I’d suggest attempting it. Otherwise you risk smudging the paint deeper into the wood. You could try thinners and such but I doubt you’d get a clean finish. Good luck!

  65. Do I need to treat the wood with something before I put it on my wall ? My husband says yes for termites and bugs. I read your info and see some may be treated but, for that that is not and it is going on a wall or in a piece of furniture do i treat it?

    • Hi Jeanne! I have never done anything special to the wood. We don’t have termites in my area so I’ve never come across this as a problem. But if you do have those issues, I’d certainly look into it!

  66. What if I want to use the pallets to make a base for attaching a sheet of plywood to make the floor for a treehouse and another one for a free floating patio/deck? Of course, I’ll follow the suggestions about getting the right kind of pallets and avoid the yucky ones…however just thought I’d ask you because of your experience. Thank you.

    • Hi Mandy! I personally see no reason why that won’t work. They are very heavy and sturdy for the most part. They may rot in time touching the ground, but if you place them on gravel they will probably last longer.

  67. About using painted pallets – I was told not to use pallets stained red, blue, or brown, they could be treated with formaldehyde. Look for IPPC symbol burned into the wood. Also will have symbol for hear treated HT, ( good), be barked DB ( good)’, methyl bromide ( BAD) . Google types of pallets and you’ll find more info.

  68. Would you have any suggestions on what treatment I can apply on pallet wood to make them last longer? I want to make an outdoor structure using pallet wood as cladding. The issue is they are already painted wood.

    • Hey Pat, my best guess is to use outdoor durability products and keep it up every so often. I’ve never treated pallet wood yet but most of my stuff is under cover away from weather elements. Ask a paint store what they recommend for long term durability. Good luck!

      • I picked up a pallet in the Home Depot lumber section and there appears to be no stamp on it. I would like to use it for a headboard. It is in great shape! Would sealing it with a polycylic after staining it help with any question of pesticide?

  69. Hello, I have came across some GORGEOUS wood! The pieces are about the same size as pallets. I have built an outside deck with the wood and its amazing. Now I want to cover my bathroom walls but I’m afraid to use it. I got the wood from a mill that is being demolished right now. The mill was built in 1808. The particular wood I have came from not the very top of the roof, and not the ceiling, but in between. So I dont know if it is safe to use in my bathroom or not. With it being so old it is beautiful and surprisingly very strong! But I dont know if it is worth the risk. Please Help!

    • Hi Miranda, personally, being in a bathroom, I would take a chance. Just wash it with bleach and water, allow to dry really well, then sand it with a palm sander. But just know, with any reclaimed wood, you are always taking a risk. Toss anything out with mold, heavy stains or wood that is extremely heavy. I’ve used plenty of reclaimed wood without stamps on it, but am just more careful where. Have fun!

  70. Hello… I am a beginner and I really love the pallet furniture ! I’m so unsure about where to start ..however I have found access to as many pallets as I need. Want to start out with a simple project but one I can use on my deck. Have any suggestions??

  71. Hi. Having said what you just did about them being treated I know of people who burn the for firewood. Isn’t this dangerous if they are treated? I realize maybe not the ones marked HT but what about ones not marked??


  72. Thank you so much for speaking out on the danger of some recycled pallet wood. I see so many projects that have been constructed without any regard to safety. Just recently someone posted an entire vegetable garden made out of recycled pallets. If you dont know the history of the pallet regardless of how it was “treated” you must think the worse and dont use. Even compost bins….you are lucky that you know the history of the pallets you recycle.
    In transportation industry for over 30 years and seen many hazmat leaks that have been sealed and cleaned up and put right back on the dried out pallet that it leaked out on. Dont risk it when it comes to food or food products or anything that humans or animals will be touching much less eating.

  73. I was looking into building a bed out of pallets from my husband’s work. If you seal the wood with a poly over a stain/paint, will that remove the risk of any possible lingering bacteria after cleaning the pallet?

    • Hey Danielle, with pallet wood, there’s always a risk. But if you went to all that work, I’d probably take a chance myself. πŸ™‚ Just watch for pallets marked HT as those are treated with heat, the safest way.

  74. Try cutting the nails off, but leave about 1/4 – 1/2 inch then when you drive the nail back you will not have as much to pull back through the wood. The ring shank or twisted nails will always give you a harder time removing them.
    Using pallets is a great way to put all that wood to use. We are cutting down trees faster than thy can grow, so lets all be smarter with what we have. God bless

  75. hi!

    i treated my pallets with an oil that the guy in the store suggested for this case and they turned out very nice but the oil smell is too strong!i guess the wood was quite dry and absorbed a lot of oil but its it s been almost 2 days and the smell is still very strong!do u have any suggestions?

