Still Skidding

Who knew there were so many uses for pallets? You do, and the comments prove it.
Who knew there were so many uses for pallets? You do, and the comments prove it.

What a nice response we’ve had from you folks to our recent blog post about turning skids into usable lumber (“Skid Row”). Looks like we tapped into a good topic here. Keep your comments and suggestions coming in, please!

I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus lately from the blog to get a big tool review ready for the January print issue of the magazine. And, aside from a lot of heavy lifting to hit that deadline, it’s added a third floor to my growing tower of skids outside the shop. Looks like it’s time to start cutting some of them up and figuring out what to build…

In that regard, I thought it might be fun to tally up all the many ways you have commented that you use skid lumber. Hopefully you’ll give the rest of us some good ideas for turning pallets into projects:

• Planter boxes and bird houses, kindling (Paul)

• Burn it and use the charcoal for distilling sour mash (Graybeard50’s idea, not ours…)

• Cutting boards, knife racks, boot jacks, bird houses (Redhawk)

• Corner planes, lumber for shed-building, compost bins, garden fencing (Andrew Erickson)

• Drawers, storage boxes, practice boards for cutting dovetails (Lou Hodson)

• Building lumber for homes (Chris Barnes is planning to become the next shantytown tycoon, apparently)

• Workbench, tissue boxes, birdhouses (Gary Gorman)

• Birdhouses, wall shelves, park benches, paper towel holders, jewelry boxes (Bob H. Gibbs)

• Birdhouses, planters, compost bins, toys, cheap “play” lumber for the grandkids, eventually a fort (Mike Joyce)

• Knickknacks, jigsaw puzzles, toys, toilet paper holders, kindling (Phil)

• A source of lumber to keep the masochists among us busy (Leon, them’s fighting words!)

And, aside from the various uses you guys have come up with for skids, you’ve also salvaged some decent, recognizable wood species: white oak, cherry, pine, maple, something akin to lacewood and mahogany. I’d venture there’s a good chance for finding some other interesting exotics in those pallets. Plenty of them start their lives overseas.

There's cheap gold in them there pallets...
There's cheap gold in them there pallets...

Oh, and here are a few suggestions from the crew regarding processing these things up: forget pulling all the nails first. Cut out the usable parts, and discard or burn the rest. Watch for hidden fasteners and use blades you can afford to lose—sooner or later, you’ll ruin one.

There you have it: lumber on the WAY cheap! Thanks again to all.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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  • Owen Miller

    I make most of my “stuff” out of old pallets. In the days gone by you could find really good wood but now days you have to really hunt to find usable wood. I make clocks, lamps, birdhouses, segmented turnings and now I am making Xmas ornaments. With careful selection you can create some pretty nice things.

  • Michael Borg

    Right now I am making a blanket chest out of old pallets

  • Don Shaw

    I’ve been making Queen Anne table legs from old 4 x 4 pallet skidds I found at work, I pluged the nail holes with match sticks and glue. also skirting and some of the other parts out of pallet wood.

  • michael wolff

    I have built a base floor for my dog house with a pallet,side cut to size,put insulation between pallet,ps dog licks it

  • I have made coat racks and shelves with pallet wood. They are usually thin enough you have little trouble finding nice pieces. Some of the thicker pieces make nice corbels for supports. If you can tolerate wading through my other photos, check some of them out on my project photo pages at

  • Ray Lawrence

    I actually use pallets for keeping things off the ground (I bet nobody else has ever thought of that)

  • Ron Harden

    I clean up pallet wood and use it for a number of projects. I mainly use it to do
    intarsia woodwork as well as making knick-knacks. Some have beautiful wood
    in them.

  • Mike Sorrell

    Pallets here started out as hog pens, in 1990 I had 4 back surgeries. with 4 kids still at home, But we still collect pallets . We turn that into a arts an crafts projects. Then we sarted building lawn furniture .An were still making chairs . Now were using old tin roofing cutting out the state of Texas an putting all sports an college logos on them. There are a numberof old thins that recyclable you need to have an imagination. HERE AT LOSTWAGES TEXAS