The chair is made from untreated pallet wood, which I pick up easily from various tradespeople and shopkeepers, both of whom put them out for me when I go on a regular pallet run once a week. Most of these pallets are marked with an official looking brand mark but several small specialist shops I visit make their pallets in-house but these too are made of untreated or rather heat-treated wood. Most of what we have here is pine of various qualities but on occasions we also get oak. Some lucky people can source pallets that are made of bamboo and I think this chair design would look great in that material.

Understanding pallet ‘seals’ is an important factor and something you should mug-up on, is your own countries standards before you set out on your first collecting trip. There are many sites, which will explain these but I’m posting a few seals above to give you an example of what you are looking for.

This ‘seal’ will be located on one of the pallet blocks:

The ‘wheat stamp’ denotes IPPC compliance, confirming the pallet to be made of de-barked wood. Useful if you were unsure whether the wood was real!

DK — the country code i.e. in this case Denmark.

8C — the pallet manufacturer.

S5 — the treatment company.

HT — Heat Treated

on the second example, the British pallet, you will note that there is and additional code

DB — Debarked

All wooden crates and pallets in 74 countries of the world have an International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) seal on them. These denote several things but the most important are the bottom two letters — you are looking for pallets with no chemical treatment. For example, in the US fumigation with methyl bromide, coded MB, is more common than in Europe, where we live, heat treatment (HT) is the norm. However, treated pallets do occur in Europe even though you will find several internet sites informing you they don’t! In the case of chemical treatment you will also see the resultant discolouration. Many garden centre suppliers, for example, dip items or conveyor spray them and their carrier pallets simultaneously and you will see immediate evidence of this in the blue-green ‘dye’ infusing the whole pallet.

The other seal above is something that is becoming more and more frequent. It’s the eco label for managed and sustainable forestry. I’ve a link at the end of this project where you can go to read all about it.There you will also find links to several articles on my website concerning the sourcing and dismantling of pallets for carpentry use.

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