    • Hi Maria,

      I’m totally not sure on that. Oil penetrates so you may be stuck with it. Could you possibly try sanding the finish to remove the top layer perhaps?

      Maybe just give it more time. Park the wood outside and let it breathe. I’d do that first.

  76. Hi Donna; No matter where I go to search out something, I seem to end up right back at your site. I love what you do. My back yard is full of pallats, scrap wood, etc. I too love to rescue wood destined for the dump and turn it in to useful items. Everyone on my Christmas list this year got serving trays–some barnwood with nails and staples still showing (sawed off and left in place); rope handles, a pair of horseshoes for handles on one; etc. Only thing I wish for about your site, a couple more photos showing “HOW” you attach legs to pallets for chairs, etc. Some of those little details are toughest to figure out. A photo or two here or there would be much appreciated!!
    Thanks for all you do, and post.

  77. Great Site,

    I am taking on a patio set project for my roof deck. Good pointers.

    See you when i am finished.


  78. Hi Donna,

    I came upon your site looking for instructions on how to remover staples from pallets to construct pallet furniture. We are newbies – my husband and myself and are very interested in pallet furniture. My husband has actually made a table for our daughter (with a pallet she picked up at work) and a bar table as well, which are both outdoors. I am trying to gather as much information to get us started and have printed off your information about palelt wood. I wanted to find out from you about painting of pallets. do you have specific instructions on how/what type of paint to use for indoor and outdoors. Also how to prepare the pallet before turning it into i.e. coffee table. Do we sand it first to take out the splinters and other debris??? Any informaton that will help us get started will be appreciated. Also I guess we need the right tools and would ask for your recommendation. I saw some of them on your site which I guess we will have to purchase one at a time as they are expensive. What would be a tool you can’t live without which you use on a regualr basis to make your furniture?

    I hope you will take the time to respond and help us put.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, thanks

    Kind regards,


    P.S. Do you know if there are coursed one can take or where we can get some experience to help us along???

    • Hi Linda!

      The main way I prep pallets is actually included in this post. Just clean, sand, remove any nails or staples and you have wood free for the taking!

      I personally never paint pallet wood as I love the rustic charm as is, but if you used a bonding primer, then paint of choice, that could work. There are loads of new paints out there now that require no primer as well. Milk paint is really great for using on raw wood especially. Google Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint to check it out.

      Best thing to do to learn is to just do it! Google what you’re after, then try it!

      If you’d like to hear of any specific posts, feel free to include the topics here. I’ll write them down and possibly blog about them.

      I have also done tool posts. If you visit my search engine on the sidebar, punch in Must Have Tools and you’ll bring up the posts.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  79. Hey there, good places to look for pallet wood is places that sell floor tiles. They normally import their products using pallets and crates so that means the wood is fairly strong on those pallets.
    I have built a lot of things using pallet wood (reclaimed/recycled wood)

    Another tool that is really useful once you get the hang of it is a pry bar, similar to a crowbar but has much better leverage to separate the wood. And excellent for nail removal.

    The wood I get isn’t safe at all to burn as its chemically treated and will affect my lungs should I inhale any of the smoke.

    Great website, love the ideas listed!

    Happy palleting πŸ™‚

  80. there is a lot more to pallet wood than you seem to aware of sir. its easy enough to look up pallet stamps and find out not only how the wood was treated, but what country it comes from and when it was made. and you are dead wrong telling people to pass up very heavy pallets- we have several thousand board feet of exotic hardwood we’ve picked up for free, and twice that in hem/fir. building materials- 18ft 4×4, red oak, 16ft mahogony 2×4, we’ve found teak, myrtle, mango, it amazing!! when we pick up pallets we seek out the heavier ones- thats the simplest way to identify a hardwood.

    • You make a very good point! Quality wood is definitely heavier!

      I was mainly focusing on watching out for wood saturated with chemicals. That is very heavy for all the wrong reasons in regards to repurposing.

      Definitely pick up that heavy ‘quality’ wood? 100% agree! Thank-you!

    • I tend to agree, that heavier pallets have more hard woods. I’ve only been doing the reclaiming pallet routine since about the middle of December, 2014, and have already picked up all sorts of hard woods, many I can only guess what they happen to be. I’ve gotten a fair amount that look like walnut.

