Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are the risks envolved in using used lumber such as oak pallets or even old discarded furniture for small projects and to practice cuts on. I do know they have to be free of fasteners, but I do not know if they will gum up a good bit, or dull or damage a bit. If it is not low risk, what should I look for in a wood that would put the odds in my favor?

Most respectfully

Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts
Hi Michael
I have used oak pallets for toys and some of them are great because of the junk oak they use for pallets. (fire wood down south USA)
But the odds are in favor of the oak or to say they will and offen do take out blades and bits.
Most of the screw nails break off and you can't see them until you hear that nasty click of a planner blade or router bit.
I have used a magnet and a mates metal wand and still got nailed with hard little rocks inside the wood.
Used furniture can be just as bad because the mfg. have a way of hiding fasteners and the glued parts always rip the stock when you try and reuse it.

If you can get by the junk in the wood the gum is no big deal, oak is clean so to speak but junk pine, well that will gum the bits up.

Again they use fresh cut pine lumber for pallets the norm, not dryed the normal way just racked and stacked. (green)

Hope this helps

Bj :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,702 Posts
Hi,

I know a lot of people use pallets for projects but once we had a guy come to talk about the dangers of wood working (club I use to belong to). This subject was brought up and he had some interesting things to say.

It seems pallets are often used for extended periods of time, a lot of places reuse them or sell them to pallet dealers who resells them... The pallets are use to stack all sorts of things on.... some of them will have things spilled on them that if the epa knew they would be hazardous waste... pcb's, heavy metals, insecticides, and you name it. Even if they are not spilled on they end up sitting of the dock where who knows what they pick up.

Now you cut them, plane them, sand them and touch them or make a toys out of them?

Well now you know the other side of the story.

Ed
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,934 Posts
Ed makes an excellent point about the dangers you can run into with used pallets. I feel that by avoiding stained or dirty pallets the risk is reduced to the point where I would be comfortable using them, for practice use. A metal detector is a must when using any reclaimed wood. Keep in mind that pallets are often made from wood not suited for other purposes. Expect a great deal of movement as this wood dries. This type of wood is ok to get used to your power tools. If you are going to the trouble of building something why not use better materials with the knowledge that the results will be much better?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
Where I work, (shipping an recieving type company), we have pallets coming an going, believe what Ed said. They have all sorts of things spilled on them. We've even encountered many that have been painted, mainly used for food shipping but even those pallets end up being used at other places.
The ones that I look for are: color of the wood, (visible stains, etc.), how many times they've been repaired. As stated above, you don't want to hit an unseen nail or screw. Check for an odd odor, if you smell other than wood, stay clear of it!
I personally look for ones that are fairly new. You work with pallets long enough you can tell the difference. Another note, as Ed stated, pallets tend to sit outside in the weather... I've seen birds attempt to build nests in them within a few days of sitting.

Just to say, there are pro's an con's using pallets for a cheap wood source. Since you mentioned possibly using them for practice cuts, this wouldn't be a problem, provided that you wear atleast a dust respirator. I'd wouldn't use them for anything except an out-door type project... bird house, planter, that type of thing.
Also, as Mike mentioned, use a metal detector to check, double check an recheck again for any unseen metal.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts
Here's a snapshop of just some of the oak pallets stock I have saved from the fireplace.

It's great for jigs and toys but I do check it b/4 I take the pallet from the stack of junk pallets.
The ones I like best are the ones they ship Hvy.Equipment on (4 x 4 and up) they have less nails in them but some big bolt holes some times.
Plus some other snapshots of the shop.

Bj :)
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
The ones I like best are the ones they ship Hvy.Equipment on (4 x 4 and up) they have less nails in them but some big bolt holes some times.
Yes, I totally agree with you here. Those bolt holes can be somewhat a pain at times. However, you can also use them to your advantage as well.

I'm currently working with some pallets that have come from Brazil... the pallets have 2 different colors to them. The lighter color ones seem to be a "soft" wood. However that darker wood, pullin a nail out of dat is like pullin hens teeth. :D
If I can I will try to get a photo of that lumber, maybe someone here will know it. Meanwhile, I'll be doin some web searching.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
2,093 Posts
Hi Michael I intend to use a lot of pallet wood when the time comes. I bought a little wizzard metal detector. It works great found a nail in a 2x6 that was snapped off. I got that piece out of the my parents barn on a freshly stacked pile of lumber. I guess someone used it and didn't get the nail out. So I was luck enough to this before I plane I check all my wood. Because 2 years ago I was planning some black walnut and seen metal on the out feed side and on the board. Thank god it was a lead ball I was sh ing bullets myself when I saw this it is a good investment.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
508 Posts
Thanks Jerry, :) Sorry I have not been around much lately, busy with work and Sinus infection has slowed me down.

