What have you done with pallets?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Amy Jo, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I have NO experience at building much of anything... BUT I love free stuff, and free materials.

    What have you built for your homestead with pallet wood, tips for using pallet wood, and what could you sell that has been built from pallets?
     
  2. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    nothing??? Anyone ever built a doghouse from pallet wood? How did that work out? Could you build and sell those and make any money, or is the wood unsuitable for that?

    What about pigeon coops? Could you use that wood for the exterior, flooring, etc.?

    anyone? anyone?
     

  3. Friend used to cut the slats out of hardwood pallets and use them as shims. Granddad used to take them apart, save the screw nails and make all kinds of things out of the wood. Too much work for me. I cut them in half and burn them in my outdoor wood furnace. Hardwood pallets make a hot fire. Kind of a pain to get rid of the ash as it has a lot of nails in it.
     
  4. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    Well, that brought up another topic of interest to me... I've been hearing a lot about outdoor wood furnaces. Does yours connect to your duct work in the house? We're building a new house and I'd like a source of alternative heat. My husband's planning an insert for the fireplace on the first floor and we were considering a free standing wood burner in the basement. What can you share about your experience with your outdoor wood furnace?
     
  5. Cygnet

    Cygnet Guest

    Wire a few together, slap a piece of plywood on top, make a temporary shade for animals that lasts through the summer or so. The only pallets I have access to appear to be pine, and the termites love them -- they get eaten so quickly that when I put them down to stack hay on, I stack them two and three deep because the bottom pallet will be rotted out within months.

    I've seen a front porch made of pallets, though. The guy stacked them up, screwed 'em together, and put a piece of plywood across the top, and hid the pallets vertical sides with a couple pieces of green indoor/outdoor carpetting. Same house also had interior wiring composed of extension cords stapled to the wall, and the roof appeared to be patched with either silicon sealant or liberal amounts of hotglue and squares of black plastic. I did not buy. :):):) There's redneck architecture and then there's fire trap and that one was definitely a firetrap. But I digress.

    Leva


     
  6. MamaWolfInWV

    MamaWolfInWV Well-Known Member

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    What have you done with pallets?

    I make small animal cages out of them for transporting animals from place to place (chickens, rabbits etc). I once built a dog house out of them.
     
  7. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Our hay is on pallets, too. We layed plastic sheeting, then a layer of pallets, another layer of plastic and another layer of pallets with the hay stacked on top.

    Pallets slid over T posts make up the stall walls in the barn. The top of the walls have those cheap tubular metal bunky boards (dump rescue) mounted sideways to prevent goats from going over and keep horses from bickering over food.

    Pallets over T posts make sturdy pig pens. We used a big pallet as a bridge over our ditch until it rotted. I used the thin hardwood pallets that riding mowers come in to build chicken tractors. I've cut pallet wood to add shelves to my cupboards. My dad makes curio cabinets from oak pallet wood. I did have a shed with a plywood covered pallet floor. We use pallets to stack stuff on to keep it off the ground.

    I've been mentioning to DH that it is time to bring a couple more loads of pallets home. We can never have too many.
     
  8. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    It's not really a homesteading thing, but DH made me a few big picture frames. He mitered the corners and I stained them and put a quilt I'd made in each one. Nice way to frame a wall quilt.
    Peg
     
  9. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife Well-Known Member

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    I think "tightwad gazette" had an idea about wiring them together to makea compost bin...
     
  10. greenhart

    greenhart Well-Known Member

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    I've wired some together to make a compost bin and I've nailed them together and placed old truck camper top to make a tool shed. My sunshed has treated 2x10's as sills with pallets as floor joist and covered with used plywood.
    Robert (aka greenhart)
     
  11. LWMSAVON

    LWMSAVON Well-Known Member

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    DH has built: (that I can remember)

    3 compost bins joined together
    raised beds
    birdhouses
    bird feeders
    planter boxes
    used it to start fires in the wood stove too.
     