      I also have to take a bit of issue with Donna here, on cutting the pallets apart with a sawzall. I am now into making barn doors, intricate table tops, and have to cut down the regular boards, before sending them through a thickness planer. Before I can use them for herringbone, chevron, or other patterns resembling plaster lath, I can’t afford to have any metal screwing up the three drum blades. I even use a magnet to locate any metal before sending them through.

      You simply cannot go wrong with a pallet tool. Mine is a Pallet Paw, and I love it. If I had to give up a dedicated pallet tool, I don’t know what I’d do. I save as many nails as I can, because many of them will be going back into the wood after I have put the project together. I just wish the people reclaiming old pallets and rebuilding new ones from them would have their sawzall run away and get lost. LOL!

      • Haha! I’ve never used a sawzall on a pallet yet John, just something some folks do. I LOVE the idea of the pallet paw. I was going to manufacture them at some point but looks like someone ( few hundred) beat me to it! Awesome! I need to get one. πŸ™‚ Thanks for chiming in! Love fellow pallet users getting together and sharing what works for them!

        • Donna, most of the pallet tools are made in such a manner that the prongs are not as low as possible when being inserted under the boards. I quickly eliminated them from the list. There are one or two others, but the idea is to get the prongs in and not have to force the boards in such a way that they will crack apart. But it still does that a little bit with the Pallet Pay. What I do is insert half way and gently loosen the nearest nail, so as to allow that side of the board to move upward. Then I insert the prongs in all the way and pry up the board. This eliminates at least 50% of the cracks I used to make.

          I love that Pallet Paw, and just watching that bearded fellow disassemble that long pallet so efficiently and effortlessly, sealed the deal for me. But I didn’t get the double ended one. Having the wider prongs at the other end would offset the balance of the tool. I’m probably going to order that one too, because I also go after the larger pallets, where there are an awful lot of 2x4s being used.

          I have an inside track on pallets from my local Lowes center. And it all started by my ability to befriend folks. I have a habit I use when doing business anywhere. I always look at the employee’s name tag, and make a point of calling them by their first name. Its just simple courtesy, and almost all of the workers love to be treated in such an intimate manner. They will remember you when you come back next time. I’m that way with everywhere I go. It makes friends easily and it costs absolutely nothing. I always stop to say hi to the employees at my local Kroger, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Lowes, and Home Depot.

          Lowes and Home Depot are even better, because I have a special tool. That’s Charlie, my shih-tzu. He is even friendlier than I am, and the folks at Lowes have pretty much adopted him, especially the employees in the garden center. When he comes riding in the cart, tail wagging, and tongue hanging out, the employees stop what they are doing and “Here comes Charlie!” The two of us have taken Lowes by storm.

          The store manager and garden manager give me a special price on the culled fence slats, and landscape timbers. And they graciously allow me to take all the pallets I wish, except the painted ones. I have piles to choose from. Its amazing what a little friendship can accomplish. I also gave them a bottle of Kahlua as Christmas present to help seal the deal of friendship.

          The point for anyone reading this is that a friendly smile, and keeping things on a first name basis, will almost alway get you in the door. Too bad I didn’t learn that decades ago. Of course my little Charlie doesn’t hurt things either.

  81. I am making chairs out of pallets for my front patio. I was wondering what i should do to treat it so it doesn’t rot being as it is sitting outside. I will of course be putting the set in the garage for the winter so it will not be snowed on, but im more worried about the rain and the intense sun? any pointers?

    • Hi Jen! Mine are under cover so I don’t have to worry quite as much. I’d suggest to visit a local paint store and ask what would be best for your conditions. And depending what kind of look you desire! I’d probably gravitate towards a clear satin finish myself. Best of luck!

  82. love that you put down the stamps on the wood pallets and that they should never be used for food (the ones that use them for growing stuff is nuts) In our manufacturing plant I have seen some with a lot of nasty stuff on them (We get a semi truck load of these at a time from the distributor) Our Chemicals for the plant all come on plane untreated (no paint) pallets and we have blue, orange and red pallets as well. We once found a rancid fish on one (in the bottom of a pile of pallets, and stunk up the plant for days)

  83. Ok – weird question!! My I sent my son to get some pallets for a project and he came back with a pallet … and a blue plastic thing similar to the one pictured in the stack of pallets. What is it?


  84. Hi, I have a couple of blue painted pallets. I was wanting to know what you do to get the paint off? Please send your reply to my email. Thank you

    • Hi Tiffany! I have never tried to remove the paint off a pallet. I’d be inlined to just find another one instead, as paint removal can be really difficult. You can try a belt sander but it would still take lots of effort.

