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Dec 15th, 2022

What Type Of Wood is Used To Make Wooden Pallets?

Wood pallets are an essential product for many businesses that rely on these sturdy staples to safely store and transport their products.

But have you ever wondered how pallets are made?

Turns out, it's a lot more complicated than taking scraps of wood and nailing them together - and it all starts with pallet lumber.

What Type of Wood Are Pallets Made From?

The short answer? Many different types of wood. In fact, most pallets are created using a combination of different wood types.

Is Pallet Wood Hard or Soft?

Let's start by chopping down the differences between the two main types of wood: hardwood and softwood.

Hardwood

Hardwood originates from angiosperm trees, AKA flowering trees that produce fruit and flowers. They include deciduous trees, which are trees that lose their leaves during the fall, and some evergreen trees. The biggest difference between the two wood types is the presence of pores in hardwood.

Hardwoods grow slower than their softwood counterparts due to their more complex chemistry, which makes them more costly than softwoods.

Softwood

While hardwood trees produce flowers and fruit, softwood trees, also known as gymnosperms, produce seeds.

While softwood does not have pores, they do have resin canals - something hardwoods lack. The most common type of softwood tree is conifers.

It's important to note that, while hardwoods typically produce stronger wood than softwoods, both wood types have an enormous variation in wood hardness. For example, the balsa tree is a hardwood that has a weaker wood hardness than most softwoods.

Which Type is Best for Pallet Lumber?

Now that you know the difference between hard and soft woods, what wood is used for pallets?

Both! Most pallets are constructed using a combination of hardwood and softwood, which is why it's hard for pallet producers to disclose the exact type of lumber used in each pallet.

Common Types of Hardwoods Used in Pallets

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Oak

Not only is oak wood strong, but it's more readily available than other types of wood, making it the perfect choice for pallet lumber.

Oak's wood density value ranges between 0.6-0.9 kilograms per cubic meter, making it an ideal option for hauling fragile yet heavy items.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Poplar

Ranging from 22-31 pounds per cubic foot on the wood density chart, poplar is used to create construction-grade lumber, as well as trim work, cabinets, and wooden toys. Although it is a hardwood, it is easily workable like a softwood and is considered a leading utility hardwood.

Common Types of Softwoods Used in Pallets

Image credit: Flickr

Southern Yellow Pine

Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) is the most frequently used softwood in pallet construction.

Grown in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, SYP describes multiple native pine species including:

  • Longleaf pine
  • Shortleaf pine
  • Loblolly pine
  • Slash pine

In addition to pallets, it is commonly used in home construction and wooden roller coasters due to its high-density value, which ranges between 50-55 pounds per cubic feet (or 0.8-0.88 grams per cubic centimeter).

Pine is also a pallet lumber favorite thanks to its ability to easily dry, which makes it a great option for shipping pharmaceuticals and food products.

Image credit: Rawpixel

Fir

Firs aren't just used as Christmas trees - their wood is often used in pallets!

Fir trees are commonly used to make plywood and are most often used for framing and indoor drywall due to their inability to prevent insects or decay after logging. This type of wood only lasts 12-18 months in outdoor climates, hence its popularity in indoor construction projects.

Benefits of Wood Pallets

No matter what type of pallet wood you decide to use, wood pallets are a great option for your business for a variety of reasons.

  1. They're cost-effective: Timber is more affordable than alternative pallet materials, like plastic or steel.
  2. They're repairable: Plastic pallets are hard to repair once broken. However, wooden pallets are easily repaired with nails and extra timber.
  3. They can be recycled: Pallets make for popular DIY crafts - but did you know you can resell your pallets to earn additional income for your business and positively impact the environment through Trinity's National Pallet Buyback Program?
  4. They're low maintenance: Provided you keep them out of the rain, pallets are a simple product that doesn't require a lot of TLC.

“Wood” You Give Us a Try?

At Trinity, we have a nationwide network of pallet suppliers to mitigate any pallet shortages, so you can keep your supply chain running smoothly.

In addition to our vast network, our Pallet Buyback Program helps keep wooden pallets from ending up in landfills by repairing broken cores or turning them into mulch. Not only does this help your business be more sustainable, but you'll generate revenue by selling us your broken pallets!

We also have full custom pallet designed capabilities using our NWPCA-licensed Pallet Design System (PDS). This allows us to customize your pallet to specific requirements, including racking and warehousing.

Want to learn more about our Pallet Buyback Program? Reach out to us today by phone at (850) 520-8332 or send us a message for a free quote.