With the enjoyment of crafting and DIY on the rise we often get asked questions about using pallets to make furniture.
Pallets are a great crafting material as they give instant impact and weight to any project, but there are a few considerations you need to have in mind when using pallets to make furniture. We answer some of your frequently asked questions below to help get you started.
Q: Are pallets suitable for building furniture?
A: Definitely – but it depends on what your expectations are. Pallets are heavy duty industrial products and even brand-new ones are made from rough wood. Most of the time when you buy a pallet it will have had a life of shipping heavy items around the world and, as such, be dirty and reconditioned (i.e. fixed) by using planks from other pallets. This might be ideal if you are embracing the industrial look. If you want something newer, consider ordering brand-new or ‘grade A’ pallets.
Q: What’s the difference between mint, grade A and grade B pallets?
A: In a nutshell, grade A (or grade 1) pallets are newer, cleaner and sometimes stronger than grade B (or grade 2) which are dirtier in appearance and will have more obvious signs of previous damage and repair. Sometimes we stock mint condition pallets too (also known as ‘super grade one’) which have only been used once or twice and are practically brand-new in appearance.
Q: What’s the difference between a ‘standard’ or ‘Euro’ pallet?
A: In terms of their intended industrial use, there’s quite a few differences between these pallets but when it comes to using them to build furniture the major difference is size. Euros are always 1200mm x 800mm whereas UK standards are 1200mm x 1000mm. Which best suits your needs is down to the piece of furniture you’re building. Lots of other pallet sizes exist too – have a look at our online shop and have a browse or read our blog on what a “standard size” pallet means.
Q: I’d like to buy some Euro pallets – what does ‘stamped’ mean?
A: Essentially the name ‘Euro’ means that the size of the pallet is 1200mm x 800mm. Anyone can build a pallet that size and call it a Euro but stamped Euros are a little different. Only a handful of authorised manufacturers are allowed to make and sell ‘stamped euros’ which means they are made to a very specific brief – right down to the types of nails used and the thickness of each plank of wood – making them the most reliable and safest type of Euro on the market. As such, stamped Euros are very popular for furniture because of their uniformity.
Q: Do I need to treat the pallets with anything if I want to use them for furniture?
A: Pallet wood is rough to the touch so and pallets are kept outside in all weathers so, depending on your intended use, we suggest that they will need to be cleaned, dried and sanded if you plan on using them for furniture. If using them outside then you’ll probably want to coat them with a weather resistant varnish or stain.
Q: What about heat treatment? Does that dry them out for me?
A: Heat treatment doesn’t actually dry the pallet out – instead the pallet is placed in to an industrial kiln, usually overnight, and kept at a consistently warm temperature to ensure that any wood boring insects that might be living in the wood are killed off. It’s then stamped with an ISPM mark to show that treatment has been completed. It’s an essential requirement when shipping pallets outside of Europe and might be something to consider having done if you are using them for furniture indoors, particularly for bed frames. We can heat treat any pallet you like – feel free to give us a call and we can discuss your options and prices.
Q: What about pallets that have already been heat treated (HT)?
A: In all likelihood we will already have pallets in stock that have been heat treated (and stamped to show this) in stock. If you’re happy using them then add a note on your order that you would like us to pick pallets that have old HT stamps on them, if available. Please note that we can’t guarantee that a pallet with old HT stamps on hasn’t been later repaired with untreated wood – if that’s a concern then we can freshly re-treat them at an additional fee.
Q: Brand-new pallets are best, right?
A: Not necessarily. If you want a clean and fresh look then maybe, but keep in mind that the wood used for brand-new pallets is new so it’s likely to warp and possibly leach sap over time. Whilst people do successfully use new pallets for DIY projects, we have had some reports of a mould or bloom developing on the wood as it seasons & dries out over time. If you are after the look of new pallets you might want to consider going for mint or super grade one pallets which have had a little more time to ‘season’ and settle down.
Q: So which second hand pallets are best?
A: If the sizes work for your project then we recommend going for with either a stamped Euro or a UK standard pallet in super grade one. They are strong, uniform/consistent in size and often we can hand-pick those with old heat treatment stamps on for you if you wish:
Or, if you are looking for a really cheap quick fix, try the economy range – if you tell us at checkout that you want them all the same size then we will make sure your batch is uniform:
Q: How much does it cost to deliver?
Delivery is priced up by our haulier and depends on quantity and postcode, starting from £38+VAT. We also offer a next-day service for any orders placed before 12pm for an additional £15+VAT. You are welcome to collect your order free of charge.