How to Make Wood Pallets

by David Claerr; Updated September 26, 2017
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Wood pallets help you keep things organized and orderly when storing or transferring large quantities of material. They keep stock elevated from ground moisture and serve as a stable base for stacking goods. A standard 40 by 48 inch pallet has cutouts on the sides that allow the prongs of a forklift or pallet jack to slide underneath for easy hoisting. By following the steps outlined here, you can build your own sturdy, reusable wood pallet.

Items you will need

  • Hardwood lumber stock:
  • (8) 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch boards
  • (4) 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch boards
  • (3) 3-1/2 by 48 by 1-3/8 inch Boards
  • Nails: 2-1/4 inch helically threaded or twisted shank
Step 1

Fashion the "stringers," which are the three 3-1/2 by 48 by 1-3/8 inch supports that run the length of the pallet. Cut out two forklift notches from each stringer, starting 6 inches in from the ends. Cut out a section 9 inches long with rounded corners. Cut the round corner at a radius of 3/4 inches.

Step 2

Assemble the bottom deck of the forklift by nailing two 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, mounting one flush with each end of the two outside stringers. Nail the third stringer parallel to the others in the middle. Use nine nails per 5-1/2 inch crosspiece, three at each joining. Then fasten three 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, one in the center of the stringers and the other two just to the inside of the forklift notches. Use six nails per each 3-1/2 inch crosspiece, two at each joining.

Step 3

Turn the pallet assembly over and fasten the boards of the top deck. Nail two 5-1/2 by 40 by 5/8 inch cross boards, one flush with each end of the stringers. Use nine nails per 5-1/2 inch crosspiece, three at each joining. Then fasten five 3-1/2 by 48 by 5/8 inch crosspiece boards, one in the center of the stringers and the other four evenly spaced between the middle crosspiece and the end crosspieces. Use six nails per each 3-1/2 inch crosspiece, two at each joining. With a rough sanding of the top deck, your durable homemade pallet is ready for use.

Warnings

  • Be sure to check local, state, federal and international requirements before using your pallets to move stock off your property.

About the Author

Artist, author, musician and researcher—the contemporary equivalent of the Renaissance Man—David A. Claerr is a professional graphic designer and a certified Adobe expert. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Bachelor of Art Education from Eastern Michigan University.

Photo Credits

  • Damien Scogin/Demand Media