About a year ago I ran across an article in Slate, “The Single Most Important Object in the Global Economy,” by Tom Vanderbilt. It was an intriguing title and I dug in. Who would have thought this “single most important object” would be a pallet? It is a fascinating look at the role the humble pallet plays in the global supply chain and indeed, I can understand the statement, “Pallets move the world.”
Types & Construction of Pallets
There are 2 main types of pallet rack: string pallet & block pallet. The stringer pallet is made to be picked up from only 2 sides; whereas the block pallet uses additional supports and be lifted from all 4 sides. Pallets are most commonly made of wood but can also be made of plastic, metal, metal, or recycled materials. The most common wood pallets are softwood & should only be lifted from 2 sides. Hardwood pallets can be lifted from 4 sides and are often color-coded based on the amount of weight they can safely bear. Depending on the intended use, pallets are subject to different construction methods and regulatory requirements. They can be stapled or nailed together, treated with heat or chemicals, and should always be constructed of material that cannot carry invasive insects or plant disease.
Unique Uses of Pallet Wood
Taylor Guitars made a small line of acoustic guitars constructed of pallet rack wood. These guitars were mostly bought as collectors’ items due to their unique wood source. Learn more at the LA Guitar Sales website.