  12. Amy Jo, if you do a search on this forum for “outdoor wood boiler” you will find several posts that deal with the pros and cons of an outdoor wood furnace. My unit is a central boiler. You can find a lot of info on their web page but there are numerous other makes. My outdoor wood unit does connect to the existing duct-work and uses the fan on the existing indoor oil burning furnace to circulate hot air. It also heats the domestic hot water. I have always heated primarily with wood reserving the oil for backup. Compared to the wood stoves, the outdoor wood burner is like night and day but it is still a lot of work and in my un-insulated house, the outdoor unit burns a phenomenal amount of wood.
     
  13. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    There was an article in one of the magaines (countryside, MEN, backwoodshome...) about someone building a fence out of them. Looked real nice in the picture.

    Mike
     
  14. Jeff Hathaway

    Jeff Hathaway Active Member

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    I also burn them in an outdoor furnace, and use them as a floor in my firewood shelter. I've made temporary decks out of them. My in-laws have beautiful pantry cupboards made from salvaged pallet wood. A contractor I know purports to have made wonderful custom wall panelling with pallet wood. I think it takes dedication and skilled craftsmanship, but probably just about anything can be done with pallet wood if you put your mind to it.

    As for the furnace, ours ties in to a heat exchanger in the furnace duct work, plus we have 3 separate heat exchangers for areas that the duct work doesn't reach. It also feeds a heat exchanger for the domestic hot water and the pool. I love it, but I have found since purchasing it that they are quite inefficient in terms of combustion. Check out http://www.woodheat.org/technology/technology.htm for a discussion about them. I certainly burn huge quantities of wood; luckily I get large quantities for free. This is a huge place to heat, though, so it isn't just the inefficiency factor. Overall, I love it. I love not having to carry wood into the house- just back the trailer up and dump it by the furnace!

    Jeff Hathaway
     
  15. Natureschild

    Natureschild Well-Known Member

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    Theres a fellow in town, makes and sells kids pinic tables out of pallets. They are well done, and he sells them for about $25. They make great gifts.

    I have a pallet compost and plan on making a small pallet shed this spring. and I might do a bit of pallet fencing too.
     
  16. A neighbor used the wood from pallets to cover a wall in his house. He cut them and put them up in a herringbone pattern. Looked nice.
     
  17. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    if the sun is out tomorrow I will take pics of all the stuff i fabfricate out of pallets (except the firewood pile, I burn 60% of my heat in pallets) and set links to them so ya can see.
     
  18. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Depending on how many pallets you have or can get, you could make flower boxes, dog houses, bird houses, and a childs playhouse to name a few. This could take a lot of time as you will have to take each pallet apart.

    Since pallets are not readily available where I am what we do get we use for stacking hay and wood on. DH can put a pallet on his tractor lift and then load it with cut wood and haul it and put it beside the furnace.

    Our wood outside furnace is a Hardy. You can probably do a google search on them. It is a lot like the others have explained. Water pipes are run to the house and it circulates the water through the hot water heater and through a radiator like deal on top of our electric furnace. This makes the heat, and the electric furnace's blower circulates it through the existing ductwork. I love it. No wood smell in the house, or dirt or ashes. It is all outside. Just, nice, even heat. It has taken more wood this winter as we also had a system installed in the detached garage to heat it from the same outside furnace.
     
  19. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    The uses of old pallets for building things is endless. Here are some of my favorite woodworking projects:

    I have made crates for holding books, records and junk. Bird houses are easy to make and are wonderful gifts, especially when they are painted. Another favorite project is a handyman toolbox tote. I also like to make shelving out of pallet stock. Picture frames are fairly simple to make.

    If you are into woodworking, check out a few books from the library. They will be loads of help.
    clove
     
  20. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for your ideas. My husband gave me a funny look... but he just doesn't understand my frugal streak... free supplies - gotta find a use for them!