Frequently Asked Questions
I need to order some nails for a new pallet I am building, is there a nail that would provide more strength?
You have a few options. An Annular Pallet Nail has circular ring threads rolled onto the shank. A Helical Pallet Nail has a continuous spiral threaded nail also called a Screw Nail. My recommendation would be for one of these nails. If strength was not an issue, there is also a Softnail which has a MIBANT angle equal to or greater than 47 degrees.
So what is MIBANT?
A MIBANT Test (Morgan Impact Bend Angle Nail Tester) is a standard impact nail tester used in the pallet and lumber industry as an indication of impact bend resistance of nails or staples.
Should I be abiding by certain pallet standards when building pallets?
Yes, there are associations in the United States that have created standards or benchmarks for pallet building. A Pallet is defined as a portable, horizontal, rigid platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load, often equipped with a superstructure.
ASTM International Wood Packaging Standards is located in Conshohocken, PA. ASTM develops and maintains international shipping standards including IPPC. NWPCA – The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association is a national association with the goal of promoting the design, manufacturing, distribution, recycling, and sale of pallets, containers, and reels.
I know there a several different kinds of pallets, what are the differences?
- Block Pallet– A block pallet is made with blocks between the pallet decks or beneath the top deck (Deck Mat).
- Four-Way Entry Pallet – A stringer pallet with notched stringers allowing four-way entry access.
- Flush Pallet – A pallet with deckboards flush with the stringers or blocks along the sides of the pallet. All edges of the pallet are square.
- GMA Pallet – Is a Grocery Manufacturers of America Standard which has a standard pallet size of 48” x 40”.
- Injection-Molded Pallet – The most common type of plastic pallet that is formed from molten thermoplastic cooling within a mold.
- Nestable Pallet – These pallets have apertures at the top into which the feet of another pallet will fit and allow nesting of the pallets to conserve space when the pallets are empty.
- Non-Reversable Pallet – A pallet with bottom deckboard configuration different from top deck.
- Panel Deck Pallet – A pallet constructed with composite or structural panel top deck.
- Post Pallet – A pallet fitted with posts or blocks between the decks or beneath the top deck; see block pallet.
- Recycled Pallet – A pallet that has been used, discarded, salvaged, repaired and which passes through a cycle again.
- Rental Pallet – A pallet owned by a third party, different from the actual pallet producer.
- Reversible – A pallet with identical top and bottom decks.
- Slave Pallet – A pallet platform or single, thick panel used as a support base for a palletized load in rack-storage facilities or production systems.
- Two-Way Entry Pallet – A stringer pallet with un-notched solid stringers allowing entry from only the two ends.
When shipping heavy equipment or items that need can be damaged in transit, what is my best option?
A box is used for heavier applications, it offers maximum protection for goods being shipped. It’s typically completely enclosed and can be used multiple times. The lumber is usually higher quality to ensure product protection. It’s stackable if needed due to the strength of each box.
For lighter equipment, we recommend a Crate, it offers some protection to goods being shipped. It’s usually not completely enclosed packaging and is designed for single use. The lumber is thinner for lower cost shipping.
Can I buy a Chamferer that bevels two faces of the deckboards?
Yes, you can chamfer deckboards with edges of one or two faces beveled, either along the full or specified length of board or between the stringers of blocks. The chamfered deckboards allow for easier use of pallet jack wheels.
What is the benefit of using a cleat and are there various types?
A cleat is a piece of lumber used to strengthen or support the framework of a container. Various forms of cleats include batten, diagonal, filler edge, framing, intermediate, support and through-edge.
How are other lumber yards creating Combo Pallets?
A combo pallet is built from both new and recycled components. We typically see new stringers being constructed with used deck boards.
Is it difficult to build a Deck Mat?
No different than assembling other types of pallets. A deck mat is an assembly of deck boards and stringer boards, forming the deck of a block pallet.
How much difference is there between Deck Board Spacing and Deck Board Span?
