Wood pallets are traditionally used for shipping and storage purposes, but they can also be used in some pretty unique ways. More specifically, you can use them to make custom furniture. To ensure these projects go according to plan, though, you'll want to take these measures.
1. Search the Right Locations
When looking for pallets for your custom furniture projects, you need to be careful about where you get them from. Not all locations will have the best pallets available for you to re-purpose, after all.
For example, pallets found at grocery stores probably won't be great because they could have food spillage on them. This can weaken the pallets' structure, thereby making them not as functional when being used as furniture. Bacteria could also be present, which is impossible to detect to the human eye.
Instead, try to find wood pallets at a location where there aren't that many contaminants. Retail shops and home improvement stores, for example, may be great places to start.
2. Thoroughly Inspect Each Pallet
Once you've found a suitable location, you should still inspect each pallet you plan on using thoroughly. Start by assessing the overall structure of the pallet. Make sure it's in good condition and doesn't show signs of visible rot. If there are pieces broken off, you can still use the pallet if you plan on altering its dimensions anyway.
You also want to keep an eye out for signs of pests, such as termites. Outside signs of termite damage will look like buckling wood. Finally, look out for old nails. If they look like they'll be hard to remove, you might consider another pallet to avoid getting cut or punctured.
3. Disinfect Your Materials
Even if your pallets look to be in great shape and clean, you still need to disinfect them properly. There could be hidden contaminants, such as pesticides and commercial cleaners, on them that need to be removed.
Probably the best device for this cleaning job is a pressure washer. It will help you thoroughly clean all surfaces without cutting your hands and getting them dirty. You'll also want to apply some soapy water to every surface so that you can kill any lingering bacteria and toxins.
Instead of spending a lot of money on wood, you can simply re-purpose wood pallets that are just sitting around commercial properties and stores. As long as you know what to look for and take the right precautions, you shouldn't run into any major problems when creating your unique wooden furniture with custom pallets.