The first time I saw pallets used for something other than transporting and storage I was amazed. So simple, so useful and accessible, but also very unique looking and durable. When I was a teenager I wanted to have a pallet bed at home but my parents didn’t allow it – they said that pallets are trash and my bedcase is much better than that. Jokes on them. Little did they know I was on my way to start an entrepreneurial journey with pallets a few years later.
Pallets found their way into many modern interiors and exteriors. From the user’s point of view it’s a form of furniture which can be rearranged anytime, adjusted to your needs, modified. You can do nothing like that with traditional furniture. But why do I, a guy who works with pallets on a daily basis, love them?
First of all, they are simply pleasant to work with. Most of them have the same size, similar weight, are made out of the same parts. Its modularity, ease of stacking means less space is required to store and transport, reducing not just the costs but also our carbon footprint. It makes me feel as if I work with wooden LEGO. That’s a great feature, because after time you can establish your own, standardized way of working with them. This leads to a fast, and highly effective process of treatment and assembly.
The ease of fixing pallets is an important trait for us, because of the fact that the lion’s share of our pallets come from upcycling. This allows us to refurbish and ‘bring back to life’ a lot of them.
‘Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.’ – Wikipedia
Not all the pallets are created equal. Not all of them have the same life cycles. Some of the ones we receive are near perfect and ready to use. Some are missing parts, are covered in dirt or fend you off with their splinters. But we know that beneath the outer layer lays the organic beauty of wood. That’s why we spend time and effort on bringing them back to their full potential. We undertake several recycling processes in order to upcycle a pallet. Among them:
- Removing unwanted nails
- Exchanging broken parts
The effect is a great looking, smooth and clean PALLET. A building block for our PALLET series furniture. We add legs, hardened glass or cushions. Turning them into tables, sofas, displays and walls for rent.
Types and usage
Nevertheless not everything about pallets is that easy and obvious. There are many types depending on their usage, regulations in countries where they were produced etc. To give an example, every pallet has to go through a process called fumigation which purpose is to remove all potential pests to prevent them from spreading around during transportation. There are three basic techniques to perform it. First one is about mechanical removal of bark leftovers from wood, the second one focuses on thermal treatment of the material and the last one uses bromomethane which is known for its anti pesticides traits. We highly dissuade using those treated with methyl bromide (which are marked with ‘MB’ sign) as it contributes to enlargement of the hole in the ozone layer and is hazardous for the environment. None of us wants to sit on a sofa made out of this type of pallets! Instead, the ones we use go through a thermal treatment which is considered ‘food safe’. The wood that undergoes such treatment is marked with a wheat looking burned out sign.
Uniqueness of pallets
I’ve started to work with EPALs and upcycling them for reasons which can seem more as disadvantages than advantages at first sight. Their sizes are standardized but each particular part such as a brick or a plank are the opposite. They all have different colors and shades, visible variations of tree rings. That’s such a counter feature compared to mass produced materials and products which we are used to encountering in our daily life. They are all exactly the same.
Wood used for production of furniture for popular brands is highly processed, coated with artificial materials such as plastic and sold as exactly the same product all around the world. If you look at pallet furniture on a macro scale you’ll notice that each one of them is unique – it’s something that we miss in today’s world of mass production. It’s something that I personally love about PUUF furniture for rent.
Sometimes when we rent a furniture for a large set up, one could think that we need to plan the delivery in between two rides, or use another car to pack everything at once. But most of the time that’s incorrect. If you plan well how to set the furniture inside your truck, you disassemble legs, cushions and stack the pallets in the way that the first one is facing up, and the next one on top is facing down, you can save up to 30% of the space (that’s a lot of space in our case when we have over 400 pallets!) and you can fit much more that you initially expected. Following on from that: less cars needed equals less greenhouse gases emission, right?
To stray from the technicalities there is one more thing why do we love to work with pallets. Simply: we love the effect of our work. Very often we encounter excitement from our friends and clients. This brings a lot of motivation and makes us more eager to experiment and be creative with every next piece of furniture.