Saturday, June 19, 2010

Building Pallets

Welcome Preppers and Survivalist,

Pallets, you see them everywhere. Supplies stacked on top being moved by a pallet jack or a forklift. Sometimes you might see them stacked one on top of another waiting to be loaded with items or sitting in a warehouse full of stuff. Sometimes you will even find them for free at a local business, and that is the best price for them.

Because just like industry, we need to protect our stuff from various dangers, such as moisture, and we can do this in various ways. One way is by using pallets.

Pallets are a standard size depending on your area of the world and industry. Either way, the average pallet is probably going to be too big for our use, so we will need to build our own pallets or modify an existing pallet.

Building A Pallet
Now, you may not need a pallet because you have only a few items that will sit on the floor. To solve that situation, you can take some dunnage, a few pieces of wood, and lay it on the floor then stack your stuff on top of that. Doing this will allow air to circulate under and around the items.

Me, I'm a little lazy. I don't want to have to move four pieces of wood after I have moved some boxes. To do that, I build pallets.

My pallets are designed for general and specific purposes. An example of a specific built pallet, I needed to get 12 buckets of wheat off a concrete floor, (Fresh concrete will destroy a box and its contents because of the alkaline nature of concrete) so I built a pallet to fit the buckets. An example of a general pallet, I built, was a pallet to fit under a set of shelves.

Either way, I start with a plan.

First, I look at how much space I have and the size of the items. For this article I have 48 inches wide and 24 inches deep of space and the boxes are all 13 inches wide and 19 inches deep. Plus, I want to keep the boxes off the wall because we have concrete walls.

So, I decided to build pallets 48 inches wide and 20 inches deep. My decision is based on needing a little bit more room for a walkway, keeping the boxes off the walls. and providing air circulation under the boxes

I decided to use 2x3s (2 by 3s) and some short scrap pieces of 2x4 (2 by 4s) for this project. You can use 2x4s just as easily.

For each pallet, I built three, I used:

2 - 2x3s
3 - 2x4s 20 inches long
20 - 2 1/2 inch screws

First, I cut all the 2x3s in half. This makes four 48-inch long pieces. Next, I cut my 2x4 scrap into 20 inch pieces. If I had used a new 2x4, I would have cut the 2x4 into three 20-inch pieces. Next, I screwed the pieces of lumber together.

To screw the pieces of lumber together, I first layout the 2x4s then lay the 2x3s on top. I position the lumber then use a drill to drive the screws in. I put two screws in each end and 1 screw in the middle. The two screws in the end keep the pallet from "raking' and the middle 2x4 from shifting. If you enlarge the picture you can see the screws.

Some folks will tell you to pre-drill the holes on the ends to prevent the 2x3s from splitting. Some times I do and other times I don't. I didn't this time and only one of the 2x3s split, just a little.

Other folks will tell you to screw the screws in from the bottom. I don't see a big deal about screwing in from the top. Your choice, but if you go in from the bottom, you will have to first layout the 2x3s then the 2x4s on top.

In this picture, you will see the bottom of two types of home-built pallets. The one on the left is the one I have been writing about. The one on the right is a solid top pallet that I normally use for under shelves.

To build the pallet on the right, I made a plan and then cut the wood. I used 2x4s and 1/4 inch plywood for this pallet. The pallet is used to get some buckets off the concrete. The pallets is 48 inches wide by 12 inches deep.

I used a similar design to elevate the drums up off the floor in the background. They are 24x24.

Now, I ran into a problem when I was stacking the boxes on the pallet. The boxes started to wobble left to right, so I took some dunnage; two 2x3s, cut them in half; and placed between the boxes. I did the same thing for the drums but used some scrap pieces of plywood, and this leads to a point about safely storing your stuff.

When you are storing your food, gear, and other stuff, you want to make sure the heavy stuff is on the bottom and the light stuff is on top. It would suck to get a 35-pound box of wheat dropped on your head.

I will be adding to this article.


Wikipedia - Pallets

GDV - Dunnage

ELCOSH - Cement Hazards and Controls ...

Gondar Design Science - pH