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What Is a Block Pallet?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2014
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Pallets are rigid platforms created for use in manufacturing and shipping goods. Also known as shipping pallets, packing pallets, or skids, they are typically horizontal, but portable, and able to be used in packing, building, handling, housing, and moving bulk products as a single unit. A block pallet is a specific pallet that is created with blocks between or beneath pallet deck boards.

Also called a Manoj pallet, or four-way pallet, a block pallet usually consists of four to twelve blocks supporting wooden deck boards. They can range in length, as different sizes are required for different products. The lengths of the stringer boards used to make a block pallet are what determine its full length.

Block pallet width is determined by the length of the pallet perpendicular to the stringer board length used. Block pallets can be created with partial or full, four-way entries. This ensures that a pallet-jack can have access to it from any side, making it much easier to transport.

The bottom deck of a block pallet can also vary significantly. Some bottom decks may have no bottom boards at all. Others may contain bottom boards that run parallel to its full base or deck boards. These boards help stabilize the skid's movement during transport by a front loader, forklift, pallet jack or other device.

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A custom block pallet is typically stronger than an ordinary stringer pallet. By using both perpendicular and parallel stringer boards, they are recognized as creating a more optimal method of handling shipments. Four-way skids are often created from oak timber, which provides additional strength. Improving the strength of a pallet can also be done through use of quality nails and select timber.

During use, goods are typically strapped, shrink wrapped, or stretch wrapped to the pallet prior to shipping. Then skids are weighed to ensure that delivery trucks are not overloaded with too much weight. After ensuring that the heaviness of the load does not exceed the truck's capacity, a skid can be loaded into the truck for transport and delivery.

After use in shipping, a discarded block pallet can be used for a variety of projects and activities. The boards can be used for firewood, though potential chemical spills on the wood can make it unsafe to burn. Old skids can also be used in craft projects, fences, racket ball sports, animal cages, furniture, paintball game barricades, skateboarding ramps, tree houses, and other wood projects. Block pallets can also simply be recycled.

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backdraft
Post 3

@Chivebasil - I know what you mean about these things being hard to get rid of. When I was a teenager I worked for my dad at his cabinet making shop and he had stacks and stacks of old pallets that he was saving in the rare case that they would prove useful again. Eventually he got sick of looking at them and he called me in.

He gave me a Sawzall (basically an electric oscillating saw) and told me to cut them all up into pieces that were small enough to go into his dumpster. It was a powerful tool but the job still took me at least half of the day. By the end I was so sick of pallets and my hands were so numb from holding the vibrating saw that long. It was a terrible job and my dad knew it, that's why he gave it to me. I always cringe a little now when I see a big pile of pallets.

chivebasil
Post 2

I have seen videos and tutorials of people that have made incredible things using only block pallets. As the previous poster noted, these things are everywhere. A lot of big job sites will end up with more than they could ever use and the cost and hassle of disposing of them can at times be prohibitive. So this has lead people to get creative and look for other non shipping uses for these pallets.

I have seen people make sheds, cottages and even barns out of them. These are simple to build and using the existing wood and structure of the pallet cuts down on costs significantly. But probably the most impressive use of pallets I've ever seen was in a video where some country boys had a stack of probably 5,000 of them. Over the course of days they built a large bowl big enough to ride a motorcycle inside. They were trying to recreate the stunt known as the circle of death where a rider rides so fast in a circle that he is able to get perpendicular to the ground. It wroked, or at least for a little bit and the structure was nothing but pallets and ply wood. Now that is ingenuity.

nextcorrea
Post 1

Anyone who has reached the age of 10 has likely seen a block pallet at some time in their life. They are literally one of the most ubiquitous products on the face of the earth probably second only to Coke cans or McDonald's fry boxes.

Anything and everything gets shipped on a pallet. It is an extremely simple design but it has held up through the ages because there is simply no better was to do it. They have experimented with making them out of composite materials and altering the shape and size, but tradition always wins out. It is likely that they will keep making wooden block pallets for a hundred years to come

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