The pallet train is an easy one to jump on. We sure did. In one of our first posts, we discussed the possibility of creating flooring out of these prized wooden wonders. We’re still game if it works, but we’ve learned there’s a bit more behind the easy breezy DIY facade.
I give BIG props to my mama on this one. She decided the pallet situation was one she could tackle from her station in Charlottesville, VA. The plan was pretty simple. She would go around collecting free and for adoption pallets, bust ’em apart, and bring us down a car load with each visit. But as often happens with this lady, she nerded out and did some crazy research. She started with the internet, but anyone can do that and her forte is more old school data collection. I try not to ask too many questions, but alls I know is she tracked down experts within the field of pallet and contacted them directly. No electronic mail correspondence for her. Straight up, 10 digit phone calls.
So, here’s the deal on wooden pallets:
If discolored brown, grey or green-more likely unsafe, do not use
If constructed before 2001-likely to have been treated with formaldehyde, do not use
If coded MB-treated with methylbromide, not safe, do not use
If coded HT-heat treated, probably safe
If you’re lucky enough to find a heat treated pallet, manufactured after 2001 and in relatively good condition, you’ve got a great start, but the challenge isn’t over. Apparently, the deconstruction is not a walk in the park. The wood splits easily and yet it takes some (wo)man power to bust them apart.
My recommendation would be to connect with a business that is using pallets for food transportation. The switch to heat treated pallets came about as a way to move edibles without parasite invasion, but also without exposure to harsh chemicals. Mama bear has been picking up the best ones from a local brewery which uses pallets to bring in loads of hops.
I’m hopeful that some of these worn and weary wooden travelers will make it into our home aesthetic, but if not, no bigs. If you’ve got any pallet knowledge to impart, feel free to toss it in.