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Stupid question.... What are pallets made of?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Phoenix Hatchling, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Phoenix Hatchling

    Phoenix Hatchling Minister of Fire

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    I broke down all the pallets I had today to prep them for kindling this winter (except the 2 x 4s). I was wondering however what kind of wood they are made of? Some is whitish and probably pine? And the rest is reddish. Should burn hot I would imagine.

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  2. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Minister of Fire

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    Most pallets that I see at work are either Poplar or Oak, sometimes looks like some Maple.
    ScotO likes this.
  3. paul bunion

    paul bunion Minister of Fire

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    Red oak is pretty common
  4. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    that would be nice, depends where you live I guess, out here they are softwoods like fir, pine.
  5. Phoenix Hatchling

    Phoenix Hatchling Minister of Fire

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    For pallets?? really?
  6. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Minister of Fire

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    Yes-you can definitely tell when you lift it how heavy it is!
    PA Fire Bug and ScotO like this.
  7. Jacktheknife

    Jacktheknife Minister of Fire

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    There is a pallet company near where I work that set out stacks of pallet wood that didn't pass inspection for one reason or another. We burnt a lot of oak last year.
  8. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    There doesn't seem to be as many Oak pallets around as there was a while back. They still use it for heavy items, though.
    Trilifter7 and Applesister like this.
  9. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Every Pallet I have hauled, used or delivered has always been pine, poplar, soft maple or some other soft woods. I have even seen pressed saw dust, glued plastic shavings, formed plastic, welded steel and yes even oak. They are made out of whatever is cheap and available at the time. I have hauled pallets all over the country as a former truck driver that was what we got every time we had nothing to deliver around us.

    Pete
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    In 1978 I worked at a pallet mill. We would use whatever the buyer wanted. We had oak, poplar, basswood, maple, pine, ash, and more, I'm sure there were different prices to go with what you picked.
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I like the oak pallets....but like Fifelaker said, it's pretty much a budget/customer thing. I've had pallets made from poplar, pine, basswood and oak. The poplar ones just decay like mad when used for stacking so I stay with the pine and oak (preferably oak) when I'm using pallets for stacking.
  12. Applesister

    Applesister Minister of Fire

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    I saw blue plastic ones too. I dont know the story of the EAB but heard the first spotting was in Michigan. It may have been the Asian long horned beetle that drew attention to packing and shipping crates from overseas. But now export laws require kiln dried or heat stamped pallets.
    Half of the ones I have are oak. Probably the lowest grade oak.
  13. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    My friend worked in machine shop back about 25 years ago when Japanese machine tools took over the market, some of the pallet wood these units were sent over on were exotic hardwoods. Lot so nice woods, unfortunately I expect more than few of them had "critters" along for the ride.

    Not a lot of oak in my area, the local pallet shop did a lot of maple and I had seen beech on occasion. Pallet logs are one step above pulpwood. In a tight market for pulp the pallet guys get squeezed.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    There used to be 2 pallet companies around us. They used anything unless they got special orders. One time we got a steal on woods that was nothing but cottonwood and willow. Nasty working with but we sold it to those companies and they made pallets with that smelly crap.


    And that was not a stupid question at all.
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  15. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    I have a table on my deck my father made about 50 years ago from redwood that came off some pallets. It got broken when a tornado hit our house in 1989. Couldn't find redwood so I had to use pressure treated wood to repair it. It still looks great.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Some really dense wood there,can hardly drive a nail in it.
    osagebow likes this.
  17. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    I have a mongel assortment from various scrounges. Almost fell off the truck bed yesterday moving some down to my neighbor. Snatched and tossed the first 2 easy, # 3 was oak. Chose the bed liner face plant over the drop to the gravel driveway.
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  18. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

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    Picked up seven today at a plumbing distributor that has a free pallets sign outside to be used for stacking the 2 cord I need to buy to stay ahead. Some were pine, some were oak and maple. Used to always be oak, years back.
  19. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

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    I have been surprised at the difference in pallets both weight, size, and wood types. I've used to think they were all the same size till I started using them to stack wood on. I've pick up some that were 4ft by 4ft that were way more heavier then I thought and were a bear to cut with the circular saw. I had others that were big 4 ft by 8 ft that I thought would be impossible to move but were quite light and very light colored. I've used some of the stringers on the heavy ones for another project and broke off two deck screws. I was told like anything else the heavier duty, the more weight the more they cost.
  20. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I see a mix of mainly pine or oak pallets around here. Might be some others but those are most common. Last year I cut up some oak pallets and burned them in my stove. They will def burn hot!
  21. WireNut

    WireNut New Member

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    I get free pallets at work all the time, there's a huge pile of them in the materials yard that just rots away. We're not allowed to burn "exclusively" pallet wood in my area without a permit, but we can use it as kindling. That said, almost every pallet I get is pine, and most are some sort of soft wood. The hardwood pallets are all kept at the receiving dock for a company that has a contract to pick them up, I forget how much they pay us per pallet (we fill a truck every week or two with pallets). Then there are another set that are painted blue on the side, they have to go back to the company that brought them (there's a deposit on them).
  22. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I spend most of my time at work in a very large distribution center for a big box retailer, so I see a LOT of pallets.

    I've seen them made out of just about everything, including walnut. That was a good looking pallet.

    Pallet specs rarely specify the type of wood...has more to do with the construction (GMA being most common) that will decide size, capacity, block or stringer, top boards, bottom boards, etc, etc, etc).

    Most domestic goods come in palletized from the manufacturer. Actual wood species varies widely and depends on where the manufacturer is located. Just about all the stuff from the midwest comes in on hardwood pallets. Most of the pallet mills around here use sycamore. We see a lot more SPF pallets come in from New England and down south.

    Most goods that come in from overseas are not palletized...they come floor loaded on containers. Electronics are the exception and a lot of them come palletized...we have been seeing more and more come in on blow-molded styrofoam encased in a thin layer of plastic. They are surprisingly strong.

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