Deck Board Spacing is considered the distance between adjacent deck boards. Deck Board Span is the distance between deck board supports (stringers, stringer boards or blocks).
Would I be able to purchase lumber that is cut and planed to specific standards?
Yes, you can check with you local lumberyard and ask for Dimension Lumber. They can cut and plane it to a standardized width and depth.
What is the difference between a Double-Face Pallet and a Double Wing Pallet?
A double face pallet has top and bottom decks. A double wing pallet has top and bottom deck boards extending beyond the edges of the outside stringers.
I’ve heard people talking about buying or building Euro Pallets. Is this a type of pallet or a standard size?
The Euro Pallet is a standard size of block pallet used in Europe, which is 1200 mm by 800 mm (31.50 in × 47.24 in × 5.71 in USA).
Is an Expendable Pallet able to be used multiple times?
This type of pallet is intended for a series of handlings during a single trip from shipper to receiver. Then it is disposed.
Can I treat Green Lumber to be used in Pallet production?
Green Lumber that has not been heat treated and has very high moisture content. Pallets with a high moisture content are susceptible to mold, rot and potentially bugs. There are a number of methods for treating wood such as heat chambers or kilns. Lumber that has been heat treated is HT lumber certifiable.
If you chose not to treat the lumber you can still make Non-Certified Product Pallets. This is a pallet or wooden shipping product built with green lumber or NON-traceable heat treated lumber. It can be used for national shipping and internal purposes.
A Certified Product Pallet is a pallet or wooden shipping product built with heat treated lumber that is traceable to its source and has been stamped by a certified facility. Used for International or Overseas shipping and ideal for National shipping.
Someone used the term Mill Run Rough (MRR) lumber. I am not familiar with this?
Essentially it is Green lumber that has not been planed at the mill.
Which is better to use Hardwoods or Softwoods when creating pallets?
Hardwood pallets are made from broad-leaved species of trees (not necessarily hard or dense). Such as maple, ash or birch are hardwoods. Softwood pallets are from coniferous or needle-bearing trees, like Pine (not necessarily soft or low density). In the past, it was less expensive to use softwoods in creating pallets.
Some customers prefer the hardwood pallets and but it really depends on what the pallet is used for as to which wood would work better.
I’m looking to buy a Notcher, do I need to purchase one with more than one head?
It depends on what you are trying to notch. There are a variety of types of notches for deck boards. A notch is a cutout in lower portion of the stringer using indexable cutter heads with replaceable cutter tip inserts to allow entry for the fork tine, usually 9″ in length, 1 1/2″ in depth. Here are a few terms to help with your decision. Notched Stringers – Stringer with 2 notches spaced for forklift entry allowing 4-way entry. Banding Notch – Recess or cutout on the upper edge of the stringer or the bottom of the top deck board to allow tie-down of a unit load to the pallet deck with strapping/banding (aka a strap slot). Grooved Notch (aka Military Notch).
Should pallets bend while in use?
NO. Deflection is the amount of deformation or bending in a pallet or pallet component under load.
RAD stands for Racked Across Deck boards (RAD) and refers to the deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the deck boards.
RAS stands for Racked Across Stringers (RAS) and refers to the deflection of a pallet where the rack frame supports the pallet only at the ends of the stringers or stringer boards.
With certain types of heavy materials; tiles, construction shingles and oil drums, there is bound to be a small deflection. The ideal pallet is structured to minimize deflection. Some of this can be achieved by evenly displacing the load bearing surface. Load Bearing Surface, is the surface load on a pallet that determines the weight capacity limits, i.e. full uniform load, partial uniform load or point load.
How are Pallet Dimensions expressed when placing orders?
When specifying pallet size, the stringer or stringer board (block pallet) length is always expressed first; for example, a 48″ x 40″ pallet has a 48″ long stringer (Pallet Length) or stringer board and 40″ long deck boards (Pallet Width).
