Serious About Pallets

pallet1Today I finished sawing the pile of logs that have been in my way all summer. It was a great moment. I had run out of space for firewood in the two pallets I’ve made so far, so I just made a pile of the firewood on the ground as it came off the splitter. It became clear to me that I would soon be needing a lot more pallets, because once the next large pile of logs arrives by logging truck, I’ll need to have a place to put it all. So today I got serious.

One very time consuming part of making these pallets is getting everything square. I’ve learned over the years that if things are a bit out of whack, you wind up fighting yourself in unexpected ways. Up until today, I’d start building the pallets by laying 3 4′ 2x4s on edge on the garage floor, and futzing with them for quite a while to get them parallel and square to each other. Then the building could begin, as long as I didn’t touch anything.

pallet2I’d bought a sheet of plywood on one of my recent trips to town, and as is often my habit, I had spent a chunk of time thinking and planning how I’d make a pallet jig on this plywood sheet. By drawing a line and putting two cleats down on it a while back, I managed to streamline the constructions of the pallet sides greatly. Today’s job was to get the bottom part of the pallet jigged up.

pallet3Once I’d figured out what I wanted to do, it was pretty straightforward. I stuck corners where two of the three 2x4s had to go, and a couple of cleats where the middle one went. I tested it out when I had everything screwed down, and it looked pretty good. An unintended advantage to the project was that, propped up on my sawhorses, the pallet building was now at a comfortable working height, and I had a nice place to put my tools and fasteners.

One worry I had after I had the top of the pallet constructed was whether it would come out of the jig. I’ve heard horror stories about fiberglass boats that have been built in expensive molds, only to learn that the wouldn’t come out once the glue hardened. My pallet flipped right out. In a few minutes, I’d stapled the bottom boards on, and went to work on the sides. Pallet number 3 took me a couple of hours to build. I’m thinking I’ll be able to cut this down by half once I get organized.

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