We are seeing an increase in requests for stencils to be used on signs that are made from reclaimed pallet wood. These signs can give a rustic feel to rooms and events.
Source and treatment of wood for pallet wood signs.
One of the most important considerations is how the wood and the pallet have been treated. Most likely you have seen markings on a pallet and never given them a second though. If you are going to use pallet wood for a sign, these markings are important as they will provide you with the information about where the pallet has been manufactured and how the wood has been treated.
Pallet wood is usually treated either with heat, chemicals or both. Before you use the pallet wood you should check the markings.
Details about the treatment of pallets and the international marking standards can be found here – Pallet Treatment. The standards are governed by ISPM 15
Pallet wood is treated to remove the spread of wood pests. The two main treatments are HT – Heat Treatment and MB Methyl Bromide.
The heat treatment process ensures that the pallets are pest free by using heat to kill off and live animals or eggs.
This method uses the chemical Methyl Bromide to kill off the pests through poisoning. The method is banned in most countries because of the toxicity of the chemical and you should not use pallets that have the MB marking.
Pallet prior use
It is important to bear in mind what the pallet has been used for before you acquired the wood. Whilst the treatment will have killed any pests before use it does not mean that the pallet is free from contamination that may have occur during its life. You should consider what liquids may have been in contact with the pallet.
Handling Pallet Wood.
Pallets are produced to be a cheap method of moving items around. As such they tend to only be given a low level of finishing. In addition the pallets face rough handling by machinery and fork lifts during their working life. All of this means it is likely that the pallet will have splinters and you should wear protective gloves.
Once you have the made your sign from the pallet wood you have acquired you can be sure that you will achieve the desired rustic look by using a stencil for the lettering on your pallet.