The title is a riff on book “Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies”. DIY shows and Gardening shows often use pallets as a cheap/free way of making something for your home/garden.
Most of the time you have to dismantle the pallets and they were not designed to be dismantled. When you do split one piece of pallet-wood from another, which can be a difficult task, you have nails which stick-out which you have to do something with to avoid creating a hazard.
The wood which the pallets are made from are usually course, low standard and invariable dirty. You don’t know what the ‘dirt” is and if you are unlucky, the pallet will have been chemically treated or perhaps even been on the end of some spillage of something ‘unknown’ during its passage across the world on a container ship or waiting in a warehouse.
I won’t burn them. Most of the time the pallets have stamps on the side of them. If you see the letter “H.T” (which stands for Heat Treatment), in theory you can burn them. I have burnt various pallets, and small explosions have occurred in my Rayburn! And even if you burn them, you have metal nails to find in the ash.
Because money is a little tight at this time of year, I am in the process of building a log store with pallets. I have no intention cleaning up the wood but I will spend time on making safe the nails, even though I have hammered them so they are flat with the wood.
Pallets as a material, it is my last choice. I would rather save up the money and start a project with proper wood with good provenance because my energies can be put to making something that lasts and looks attractive. Conversely, with pallets you have to undertake a fight with them to make something. It is not impossible to make something that lasts and looks good with pallets, but you have to expend a lot of time and energy.
So, is there anyone out there with enough time and energy to build a better life by acquiring pallets?