      You will get this message in your email as well. πŸ™‚

  85. Donna, this is a great topic, and a Must for all new pallet junkies to pay close attention. I have friends over at my local Lowes store, and have complete access to any pallets they stack up, with only a few exceptions. This gives me the option to choose what I want, and I almost always go with the newest ones, and also long ones. Once they have been in the open for a little while, the rain causes the wood to open up and show some age quickly. And after the vinegar/steel-wool mix has done its thing, they all look old and weathered.

    For anyone who is going to work with pallets, it is an absolute necessity to own a high pressure water sprayer. Using it, along with disinfectants, will do a yeoman’s job of cleaning the pallet, as long as some caution is used. That’s why I generally choose clean looking pallets. The managers at my Lowes were very good, and told me never to take any painted ones, because they are specifically used for chemicals and should be Verboten.

    As for nails, I have a special pallet tool, a Pallet Paw, and absolutely Love it. I never use my DeWalt sawzall on them, because I like using the wood pieces as plaster lath, and must use my thickness planer to plane them down to about 3/8″ thick. My current Pallet Paw only has a 2″ opening, and I use a Wonder Bar on the 4″ wide pallets.

    I make custom things for the interior design field, and one of my clients is driving me nuts about making sliding barn doors, and rustic furniture, for her furniture store. I’ve finally gotten my basement back deck roofed over, providing me with a good 10′ x 25′ work area, along with my basement shop. But I’m probably going to specialize and go the route of intricate plaster lath patterns. I’m a Huge, fan of Ariele Alasko, and can see all the possibilities of getting into a custom niche, using intricate patterns. I believe customers will be very receptive to this type of artistic work. And while I am not really able to find a lot of that here in the Raleigh-Durham area, the pallet boards will work just fine for me.

    Anyway, I love what you are doing. Go get ’em!


  86. i have always admired the whole pallet building but have no creative bone in my body! Ur work is amazing I wish I could do it

  87. I’m trying to locate the recylcled barn scrap wood candle holder wall sconces too. Can they be purchased?

    • Hi Krista, if you ever see pictures on my website, there will always be a link to where they were found underneath. I feature lots of work from other sites so just look for a link to either their tutorial or where they are found on the web. Feel free to email me with a given link to the picture you are referring to and I’ll try and guide you on how to do this if needed.

  88. Hi, thanks for this post. I have made a pallet bench. Do I need to bother spending hundreds protecting the wood? Surely it is hard wearing and has faced lots of the elements already….

    • Hard to say Duncan. My pallet stuff is under cover on the patio, so while it’s outdoors, it’s protected. You may wish to use a spray sealer at the very least if outside in the elements. Wood does eventually rot. If you are using treated wood, chances are better it’ll last moreso but then that’s the more dangerous wood too.

    • Hi Debbie, some wood is saturated with chemicals, which makes it super heavy. You want to bypass those. But of course, if it’s a good grade wood that could be heavy, you’ll know the difference. πŸ™‚

  89. Thank you for the education on pallets. I learned a lot from you and your fans. I just picked up some nice pallets and will use a couple as trellises.
    I did want to share that I used some in the garage, without taking them apart. I stood them on end and attached them to the wall using L brackets and slip my long handled garden tools handle down into them. I also had some long pieces of wood and moldings for future projects and they no longer take up floor space.
    I am 69 years old and have to be very frugal so besides dumpster diving and yard sales I went to a local pawn shop not long ago. I have purchased some wonderful garden tools and woodworking tools there. Some of the tools they carry are in almost new condition, many in original packaging at about a third of the original price. Now for the take-down on the remainder.

  90. If you do not know for sure what the pallets was used for is there something I can paint them with to kill any bacteria that might be on or in the wood.

    • Hi Cheryl! That’s a tough one. I’d suggest to pressure wash the wood, then scrub it down with bleach and water to attempt to kill any bacteria. That said, there’s always still a chance. Wood is porous, so you really are taking it as it is.

  91. What if I stained and clear coated a couple coats. Would that make them safe, especially after planning them down?

  92. I have made TV cabinets, picture frames, Coffee Tables.. chairs and tables for my grandchildren, but if you are going to make things for children make sure that there is No rough edges or splintered bits and make sure that the wood is well cleaned and denailed, always check all edges a second time around, and good building.

    • Frank,
      My daughter is wanting to get started in pallet crafts, what do you use for drill bits and screws?

  93. Very helpful, I just have to say that you should try moving your website menu above the clipboard and making the text stand out more; I can hardly read it!

