Beginner’s Guide – Building With Pallets

Know Your Pallets

Beginner’s Guide To Building With Pallets

Building with pallets, Different Types
Standard Size is 40 x 48


It doesn’t matter if you get a 2-Way or a 4-Way.  That means how many openings there are for a forklift to insert the forks for picking up.  Either one would be great for taking apart and using for building.  Keep reading to learn about a few things to look for when selecting your material.

Before you start building with pallets, you need to ask yourself this question…Are the pallets safe?  Pallets are stamped with markings, some are safe and some are not.

  • HT – Means Heat Treated.  These are safe for building.
  • MB – Methyl Bromide.  These are NOT safe for building.
  • DB – Debarked – Mostly painted and used for chemicals.  These shouldn’t be used seeing as chemicals could have spilled onto them during transport.

Building With Pallets – How to break down a pallet – You can use a pry-bar to break pallets apart but it will probably damage the wood a bit so it’s best to use a saw and cut the nails and then pull them out.

I always use a reciprocal saw and cut the sides first, leaving the middle for last.  I have the Ridgid Line of tools and love them.  There are others out there, you need to find what works for you, weight of the tool, price, etc.

Ridgid Reciprocating SawInstruction When Cutting Pallets Apart


If there are any nails left in the boards, hammer them from the underneath side of the board until the head comes out a little on the top side.  Then you can remove the nail safely with the other end of your hammer.

I always cut the lengths I need for a project and then sand all the pieces.  Leaving the minor imperfections in the board makes your project look weathered and rustic, my favorite part about using pallets vs. new lumber.  


I love building with pallets, I made this headboard with out of old pallets!  Click on the picture to get step by step instructions!

DIY Pallet Headboard