Hello Michael,

Jerry is right I have made alot of things out of Pallet wood. 2 Cedar Top Tables, the Pallet wood was used for the bottom shleves and the frame. A Coffee Table and End Table. I also have plenty of other wood that I have broke down from Pallets but not used yet. I have 2 Oak tops from Pallet wood that I have not used yet. One is for another End Table and the largest Glue up I have done yet running the boards cross ways is for an Entertainment Center. Measures 44 X 34 I have also used alot of the Pallet Wood for trim. I have made 7 of 10, 24 X 24 4 sided Plywood boxes for a Friend to put baskets of toys in. So they are open on both ends. The trim on these are from the Pallet Wood and I cut up some of the wood for trim then realized it was Australian Lace Wood. All of the Pallet Wood I have used I have been real picky about the Pallets. Mostly new or some only used once of a couple of times and they are clean. No stains of oil or chemicals. I get a majority of them from a Shipping company that handles Tile for floors. A majority of the Oak wood came from machinery Shipping Crates. They were about 7 feet long and 4 wide. I picked up 4 or 5 of them before some one else picked up the rest after I had left. I wish I had had a trailer.

Some words of Advice. Get a good metal detector I went to Ace Hardware and bought a $20 one and have it set to real sensitive. It will pick up little slivers of metal from the nails. Also get a good pry bar and a good nail puller. If you break a nail off you can drill it out. That is what I did to some of the runners. Some had to many broken nails to deal with so I just canned them. I have used about 70 Pallets so far and used 2 Planer blades, actually I am on side 2 of my second set. I have also ran some bought wood through my planer.

Also go get a good 3M Dust Mask and buy filters that are made for Coal Dust, that is what I use.

I am always on the look out for wood that has been thrown away. I recently tried to get some Old Cypress from a friends house that had burnt to the ground after Lightening struck it but the Bulldozers had already beat me too it. Oh well I will continue with my hunt. Another mans trash wood is my new table. HTH

There is also some pictures in Show and tell you will have to search back to the beginning. I have not posted any in a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
At first I was embarrased and hesitant to ask the question about used wood. I am very glad that I did because of the different things that I learned about metal and chemical contamination to look for. My direction is clearer in that I need to look at metal detectors before using any wood that I suspect as corrupted with metal. Thank you all again.

Most respectfully

Michael
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
508 Posts
Michael, never feel embarrased about asking questions here. That is the way we all learn. There is a Wealth of information and Valued experience on this forum and other wood working forums that we all can learn from. "The only dumb question is the one not asked."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,702 Posts
One other thing I forgot to mention and which is very importain........ Just because the pallets are sitting around does not mean that they are "free". Before taking anything please contact the owners.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE RURAL CRIME BULLETIN April 2006:
3-27-06 Approximately 48 pallets stolen from A&A farms.

or this information on big time problems:
http://www.palletenterprise.com/articledatabase/view.asp?articleID=1319
or just do a seach on "pallet stolen".

We don't want any members pictures in the postoffice over this "deal".

Ed
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
508 Posts
reible said:
One other thing I forgot to mention and which is very importain........ Just because the pallets are sitting around does not mean that they are "free". Before taking anything please contact the owners.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE RURAL CRIME BULLETIN April 2006:
3-27-06 Approximately 48 pallets stolen from A&A farms.

or this information on big time problems:
http://www.palletenterprise.com/articledatabase/view.asp?articleID=1319
or just do a seach on "pallet stolen".

We don't want any members pictures in the postoffice over this "deal".

Ed

Good reminder Ed, I always check with the business before picking up a few of their Pallets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts
Just some feed back on the Metal Detector Kit

I did send off for one for kicks and it's more or less a toy !
It will pickup nails and metal parts but they need to be about 1/2" dia. or more hahahahaha I think you get it... hahahahaha , kids toy...not a true Metal Detector to be use on used lumber..

Bj :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
Bobj, the metal detectors we use at work will actually be set off by just a gum wrapper. (Dats how sensitive they have to be at work)

Ken
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
508 Posts
The Metal Detector I use is the one I picked up from Ace Hardware for about 20 bucks and it is sensitive enough to pick up a small piece of wire left over from the nails they use for holding them together. My only complaint is that the battery cover had to be taped on. Other than that it is a great Metal Detector.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,786 Posts
Randy

What's the part number ?,model number,and a picture,please

Thanks
Bj :)

Just a add on NOTE ****

Metal Detector for 17.oo bucks

Little Wizard Hand Held Metal Detector

Little Wizard

This precision hand-held metal detector can save you from costly damage to blades, planers, cutter heads, and jointers by detecting nails, screws, staples, or other metal objects in wood.
It’s perfect for scanning recycled wood as well as for locating wood studs inside of walls.
The Little Wizard is lightweight, rugged, and easy to operate.
Indicators include a speaker and LED red lights.
To operate, simply adjust the dial on the Little Wizard until the tone signal stops, position and move in a circular motion.
A continuous tone and light will let you know when you’re directly above any metal object.

Requires one 9 volt battery.

High impact plastic case.
Price $16.99

http://www.shop.com/op/~Little_Wizard-prod-5787834-8271849?sourceid=298

http://shop.com.edgesuite.net/ccimg.shop.com/210000/211700/211762/products/5787834.jpg
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top