How To Spot Good and Bad Pallets

Just a quick lesson in pallet quality. Julia spotted four pallets today while we were running errands. We swung around, asked if we could have them, tossed them in the back of the truck, and were off. When I unloaded them I noticed one of them wasn’t so good. The 2x4s were a bit too worn and there were lots of stains. I’ll probably take this one apart and see if any of the slats are usable. I think the 2×4 might be toast but once I get the slats off I’ll know for sure. Mostly I’m looking for rot or serious damage. The wood is definitely hardwood and the pallet is very heavy. Here’s the ‘bad’ pallet:

Below is an example of a very usable pallet from the same load. It’s a standard 40′ by 48′ pallet, sturdy, unstained, not too weathered, and fairly light weight. I suspect the wood is fir. This is the kind of pallet that makes building easy. Soft wood is much easier to work with and when the pallets are in good condition and a standard size they need very little preparation before they can become part of a wall, floor, or roof.

I’ll just screw 2x4s onto the open ends of this one and it will be good to go. I plan to do a lot of this kind of work this week so I can arrive at the farm the next time with a full load of prepared pallets. It will make the construction go much faster.