Wednesday, May 28, 2014

PALLETS: More Of The Same

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we've been radio silent.

Over the past two weekends, we've done just what I've been talking about for, what? -The last FIVE POSTS. So I will spare you the redundant details and keep it short and sweet. 

Sooooo much of this....blaahh

Plenty of saw dust!
We spent a couple weeks just ripping apart pallets. Once we had all that wood stacked up, we spent another week simply de-nailing, chopping and squaring ends and ripping down to a consistent width. This past week (well partial week, I was in Colorado for work) we spent time planing all of those boards. Hundreds of them...and we don't even know how much this batch of wood will cover!

One story/lesson I will share really quick: The planer we have was purchased in late June 2013 to begin prepping the barn boards for the ceiling and other pieces. We planed A LOT of very wide, very long, VERY hard pieces of old wood. I remember the lovely surge of wonder and joy as each old rough gray plank passed through and emerged a flawless, gorgeous, bright wood surface. Those memories had faded a bit by the time we pulled the planer out last week. We started planing the boards and it went fine for the bulk of them on the first day, but then with more consistency, the boards came out with certain areas scuffed. We thought maybe the knots or grain of the wood had something to do with this. We would run them through again. I'd also been away from the planer too long to remember how damn loud it was and how long each board took. 

We filled two large jars with all nails we pulled.
-Well mostly Dan. :P

After the fourth board in a row came screaming out the other side with scuffs, I signaled Dan to cut the power. "When was the last time the blade was changed?" I asked. Dan's blank stare gave the answer. Despite his aversion to taking a break from the work (we've had so many interruptions lately- graduations, going away parties, travel, weddings, RAIN...), we headed to the box store to buy new blades. Upon returning and insisting we consult the manual for blade changing tips, I learned we could have simply rotated the blades we already had. Oh well! Now we have our back ups.

Dan's irritation for the time spent acquiring and changing the blades melted away instantly as the first marble smooth boards effortlessly, and quickly I might add, zipped through the planer. There were no harrowing protests from the machine either. Suddenly planing boards became a pleasant and rewarding experience again. I began to see the positives once more and reveled at the 20 plus species of wood we had. I am a tree lover/nerd through and through so maybe it's just me, but I am fascinated by the sheer variety in color and pattern of different woods. People use some preeeeetty nice wood to make pallets. Better for us! We finished the remaining boards and retouched a few others in about 50% of the time it took for the first batch.

 I guess the lesson here is: Do things right! Don't hold off on replacing tool parts because you think you will save a little money and eek out one more use. We would have wasted so much time and effort (not to mention wood that wasn't even smooth) if we had tried to keep milking those blades.

The first peek and how our siding will look!!

Next up, we have to notch the boards to create a ship-lap style. It was a long road to this decision, as it is important to install siding that effectively sheds water and doesn't let it build up or get between the siding and the house. We did a small test run with the table saw, but we called it a day after that. Dan's Dad has a blade that will get the job done with more accuracy and a cleaner finish- not to mention significantly less time. We got the tool from him last night, and hopefully the weather will allow us to get cracking on those boards before the weekend.

Look at all the variety! And this purple and green wood!!

Oh, and our solar power system arrived by freight truck while I was away. MAN, THOSE PANELS ARE HUGE. We have been a little frustrated with how long the pallets are taking, so I have avoided the solar power system on purpose. We need to build a rack for the panels to be mounted on. Hopefully this weekend we will get some boards up on the damn walls! I think once we see just a few boards in place, we will get the gusto to power through. THEN we will deal with the racking. 

Thanks for reading!
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Sawdust for the composting toilet! Waste not, want not!

Ship lap style pallet siding. 


  1. I have seen quite a few pallet projects on the internet recently, and I really like the look that they give to different pieces. I have seen quite a bit of furniture made out of pallets as well, so I might try to make something soon. I think that it would be great to find some pallets and get to work on building something. I'll have to keep looking around for a project to do, but you do a good job of showing how to get the pallet wood looking nice!

  2. Thanks Julie! Glad we could inspire and help! Good luck on your projects!

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