15 Dec

Our existing planters are made from timbers reclaimed from unwanted scrap wooden pallets, and so will the remaining planters that I plan make.

Reclaiming timber from old wooden pallets is something that I have been doing for well over 25 years, and over that period I have made considerable savings by recycling instead of buying new timbers.

For the majority of those years I have, like many others struggled to get the pallets apart without too much damage or splitting of the planks. Then in 2010 I invented, developed, and I am now marketing the double headed Pallet Dismantling bar, and this is now an in house manufactured product of my small business: Cargo Cycles.

I can now almost effortlessly strip down wooden pallets very quickly without damaging the timbers, and so I am able to maximise the wood that I have obtained with a minimum of wastage. During 2011, by recycling wooden pallets I have saved approx £1,300 in DIY mega-store prices, or approx £980 at trade counter prices from timber yards, and have utilised some 600 linear metres of planking and about 150 linear metres of stringer timbers in the various projects I have done during the year; it is surprising just how much timber you can consume when it is a virtually free commodity. I have a personal preference to recycle what are commonly known as 2 way pallets whenever possible, and there are several reasons for that. It is easier to obtain used 2 way pallets because there is not a second hand market for them, and most businesses actually pay for 2 way pallets to be disposed of. The majority of these have only a designed One-way life-span, and when stripped they yield the very useful stringer timbers which are normally in the region of about a 50mm X 75mm rectangular section, and it is these stringer timbers that I use to make frameworks before cladding them with the recycled pallet decking planks. When I am out pallet hunting, I will always try to obtain the largest none-standard pallets as my first preference, again because of the amount of re-usable wood that they yield.

In 2010 I also got lucky with Cuprinol wood preservative, having obtained about 15 litres of forest green coloured wood preservative from my previous commercial landlords and about another 15 litres of green coloured preservative from Norwich Freegle. Lois’s father: Clive also gave me about 3 litres of Sage green coloured wood preservative which I used as a base undercoat on many of the projects that I have completed.

My first pallet reclamation project of 2011 was cladding our 1000 litre IBC water tank. This was originally used to transfer diesel fuel from support vessels to working production platforms in the North Sea. I acquired this tank on its steel pallet through a no-cash deal with a fairground ride in exchange for bending up the steel tubing need to make 4 new safety hand rails. When this tank with its steel frame and steel pallet arrived at home Lois was not pleased to put it mildly! I was vocally informed that there was no way in the world that I could use it in the garden to collect rain water from the workshop roof guttering; It was ugly, it was too damn big, etc. ….Boy, for a short while did my ears ring with the constant complaints and criticism!

A 1000 litre IBC is literally a 1 cu/mtr intermediate bulk liquid container made from plastic, with a large ¼ turn discharge valve at the bottom of the tank. This is all mounted in a galvanised steel framework and fixed to a galvanised steel pallet that has been designed to be handled by forklift trucks and overhead cranes. There was a lot of negotiating, and in the end compromises and personal concessions were made, but finally I was allowed to use the IBC as an over sized water butt. The main compromise was that the ugly galvanised steel work must be hidden from general view: not as easy as you might think, but cladding the outside of the frame with reclaimed pallet planks fixed to a reclaimed pallet stringer frame was the solution agreed upon.

During the springtime, the garden began to dry out due to the very warm and rain free weather conditions and various plants, shrubs and flowers were beginning to suffer. Unfortunately, I had only collected 2 or 3 inches of water in the tank, and this amount was insufficient to irrigate the whole garden. This is when we decided to pump used bathwater into the tank and use it for irrigation purposes. Now I have a thing about water rates and especially the very high, almost extortionate waste water sewerage tariff, and wherever possible I will refrain from using water from the mains. If it passes through a water meter you pay for it, and then you pay almost twice that amount for an average estimated 90% of it to be treated as waste water and sewerage. As yet we have not installed a shower in our bathroom, and so Lois & I share the bath water, and by recording the amount of used “Grey” water that I pumped from the bath to the IBC we subsequently had our sewerage rates reduced by 50%. Over the summer I pumped, stored and irrigated our garden with just over 4 cu/mtr of Grey water and we also used over 2 cu/mtr of “clean” rainwater that had been harvested from the guttering on the workshop roof in two other 250 litre plastic barrels.

The IBC has proven to be a very effect method of water storage, and meets our requirements extremely well. Now that it has been fully cladded with pallet timbers, and a couple of flower troughs added it has become a feature of our garden, and not an eyesore in our garden, and having water for irrigation on hand without me going on about consuming mains water has made us both happy..

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2 Responses to “”

  1. Rose December 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    What a fascinating journey. Could you please tell me how much you are charging for your pallet gadget including postage? I have lost many yards of usable wood in the dismantling and would love to own your wonderful invention.

    • gowithgareth December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      When I claim that with a little practice, an average person can completely strip a wooden Euro pallet down in about 2-3 minutes without damaging the timbers, I do really meant it. Many of my customers are now doing this, and I’ve had reports from Pallet repair and Timber recycling yards where the operators are taking betwen 75 and 90 seconds to achieve this

      I manufacturer the Pallet Stripping Bars here in Norwich, and I always have a minimum of 10 in stock and available for immediate dispatch. They are £45 each, plus £11.50 Postage & Packing (Parcel force 48 hour service with tracking UK mainland) making a total of £56.50, and they can be delivered to any UK address.

      Please note: The Cargo Cycles Pallet Dismantling Bar is currently only shipped to UK mainland addresses and Islands, and is not presently available for export to overseas addresses due to the extremely high cost of shipping and the possible addition of local taxes.

      Please contact me if you require shipping to any of the UK Isles and Island addresses, Northern Ireland and Eire, and I will provide you with a shipping and delivery quotation.

      Payment can be made by; cheque, postal order or paypal. Please make cheques and postal orders payable to Cargo Cycles, and send them to: Cargo Cycles, 29 Pilling Park Road, Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, NR1 4PA For Paypal payments please open your paypal account and credit email account cargo-cycles@live.co.uk If payment is received before midday, the bars are shipped on the same day (mon-fri).

      Here are a few links to some of the projects that I and others have done with pallet timbers reclaimed using a Cargo Cycles Pallet Stripping Bar, I do hope that they are inspirational for you;

      The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipQLy-0Pfag

      Please read this particular blog post to the end, and then take a look at the comments below it.

      http://asmallholding.blogspot.com/2011/06/pallet-reclamation.html

      Some of the reclaimed Pallet timber projects.

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about23737.html

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about24169.html

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about23687.html

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about23713.html

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about23541.html

      http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about25087.html

      Cargo Cycles can also be found on http://www.Facebook.com

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