    • Hi Donna! Depending what I’m building, I generally like drywall screws for wood, but will also use deck screws for more hefty builds if the screws need to be longer.

      Bits… I really love getting the sets Makita comes out with. Having everything at once that you can carry around is just so convenient!

  94. Nice Post. Every time I see your pallet desks, I’m inspired to make a new TV unit. Thanks for tip on chemically treated pallet wood!

  95. I am building an Emmerson style coffee table from West Elm. I build a frame out of 2x4s and am going to cover it with pallet slats for the reclaimed wood look. I am going to glue the slats on, but also plan to use a finishing nailer to tack the pallet boards on with. What gauge finishing nails do you recommend for pallet wood?

    I ask because I am going to have to buy a nailer for this this and I want to make sure I get one that will do the trick and one that I can afford.

    Thanks for you help!

    • Hi Kevin! I’d suggest to go into a quality tool store where service is top notch, and ask their advice. Let them know what you wish to do so they can outfit you with the right tool. I know so very little about tools so I’d hate to guide you wrong!

      We have a specialty tool store in my town where they pretty much greet you at the door, offering help. If you have a place like that, it’s worth the extra $ you may have to pay!

    • Hi Brian, I’d suggest to inquire at a paint store. I might be tempted to use a hemp oil or wax myself, but I don’t know how it would wear in a sunroom environment. Sounds like a really cool project!

  96. Hi Donna! This site is great and very informing. I now know how to decipher which pallets are good/bad…now if only I can find good ones is the mission. I really want to build a bedframe. I wish I was in your area. All wood in Miami seems to be toxic. Thank you for your tips/ideas!!!

  97. Do you need to seal the wood after a project to protect it from humidity? or to protect yourself from whatever chemicals and bacteria may be on/in it? If its just decor does it need to be sealed with polyurethane or wax?

    • Hi Renee, working with any reclaimed wood will always pose a risk of contaminates. If you wanted to play it safe, using new would be best. I have never treated any of the pallet or reclaimed wood with anything, however deterioration can transpire if you leave it outdoors. I’d assume most any wood protectants could help preserve it just like any other wood. I’d inquire with the paint company you are purchasing from if there is any blocking type of product for the bacteria issue. I’ve used clear spray sealers for food trays and coasters, or even a coat of quality furniture wax. For for the most part, I leave the wood alone, ensuring all the safety precautions are met that I listed in this post.

  98. Pallet wood is great ready made short fence boards. Painting it with woodseal afterwards makes it look good as new.

  99. I just bought a bed made from pallets from a woodworker near me. When I asked his wife (with whom I arranged everything) if it was heat treated or chemically treated, she said no. Now I’m starting to panic thinking the wood may be bad. What can I do to make it safe? Would putting some kind of sealant on it keep it from off-gassing?

    • Hi Cynthia, I’d question the wood worker on the safety of the wood since they are the ones that built with it.

      By the way, most pallets are either heat or chemically treated. If they aren’t treated with anything, that doesn’t mean they are bad, it just depends what was on them. Wood is porous and always risky. For a bed, I’m rather surprised they’d use pallet wood for that.

      I vote to ask them safety questions. Maybe they can retreat it for you as part of your purchased price.

  100. wow, i’m doing a science fair project on recycling and i choose to make a table out of pallet wood, this site was very helpful for the research part.

  101. Thank you so much for this article! I am just beginning my new business venture with re-purposing and creating things! I have yet to obtain any pallet wood, but it’s been on my to-do list. I had no idea about the contaminated wood! That is very good to know.

  102. Hi Great notes.
    Just wanted to add that I found it easier to use a sawzall on the nails.then I bang the heads out with a Nail Punch .
    But thanks for the Bacteria note. Forgot all about those guys.
    Again thanks

  103. So I’m thinking about making a cabin and/or deer hunting blind using the planks from the pallets as the siding, overlaying them to make it weather proof( kind of like shingles on a roof does just on the sides) but my question is since the pallet wood will only be on the outside and not the inside of the cabin/ blind, do I need to still worry about chemical treated pallets? I will frame it up with 2x4s, side it with the places on the outside and them inside will be sided with just plyboard. Also can you add sealant over the pallet wood for better protection against the elements?

    • Hi Quinton, I would not worry about chemicals if the wood is outdoors. That said, I’d still suggest to only collect cleaner wood that is stamped with HT for heat treated.

      As for protecting from the elements, I’d suggest to visit a local paint store and get their advice. Any non treated wood is open to deterioration as it isn’t geared to sit outdoors long term.

      Your plan sounds cool! Hope it works out for you.

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