What’s the purpose of a board inset?
A board insets is when the top or bottom lead board placement is inset or indented so that the stringer overhangs; often for adapting a pallet to equipment in the manufacturing line.
Would you recommend using a fastener over a nail?
Essentially, they are the same thing. A nail is made from endless wire by cutting a point and forming a head at the shank end opposite the point. A Fastener is a mechanical device for joining pallet components i.e. nails, staples, bolts or screws. On a pallet there are several joints, often identified by location within the pallet as the end joint, center joint and corner joint.
What is Fastener Shear Index?
This is a relative measure of shear resistance of the pallet fastener.
Is there a way to ensure I am building a quality pallet that will with stand the weight of the load? Pallet Design System (PDS) is a reliability-based computer-aided design (CAD) program, for determining the safe load carrying capacity, performance, life and economy of wooden pallets.
How do I measure the Opening Height on a pallet?
This is the vertical distance measured between decks, from the floor to the underside of the top deck or from the floor to the top of the stringer notch.
I’ve heard them called by many names, which is confusing. What boards make up a pallet?
Bottom Board is a Width-wise board fastened to the bottom load bearing surface; often 1×4 or 1×6 lumber. Butted Deck Board is an inner deck board placed tightly against an adjacent lead deck board during pallet assembly. Deck board is an element or component of a pallet deck or top of a pallet, oriented perpendicular to the stringer. Interdeck Board is any deck board located between the end deck boards. Stringer Board is a continuous, longitudinal, solid or notched beam-component of the pallet used to support deck components, often identified by location as the outside or center stringer. While Top Boards are width-wise boards fastened to the upper or top load carrying surface of a pallet.
What is the difference between a Skid and a Single Faced Pallet?
These are essentially the same thing. A skid is a pallet having no bottom deck. Some regions refer to them as Skids and others as a single faced pallets.
Is there a market to create Shooks?
Yes. Shooks refer to cut-to-size pallet parts to be assembled into pallets. Some pallet shops want to be able to purchase the parts to create pallets without all of the overhead and operating costs of cutting the lumber themselves.
Which portion of the pallet is considered the “Wing”?
The wing is the overhang of deck board end from outside edge of stringer or stringer-board.
I am having trouble moving larger than normal pallets, any suggestions?
As long as your pallets have a fork entry (opening between decks, beneath the top deck or beneath the stringer notch to admit forks) then you should be able to use Fork Extensions or a pallet jack. The fork lift extension is an adaption that slides onto forklift forks to assist with long, large or odd shaped loads without damaging the integrity of the pallet or its load. The pallet jack, is universal and is designed to lift and move pallets. The load is pumped or jacked from the floor onto the forks of the pallet jack to allow movement. The pallet jack is hand propelled and used more often when loads are ground level.
Is there a difference between a Bin and a Pallet Box?
No. Essentially a Bin is a Four-sided superstructure to be mounted on a pallet base, with or without a cover. A pallet box is a wood container using a pallet as its base.
What is the best way to store chains?
Reels comprised of cross-style wooden ends and a center shaft are a good option. They can be used for storing chains or long products that require winding.
In the lumber/ forestry industry what do they mean by SPF lumber?
SPF – stands for Spruce/Pine/Fir all softwoods; most commonly provided as dimensional lumber.
What is Top Spacing?
Top Spacing Allowance is the space between the top boards to ensure Customer’s product stays on top of the load carrying surface.
If I want to start constructing block pallets do I need additional supplies?
You will need blocks, which are rectangular or square board spacers used in block pallet construction instead of stringers. You can cut your own or find a lumber company or saw mill to do this for you. Block pallets generally use 9 blocks and have a preconstructed mat top and perimeter bottom.
How do I properly weight my unit load?
A unit load is considered to be an assembly of goods on a pallet for handling, moving, storing and stacking as a single entity. Weighing the entire pallet fully loaded should give you the “unit load” weight.